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.
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.