How did Halloween transform from a sacred religious day of worship and remembrance to the current consumerist sexist racist event that mainstreams cultural appropriation? Ok, thinking caps on… how did we go from this to this? This is of course an extremely hard question to answer, but it is one that social psychology is well equipped to address. What shall we pick on first…..
What happened to the idea that money can’t buy happiness? What happened to homemade costumes and re-runs of the Twilight Zone (NOT Twilight!) and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas? Which by the way is to be watched at Halloween AND Christmas.
BUT wait we have to be fair and appreciate that spending on Halloween in the US is forecasted to decrease this year… great right? I mean come on, what people are said to spend this year isn’t that bad!!! Its just a measly 6.9 BILLION DOLLARS!!!! What else could we possibly do with that kind of tiny budget? Spare change? Not like we could stop the famine in Somalia or anything….
Ok, ok, but Egypt isn’t as bad right??? In our current climate of economic crises, poverty, and conflict…. RIGHT???? Of course the numbers are not calculated so meticulously as in the US, but because most of the costumes, candy, decorations and other items are imported, we are most likely spending MORE on Halloween than the average person in the US. OK, even if so, less people are celebrating it in Egypt than in the US… very true. BUT STILL, all of the “hotspots” are having celebrations, and tickets range from 50 LE to 700LE and more. PER PERSON. Minus other expenses and decorations etc.
Apparently I am not the only one in AUC focusing on this issue. Take a look at this article written in AUC news. Do not get me wrong, to each his/her own if they want a “sexy” costume, but its actually about the double standards in whats available for women and girls that makes me mad. Calling people “sluts” because they have revealing Halloween costumes is as sexist as those who push the “sexy” costumes on us. In terms of gender, the whole point is choice. Actual choice, with informed consent, and without the kind of social influence that reinforces gender inequality. Also, sexualizing children, always a NO NO.
Take a look at this slideshow, oh me oh my. Here is a taste of the kinds of costumes you will see….
“Halloween is like Christmas for racists, because it’s an easy way to cloak bigotry in the guise of fun.” Take a look at these photos and tweets, I feel sick again. And yes, racism is an issue VERY close to home for our side of the world. Take a look at this costume that is sold widely.
I think the photos speak for themselves…?
In terms of attitude change, there has been a backlash against Halloween this year. This backlash led to this campaign: “We are a culture, not a costume. You wear the costume for ONE NIGHT, I wear the stigma FOR LIFE.” “This s not who I am and this is NOT OKAY.” If you take a look at the campaign, it addresses multiple stereotypes, even “positive” ones, attempting to make us think about the CONSEQUENCES of our actions. The campaign focuses on race although the slogan could apply to so much more. Take a look:
Here are some clues about how not to be one of these people in Buzzfeeds article “17 People Who Need To Be Banned From Celebrating Halloween”. #1, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, and 16 are the most unsettling for me, other than the photo I talked about in my last blog which is #9.
The Deluded Person’s Etiquette Guide To Avoiding Halloween Racism, Sexism, And General Tastelessness
Also, I would say, most importantly, know what the hell the holiday is all about. Isn’t this step number one? What is this about? Before conforming blindly? History lessons are funner than you think, and begin your journey with this.
So read this, think about it, mull it over, and then comment.
AND because I hate to solely Debbie Downer you, here are some things to lift your spirits.
1. Watermelon and gender role reversals.
2. Ellen dressed as Nicki Minaj!!!!!!!!
3. AAAAAAAAAND, drumroll, a photo of me as a child on Halloween. YES im a NOT-sexy Tinkerbell, and YES I am wearing a cowboy hat 🙂
PS include in your comment what you were for Halloween 🙂