Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Issue with Halloween Costumes

   Around Halloween, people begin to choose what they want to wear, whether it be something scary, funny, or even provocative. However, most people do not take into consideration what or who they are actually representing, and it does not often occur to them that other people take offence to what they are wearing. There have been debates like this, most notably the "Culture, not a Costume" campaign, which aims to convince people that wearing a kimono is not a Halloween costume, but a symbol of Japanese culture, for instance. I understand the points they are making but it is not a justifiable cause. Just because some people take offence to something, does not mean that other people are going to stop doing it. And wearing a costume simply because you respect their culture has no negatives to it. If someone wears a kimono because they respect Japan and its culture, it does not mean they are trying to make fun of them or pull out a specific stereotype, it means they want to appear like a Geisha or Shrine Maiden because they respect the culture it represents. When someone dresses up as a Suicide Bomber or wears a turban and says that he's a Terrorist, then they are using a negative stereotype and that is wrong. They are using a specific stereotype to represent an entire culture, and it falls under racism. 

To sum everything up, I believe that the "Culture, not a Costume" is not a just movement since it assumes that anyone to dresses up as a certain culture is doing it in a negative way. I believe that a specific culture can be worn as a Halloween costume, but not to draw upon the stereotypes that costume conveys, but rather the country it comes from.


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    Totally agree with you, I think that as long as they aren't dressing up as a negative stereotype and/or implying that they are representing a whole culture, it should not be insulting to said culture. And also, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer - Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Part 1.

  3. A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace,
    And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace,
    And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar,
    Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour.
    And assessing points to nowhere, leading ev'ry single one.
    A dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun,
    And take away the plain in which we move,
    And choose the course you're running.

    Down at the edge, round by the corner,
    Not right away, not right away.
    Close to the edge, down by a river,
    Not right away, not right away.

    Crossed the line around the changes of the summer,
    Reaching out to call the color of the sky.
    Passed around a moment clothed in mornings faster than we see.
    Getting over all the time I had to worry,
    Leaving all the changes far from far behind.
    We relieve the tension only to find out the master's name.

  4. As you said, people don't usually think about what or who they represent when dressing up for Halloween, but don't you think that maybe they should start? When you dress up as a geisha (even if it's not necessarily negative to the culture)it still stereotypes that every women in Japan is a geisha, which is not true! Even if the stereotype is not completely harmful it still categorizes people into groups that they don't always belong in (which then can be harmful).

  5. I think that the main thing with these costumes that people found offensive was that the person wearing the costume may not know very much about that culture, and not know if it is offensive, or if it does bring up a bad/violent past as with the cowboys/indians costumes. So the main reason for this, I think was just the lack of knowledge in the people wearing the costumes.

    1. That is a very good point. People could feel offended by people wearing a costume without knowing enough about their culture to warrant wearing it, I agree with that completely. However, I still believe that people should be proud of their heritage, and not to take offence to such (usually) meaningless things. I think that people should only be concerned if a person wears a costume simply to prey on the negative stereotype of the people they are representing.