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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Controversial costumes: Students, staff weigh in on offensive Halloween costumes

Photo+courtesy+of+Flickr+Creative+Commons
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Halloween is approaching. Costume stores have popped up all over the area, selling themed clothing to celebrators of all ages. Many of these costumes may be innocent, like a Disney princess dress and wig. However, some may not be as innocuous. In recent news, certain costumes have been criticized for over-sexualization and/or insensitivity to groups of people.

For instance, a “Caitlyn Jenner” outfit for men, based on transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner. The costume consists of a white corset, long red wig, and a sash reading “Call Me Caitlyn”. Critics have claimed that this makes fun of transgender people by not choosing to identify them as their gender.

In some stores, the costume was sold right next to a “Bruce Jenner” ensemble, or a short brown wig, fake Olympic medal and USA Olympic track runner’s uniform. Other Halloween outfits have attracted attention for allegedly being racist, or at least offensive to certain religions.

In 2013, actress Julianne Hough came under fire  for dressing as Orange is the New Black character Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, complete with an all-orange outfit, bantu knots and black face. This angered the public, as blackface is often deemed as highly offensive and playing into racial stereotypes. 

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Other costumes not worn by celebrities have attracted negative attention as well. For instance, “sexy Native American” or “sexy Indian” costumes have been cited on social media as disrespectful, as well as “Mexican” costumes consisting of sombreros, ponchos and fake mustaches, among other items.

Sophomore Marie Saadeh believes that people should dress however they want on Halloween, as long as the costumes are not offensive.

“Dressing up as a political figure, as long as you respect other cultures, is totally fine,” Saadeh said.

Senior Edom Mesfein agrees. She finds racial costumes insulting, but thinks that Halloween, overall, should be a fun event and not taken seriously.

“[Costumes] that are racially-driven are offensive, other than that… [Halloween] is just a time to dress up,” Mesfein said.

Mesfein plans on dressing in group costumes with friends, possibly as characters from the film Mean Girls, while Saadeh might go as a zombie.

Saadeh believes that Native American-themed outfits are inappropriate, as they misrepresent the culture as a caricature.

“They’re not costumes, they’re people… you can’t just objectify [Native Americans] like that,” Saadeh said.

Mesfein also says that costumes of a member of a certain race can be offensive, but not of fictional characters.

“If you’re dressing as Pocahontas, for example, I don’t think it’s that offensive,” Mesfein said. “But if you’re dressing as a Native American and you have no relation to that culture, I think it is kind of offensive.”

Principal Jennifer Baker says that costumes at school are usually fine.

“We like to be able to see [students’] faces and we don’t want people to have things like weapons in their hands,” Baker said.

She says that students have generally had good ideas for costumes in previous years.

“I’ve seen a lot of great costumes over the years,” Baker said.

Hopefully, there will be some creative (and non-inflammatory) costumes this year.

 

https://www.playbuzz.com/thepitchonline10/does-your-halloween-costume-pass

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Leila Siegel, Online Feature Editor
This is senior Leila Siegel’s second year on The Pitch Online as the Online Feature Editor. Besides writing articles, Leila participates in the school’s symphonic orchestra and WJ S*T*A*G*E’s pit orchestra. She is also involved in the Black Student Union, Amnesty International club and the Read, Grow, Live Club. In her spare time, Leila enjoys sleeping and watching Netflix. She is excited to see what this year will bring to The Pitch Online. [email protected]
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