Halloween store’s “Anna Rexia” costume

Editors’ note: This product, which was originally created by Dreamgirl, is no longer carried at Halloweenstore.com as of October 2013.

Plenty of people take Halloween as an opportunity to dress in more revealing outfits (/costumes) than they would, say, to the office; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! But it’s irritating that most of the costumes specifically for women, available at Halloween and party stores, catalogs, and the internet, are almost always revealing and often have the words “sexy” or “slutty” in the title. This upsets me because the costumes were designed by groups of horny Western men who ship their sexy ideas overseas for sweatshop workers to carry them out.

What makes matters worse is that the costumes are often based on stereotypes and are sometimes appropriative of certain cultures (like a Native American or Geisha costume).

Today, I saw the worst one yet: Halloweenstore.com’s “Anna Rexia” costume.

The picture on the website shows a young, thin, Caucasian woman with large breasts sporting a short, skintight black dress with the outline of a skeleton on it. She is wearing a red, circular button that reads “Anna Rexia”. The ribbon tie belt around her waist has the markings of a tape measure.

This outfit offends me not only as a feminist, but as a member of the eating disorder community. I find it absolutely appalling. Products like this completely delegitimize EDs as diseases, and encourage people to see them as something to scoff at. I don’t see this site, or any others, marketing costumes like “Sexy Leukemia Patient” or “Slutty Angiodysplasia Victim”. And why would I? Those are “real” conditions.

It pains me to know that there will actually be people walking around in this costume this Halloween. As a matter of fact, this costume has been on the market for a few years now. The department store Ricky’s has stopped carrying it, but why hasn’t everyone?

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  • http://feministing.com/members/adriennelee68/ Adrienne

    I also hate all of those costumes that sexualize a character that is meant to be a child. i.e. Alice and Wonderland, Hermoine, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.

    I usually end up dressing as a male character anyway :)

  • http://feministing.com/members/limelightqueen/ Zoe

    Last year I wore jeans and a tee and whenever someone asked me what I was I replied “a girl with self esteem.”

    The thing about this costume is,if you removed the tape measure belt and sold it as a “sexy skeleton” costume no one would bat an eye. While it’s bad judgement on the part of everyone involved in making it, it also seems like bad marketing. Not that this will hurt the “sexy” Halloween costume industry in the slightest.

  • http://feministing.com/members/granolastew/ terri

    indeed, why hasn’t everyone stopped carrying this?! it makes me sad to think someone actually would purchase it. thanks for spreading the word…

    • http://feministing.com/members/rileybrooks/ Riley

      That’s what I first noticed as well…Her waist is extremely narrowed. It makes her breasts seem like they take up all of her upper body.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    There’s also what appears to me to be some photoshop on the model’s waistline and legs. Is this costume supposed to be a gag…or a suggestion?

  • anyadnight

    WTF?! This offends me as a HUMAN! I can’t even believe how insensitive, tacky, and anger-inspiring this costume is. Cultural insensitivity doesn’t really shock me because I can see how geisha and Native American princesses are seen as sexy or pretty. Geisha and Native American people are beautiful to begin with even if the Halloween industry is ignorant and offensive in. I really don’t see how disease is being construed as a sexy and funny costume.

  • http://feministing.com/members/amazingsusan/ Susan Macaulay

    From what I understand, sisters at Spark Summit have taken action on this… http://www.facebook.com/SPARKsummit

    Also sharing this post on my FB page here: http://www.facebook.com/AmazingWomenRock

  • http://feministing.com/members/doctressjulia/ Doctress Julia

    ‘Last year I wore jeans and a tee and whenever someone asked me what I was I replied “a girl with self esteem.”

    LOVE THIS! I am quoting the hell out of you! XD

  • http://feministing.com/members/pizzuti/ Matt

    This strikes me as something geared towards drag queens. (Especially since “Ana Rexia” a classic drag queen name.)

    Ricky’s, where the costume was dropped, is pretty popular with drag queens, no?

    Drag is an art that thrives on pseudo-offensiveness but I agree that not everything drag queens would do is OK. Drag as an art form is heavy on self-deprecating links between the female characters and the concepts of promiscuity, and binge drinking. There’s lots of room to get into murky waters.

    So how do you come up with a drag character/image that is both appealing to the audience (which is looking for extreme exaggeration of stereotypes, embrace of vice, humor and irony) and pro-feminist? I am sure it can be done but maybe it would help if the gay community took charge of opening more open communication between drag and feminists.

  • http://feministing.com/members/andipants/ Andrea

    Makes me crazy too, especially when you see costumes for teen and preteen girls that are just are revealing as the ones for adult women with no alternative other than M&Ms or dressing in costumes “for men”
    I’m making my own costume again this year