These Offensive Halloween Costumes Are Frighteningly Ignorant

Remember, most groups of people don’t like their identities reduced to a drunken disguise.

A similar version of this story appeared last year on HuffPost.

It wouldn't be Halloween season without the following standard racist, sexist and all-around offensive costumes. "But it's all in good fun!" you probably want to exclaim.

And here's why that is simply not true. Before you jump down to the comment section to declare that we need to lighten up, please remember these basic rules:

--Most cultures prefer not to have their rich history reduced to drunken pageantry.
--Commentary about women’s bodies should not be purchased in a clear plastic bag at a local Halloween warehouse store.
--Mocking serious social issues of our time will just make you seem like an elitist a-hole.

Below, please see a definitive guide to avoid dressing up as an uninformed jerk this year.

Eating Disorders Should Never Be Depicted As Sexy
Do you really want to trivialize (or worse, glamorize) the struggles of 24 million Americans with eating disorders?

While the costume's manufacturer said in a 2011 statement that the "Anna Rexia" costume is "a matter of taste and personal discretion," as BuzzFeed noted, it didn't stop the public backlash from ensuing.

Anorexia has one of the highest death rates of any mental illness, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. The organization reports that 90 to 95 percent of individuals with anorexia are women and between 5 and 20 percent of people with the condition will die.

Photo: HalloweenParty13
This Is Just Downright Mockery Of Hispanic Culture
Costume Express
Hispanic individuals probably face enough everyday racism that the last thing they need is an over-the-top stereotypical costume to exacerbate issues.

Because then, basically, we might as well be Hollywood: "Mexicans on the silver screen are usually portrayed as poor and uneducated at best, corrupt and violent at worst," Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., said at a news conference last year, according to Forbes.

Photo: Costume Express
Indigenous Cultures Have Told Us Before: They're Not Our Mascot
Don't listen to the NFL. Saying you're "honoring" a group isn't an excuse -- you're likely insulting them. As experts claim in Internalized Oppression: The Psychology of Marginalized Groups, American Indians continue to be oppressed today in part due to the perpetuation of stereotypes reflected in "sports team mascots ... clothing lines, beer and liquor brands, Halloween costumes," and more.

If you're dressed like this guy on Oct. 31, you're probably part of the problem.

Photo: PunchBowl
That Geisha Costume Kinda Hypersexualizes An Entire Race Of Women
Party City
There's a fine line between cultural appreciation and offensive appropriation. We hope you're taking notes, Katy Perry.

Jelani Cobb, a professor of history and Africana studies, told CNN in 2011: "To treat a character like Batman or Superman as a Halloween costume is one thing, but to treat an entire ethnicity as a costume is something else."

And he has a point. Geishas are often objectified and portrayed as submissive in western cultures, reinforcing negative stereotypes about East Asian women.

Photo: Party City
And While We're Talking Bodies, Let's Not Objectify A Serious Career
Most nurses probably didn't get their degrees mastering subjects like chemistry and microbiology so that they could become a Halloween stereotype.

There are plenty of costumes for those who don't feel like being a "sexy ____" this year.

Mental Illness Is Not Really Costume Material
Spirit Halloween
About 42.5 million American adults -- nearly 1 in 5 -- have some sort of mental illness each year, and costumes like the one above only contribute to the stigma.

A 2013 campaign video by nonprofit Bring Change 2 Mind compared someone living with schizophrenia to a deranged character in a horror movie -- a reflection of how mental illness can be inaccurately portrayed in popular culture.

"Sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting a lunatic on a rampage," Calen said in the PSA. "People like me, with a diagnosis of mental illness, face stigma and discrimination every day. Luckily I've had the support of family and friends to help me live a full life."

Photo: Spirit Halloween
And Men, Please Don't Dress As A Woman's Body Part
Last Night of Freedom
As a general rule, female body parts are off limits for you, fellas.

Photo: Last Night Of Freedom
Hobo? Oh Hell No.
Sadly, most of us dehumanize homeless people on a daily basis by ignoring them -- we don't need to take it even further with a Halloween costume that mocks the setbacks of people in need.

What's more, lampooning people who can't afford basic provisions is simply insensitive at a time when the issue is so extreme that some areas are being forced to declare a homelessness state of emergency.

Also, Don't Be A 'Fat' Anything Either.
Spirit Halloween
At a time when we're making huge strides around the issues of body image, fat-shaming costumes just set any progress in reverse.

As Mindy Kaling pointed out in Parade magazine in 2013, the perception of someone's self-worth based in part on their body type can be a harmful thing.

"I always get asked, 'Where do you get your confidence?'" she said. "I think people are well-meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, 'You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?'"

Photo: Spirit Halloween
And As You All Know, This Is Just The Biggest No Ever.
Pacific Coast News

And other than that, have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Also on HuffPost:

Feminist Halloween Costumes 2015

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