Choosing Culturally-Conscious Costumes for Halloween

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Rachel Ranieri
  • Published July 6, 2024
  • Word count 413

As Halloween creeps closer, the phrase "My culture is not your costume" echos louder. It's a simple plea: don't wear something that mocks or belittles someone's culture. But every year, it seems like some people still don't get it. Stereotypical and downright offensive costumes keep popping up, and before October 31st comes around again, it's time to talk about deciding which costumes are not okay to wear.

In an effort to inform the masses on how to know if their costume is offensive, consider these three questions:

  1. To what cultural group does this costume represent?

  2. How is that cultural group oppressed in our society?

  3. Could this make someone uncomfortable, especially someone who belongs to the cultural group?

Lets try it together! For this example, we will take the costume of a “hula girl” and ask ourselves the 3 questions to determine whether or not the costume is okay to wear.

  1. To what cultural group does this costume represent?

This costume represents Hawaiian Indigenous culture.

  1. How is that cultural group oppressed in our society?

Since the 1800s, Hawaii's been grappling with colonization, and it's far from over. Back then, colonizers even tried to ban hula! Today, the effects linger on. Commercialism's taken over, pushing out locals and turning their home into a tourist playground. But Hawaiians aren't taking it, they're calling on travelers to rethink their vacation plans in hopes to hit the pockets of those profiting off their land and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

  1. Could this make someone uncomfortable, especially someone who belongs to the cultural group?

Yes, especially when considering the cultural significance. As someone who isn't Hawaiian, wearing a hula costume would be deeply disrespectful. Hawaiians fought long and hard for the right to practice hula, and seeing someone who isn't culturally connected to that struggle flaunt it as a costume perpetuates the privilege society grants them and dismisses the ongoing fight Hawaiians face.

Decision: Wear a different costume.

Lets try one more! This time the costume will be a superhero:

  1. To what cultural group does this costume represent?

Superheros, people with super powers.

  1. How is that cultural group oppressed in our society?

They do not exist in our society. However, heroic citizens are typically honored in society, not oppressed.

  1. Could this make someone uncomfortable, especially someone who belongs to the cultural group?

It shouldn’t.

Decision: You can wear the superhero costume.

It is that simple! Try it with your friends and family this upcoming holiday season.


Rachel Ranieri

June 2024

Find me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-ranieri

Article source: https://articlebiz.com
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