Let Us Tell You Why These Halloween Costumes Are Offensive. Because Ignorance Is Spooky.

Let Us Explicitly Tell You Why These Costumes Are Wrong. Because Ignorance Is Spooky

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

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:

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

Read on for our guide on why exactly these costumes just aren't cool.

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
It's Probably Best Not To Depict Women As Doll-Like And Servantile
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: Costume Discounters
This Is Just Downright Mockery Of Hispanic Culture
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
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 there's a record number of working poor in America.

Photo: HalloweenCostumes.Com
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
Also, Don't Be A 'Fat' Anything Either.
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 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.

Besides, nurses save lives every day -- they're already sexy (without having to be objectified into stethoscopes with legs).

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

Photo: HalloweenCostumes.com
And Men, Please Don't Dress As A Women's Body Part
Just ... no.

As a general rule, female body parts are off limits, fellas.

Photo: Last Night Of Freedom
Mental Illness Is Not Really Costume Material
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 schizophreniato 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 everyday. Luckily I've had the support of family and friends to help me live a full life."

Photo: Spirit Halloween
Terrorism Isn't Exactly A Festive Topic
There's nothing light-hearted about terrorism, especially when the Islamic State is beheading journalists, throwing women into slavery and, according to ABC News, teaching deplorable acts of violence in its training camps.

A photograph of high school students dressed as Osama bin Laden and a member of ISIS was posted online in September, ABC 33/40 News reported, and not everyone was pleased.

"You see on the news all the people who are forced out of their homes because of ISIS and all the terrible things they do," Kaitlyn Shaddix, who saw the image online, told the news source. "One is of James Foley getting beheaded. It's not something you dress up as and make a laughing matter. It is real and it is happening right now."

Photo: HalloweenCostume.com
And As You All Know, This Is Just A No

Also, just for good measure, don't take costume advice from Chris Brown, Bill Maher or Subway commercials.

Other than that, have a Happy Halloween!

Courtesy: cheezburger.com, via Giphy

Correction: An earlier version of this article used a female pronoun when referring to Jelani Cobb, who is a man.

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