Another reason to hate Halloween.

While last year’s disturbing product poll nominee the Child “Pimp� Costume was disturbing enough, I thought I’d point out another kind of costume that I really can’t believe people actually wear: for Halloween, why not be a different race!
In addition to the “Indian Pink Princessâ€? above check out some more of my favorite-racist-costumes-to-hate after the jump. It’s pretty infuriating, particularly when they try so hard to exoticize women of color. Has anyone seen worse than these? (Although I don’t think you can get much worse.)

“Arabian Dancer”
“Dragon Samurai”
“Sexy Senorita”

Join the Conversation

  • Jessica

    test comment

  • Hairy Legs

    Meh, it isn’t that bad to me… it goes across the board – I’ve seen saucy pilgrim costumes, I kid you not.
    Basically, ANY sort of thing you can get a stereotype from and sex up is valid as a costume these days. I don’t think this is really specifically ‘exoticizing women of color.’

  • a_human

    Um, none of those are reasons to hate Halloween. Hate costume producers, I can see. But Halloween? No.

  • The Law Fairy

    lol, good point, human.
    On a friend’s blog I recently saw a picture of a sexified judge. Blech.

  • manda

    I saw a ton of sexy nun costumes online the other day – but only one sexy priest. All I could think o was how it would probably kill my husband’s grandmother, a devout Catholic, to see them.

  • norbizness

    Sexy chartered accountant! Although there’s nothing wrong with the samurai picture, apart from the historical authenticity of the costume, the moustache, the hairstyle, the weapons, and the fact that the model looks like Screech from Saved by the Bell, but with way too much rouge on.

  • prairielily

    There was an ad on YouTube that’s been taken down now for a placed called the “Sexy Girl Halloween Costume Warehouse.” There was a sleazy guy with a Jersey accent listing off “sexy” costumes while they flashed through a blonde woman wearing them and occasionally commenting.
    Sexy pirate! Sexy Cat! “It doesn’t take much to make me purr.” Sexy frog! Sexy nun! Sexy lobster! Sexy Jesus! Sexy Abe Lincoln! “Wouldn’t YOU like to four-score with me?”
    As weird, creepy and disgusting the whole thing was, I think that is now my personal quote of the year.

  • Raging Moderate

    “for Halloween, why not be a different race!”
    I have a friend who dressed up in a homemade KKK outfit a few years ago for a halloween party. He’s black, and none of the (multi-ethnic) party-goers were offended. Should we have been?

  • EG

    I can’t tell you what you “should” have felt, but I can tell that I would have been pretty nauseated.

  • Jessica

    How does making fun of a racist institution = dressing up like a different race for laughs? Please.

  • Heraclitus

    It’s about damned time. Commodification and objectification that last all year, not just one day. A sexay Red Riding Hood costume gets thrown out after Halloween, but these costumes remind us that sexist and racial stereotypes are valid all 365 days of the year. After all, how much patriarchal fun can you have if you’re not reinforcing racial prejudice? The best part–privileged white women doing the reinforcing, dressing up as skanky and submissive foreigners to give themselves that little extra flair for the discerning consumer. And they even have a samurai with a handle-bar moustache, for those bi-curious guys out there.
    Oh, and thank God someone played the “my black friend did this, so it can’t be offensive” card. Of course, the black friend actually did no such thing, as Jessica noted, but, well…still.

  • HeatherBartlett

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with these costumes in the right context, depending on the sense of humor of the crowd you will be with. The “Arabian Dancer” doesn’t look all to different from some of the clothes I wear for belly dance class – it’s a little “sexed” up, but for the right kind of party – or private moments, it could be fine.
    What this made me think of was a blog I saw about a toy “stripper” pole set – no kidding – read about it here
    Now that really is terrible!

  • Raging Moderate

    “The “Arabian Dancer” doesn’t look all to different from some of the clothes I wear for belly dance class”
    My ex wore similar garb for her bellydancing classes and shows too. If you don’t think I’m lying about this too, is that racist as well?
    P.S. The KKK costume was voted the best costume of the night. Humor is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

  • The Law Fairy

    prairie, I think “sexy Jesus” and “sexy Abe Lincoln” have got to be the most hilarious costume ideas ever. This was a serious commercial?? It can’t be… I mean, it must have been mocking how we have to sexify women for Halloween instead of just letting women have creative costumes. It was a joke, right?
    Either way, it’s freaking hilarious from the sounds of it. Any idea why it was taken off YouTube?

  • Feminist Housewife

    It seems like there are two issues here: one: all that damn sex. You can find sexy nurse, nun, witch costumes, etc. Whatever the character, you can trash it up as much as you want (or not). One could easily take issue with the fact that women are suddenly expected to dress in the “sexy version” of whatever they’re costume is.
    The other issue is race…I had not thought about this so much. So, is it possible to dress as a person of another race and be respectful about it? What if I specifically wanted to dress as Harriet Tubman or Caesar Chavez? Is it ok as long as I don’t sex it up, or is it never ok?
    I do agree that there is some difference between how this might be percieved. Maybe no one would bat an eye at the generic “Native American” costume, but dressing as a “black person” would be weird. What about the “sexy senorita”–maybe that’s just a flamenco dancer?

  • Heraclitus

    No one suggested you were lying, RM, just that a black man dressing as a Klanster in order to mock racism has nothing in common with dressing as racist and sexist stereotypes.

  • viktor frankl

    i think the problem people see with this is that it reinforces stereotypes. there is an amusing confusion in political blogs about racial matters, it seems. well, just amusing to me, maybe not to everyone else. don’t get me wrong, the discussion is appreciated.
    some people seemed confused as to why this would be racist, i just wanted to clear it up. you may or may not agree. i think that one has to be realistic about how many people actually study race relations and identity politics. you can say that someone is just appreciating culture but you would have to ask yourself how much that person understands the subject matter, or if they just think it’s funny that theyre dressing up in a sombrero tacos ariba andale lol.

  • Tiara

    Had the names for the Arabian or Senorita costume not been revealed, I won’t have even known there was supposed to be a racial connotation. I would have thought they just make really nice dresses (the Senorita one especially).

  • viktor frankl

    Yes, Tiara, I agree. That’s the problem, they are using stereotypes to market their products.

  • keri

    here’s the girl’s costume warehouse commercial that was pulled from youtube:

  • Elzbieta

    I saw this at Party City tonight. So awful– it’s not even pretending to be anything more specific than a costume of a race.

  • Janice

    i see nothing wrong with these costumes.If you don’t like the costumes,dont let your kid wear them.Or don’t wear them yourself.It is a fantasy..Some people adore the SPanish culture and may want to be a senorita for the night.I dressed as a bunny once ;)

  • shmana

    I just watched the commercial with my sound off (at the library) but it seemed pretty damn funny. I couldn’t tell if it was real or fake either — I hope it was fake, because that would make the “girls’s” hilarious — otherwise, it (and the entire premise) would just be pathetic.

  • noname

    Wow, prairielily. You didn’t realize that was a joke? Wow. You and Pete should hang out sometime.

  • Heraclitus

    Oh, my, that video is hilarious. That’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages.

  • John

    That commercial is pretty damn funny. I’m pretty sure it’s fake because I can’t imagine any channel, broadcast or cable, that would run an ad with that much profanity in it. I think “Sexy Jesus” is my fave.
    As far as the costumes go, I can’t see a problem with the “Arabian dancer” or the “Sexy Senorita”, mainly because they look close enough to authentic garb. The Indian costume is sexed up too much to look authentic, though. The “Dragon Samurai” costume just looks plain stupid. And it’s not even sexy at all. If there were a Sexy Rumsfeld costume I think the war would soon be over. The shock and awfulness of it would cause everyone to lay down their arms and then gouge their eyes out. In fact, because of that picture I’m using a Braille keyboard right now. They should make a movie about me with Jamie Foxx playing the lead. He would need a “Sexy White Man” costume, however. I guess the Wayans brothers could help him out, given their experience in the film “White Chicks”. (Would that movie be considered reverse-racist?)

  • prairielily

    noname, I thought it was a joke right up until I tried to show it to a friend and saw that it had been taken down for copyright infringement.

  • John

    Just because it’s copyrighted doesn’t make it real, prairielily. Humor items, like everything on SNL, can and often is copyrighted. If there’s a Hackensack resident who can prove me wrong than please do so, but does anyone think that a business would misspell “Girls’s” AND mention at the end of the ad that they’re across from “Bennigans’s” on Route 6 (a pretty damn vague address, if you ask me). Maybe if I read the comments at the site I could find out more about it but I’m too lazy to register for another web site. However I still feel pretty safe in stating that this ‘commercial’ is just a joke.

  • Justin Kalm

    I don’t see why this is such a big deal. The smartest thing I’ve ever heard said about racism was that it was “the result of a belief in race.” It’s a mistake to think that we can scientifically delineate different “races” within the human species. Rather than trying to be “color-blind,” we ought to aim for richer color vision. To use a computer metaphor, right now most people see humanity’s colors in something akin to 4-bit, imagining that humans come in black, white, brown, yellow, and red. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of grouping people in a few arbitrary categories, we could see that there are billions of colors? The problem with being outraged about someone trying to look like a member of a different “race” is that it assumes that “race” is something very deep that ought to be respected.
    I once took a stage makeup course, where the professor said that she wouldn’t teach us how make ourselves look like other races, because that would be racist. Ironically, it was her attitude that was racist. Were it not for her racist assumptions, she would have understood that applying makeup to look like someone of a different “race” amounts to nothing more than trying to look like someone who comes from a different family. People from different families naturally look different in some ways, but only a racist would assume that those differences are anything but superficial.
    I understand that the “black face” minstrel shows were a bad thing, but the reason they were bad was because they belittled people based on the darkness of their skin. Just dressing in the garb of a First American, on the other hand, is not necessarily defamatory. It really depends what you do with it.

  • Scarlet

    I’m with Justin, here. I really don’t think it’s more offensive than dressing up as a policeman or a firefighter. (even a “sexy policewoman” or whatever, if you want to feel sexy for Halloween, more power to you. No-one is forced to wear ready-made costumes, you can always use a bit of creativity).
    Maybe it’s because I’m European, but I really don’t understand what the fuss is all about. Whether it is about “sexy” or “racial” costumes, it all depends on the context. I don’t think even dressing as a “stereotype” mean that you condone it, you can be playing around with it.

  • The Law Fairy

    John, I can tell you that you’re right about the copyright issue — copyrights are governed by federal rather than local law, so copyright is the same in Hackensack as it is in Los Angeles, Denver, or St. Louis. While states may offer copyright-like protections under state law, more often than not these are preempted by the federal Copyright Act, which governs all copyrights. And you’re correct that something can be humorous and still subject to copyright protection (or guilty of copyright infringement).

  • Stellar

    The photos aren’t showing for me :(

  • lotus seed

    You know, as an Asian woman, it doesn’t bother me to see someone dress in, say a cheongsam or a kimono, even if it’s not authentically correct to any time period. However, there are 2 things that bother me:
    1. When the person in the cheongsam then engages in stereotypical behavior like, oh, mincing steps, giggling behind her hand, or whatever she thinks a “China doll” does. That hurts, and even a caricature like that -which no one means as anything more than harmless fun – sort of kills everything I’ve done to try and show people that that’s not me. This IS what happens, as stupid as it sounds.
    2. How is this even a Halloween costume? I have a few cheongsams and kimono, and last night a friend invited me to a costume party, and I sort of considered wearing one of these. However – these are clothes. What do I say? “Hi there, I’m dressed as a Chinese person”? Is this any more a costume than my typical T shirt and jeans??

  • mudifoxx

    “Sexy 1900s steel conglomerate tycoon”. It’s hilarious!
    There’s also a Christmas one.