You guys know that Halloween is my least favorite holiday, right? It’s true. I love Christmas. I love Thanksgiving. I love Easter (Easter candy is amazing, plus bunnies!). I love the Fourth of July. But Halloween sucks. No matter what year it is, no matter how many conversations we have about inappropriate Halloween costumes, no matter how many times people are like “please just wear a witch costume and call it day,” there are still people who don’t get it. Hilary Duff and her boyfriend Jason Walsh are two of those people.
Duff and Walsh attended the Casamigos Halloween party this weekend. They decided to do theme-couple costumes. Hilary was the “pantless pilgrim” and Jason was “the Native American.” Again, stop it. Someone’s race is not a costume. Someone’s culture is not a costume. What else is there to say about this besides STOP DOING THIS. Jason Walsh did issue an apology, saying: “I meant no disrespect. I only have admiration for the indigenous people of America. In hindsight I would not have made that decision. I apologize to anyone I may have offended.” Why do people still suck at apologizing? Just say “I’m really sorry. I’m an idiot.” Duff also apologized:
I am SO sorry to people I offended with my costume.It was not properly thought through and I am truly, from the bottom of my ❤️sorry.
— Hilary Duff (@HilaryDuff) October 30, 2016
Fine. Whatever. This is why I hate Halloween!
Two incidental things. One, Chris Hemsworth also “dressed up” as a Native American/First Nations person for a New Year’s Eve party last year. Last week, he finally got around to apologizing for it – you can see his Instagram here. His apology was actually really comprehensive and it wasn’t “sorry you were offended.” Second incidental thing: as football season heats up, I still can’t believe that the Washington team is still allowed to call themselves that name. We wouldn’t, as a society, stand for a football team being named a derogatory word for African-Americans or Hispanic Americans or Asian-Americans. Why do we continue to allow it for the Washington football team?
Photos courtesy of Getty.
Every year someone is culturally inappropriate and 90% of female celebrities take the holiday as a chance to look like hookers.
That’s one of The Village People out of a job then…but yes, pretty idiotic.
Funnily enough, I was at a Halloween parade in my city over the weekend and saw a group of pals dressed as the village people. They had swapped the Native American for a Harry Potter. I think everyone understood.
Clothing is not consent. 🙂
Ruddy, that is the BEST! Although I think the VP were more about fetishizing than appropriation. When it’s a bunch of gay dudes being fabulous, it doesn’t hit that ick button the same way.
And Oatku, chaps with buttocks hanging out are not consent, but certainly an invitation to consider. Insert smarmy face here.
@Suzanne: It’s not an invitation to anything. It’s either people dressing how they want to dress, attention-seeking, (in the case of celebrities and models, they’re always using being seen to draw attention themselves in some way), or a combination of both. But you can’t associate the way a woman is dressed with any type of sexual offer or an sexual activity and then whine when republicans, rape apologists, and judges involved in rape cases pull the same card. You’re supporting the same kind of misogyny.
What is wrong with the Pilgram costume. Is there a list somewhere of what is and is not offensive? I can understand the Native American garb but not the Duff outfit.
Well. As far as cultures are not a costume to take on and off to deplict racial stereotypes as one pleases, the Native American costume is a big no, no. Its just inconsiderate, insensitive, obliviously mean spirited, and everything in between.
The Pilgrim costume in conjunction with her (his/her, planned, thought out, and executed) boyfriends N.A. “costume” shows a certain level of… idiocy.
While I don’t celebrate holidays, a friend of mine and her SO were Rob Ross and a canvas landscape painting one year and I saw firsthand the sort of thoughtful planning goes into a shared costume/idea.
These people are in their thirties for shits sake.
I’m a 31 year old WOC, and absolutely no one had to pull me aside in school and tell me to not mock other peoples cultures/backgrounds.
I mean WTF?
It’s never ok but it’s in particularly poor taste right now as we’re being bombarded with the appalling videos and images coming out of North Dakota.
Thank you, Kitten. To me, this is even more offensive than your average disrespectful Native American costume. Right now, really?!? When people are being shot with rubber bullets, PUT IN TO DOG CAGES, and otherwise being humiliated and having their human rights grossly violated for trying to protect their water?! I cannot comprehend the tone-deaf stupidity. Abhorrent.
It’s kinda the same thing as a sexy nun in stockings and suspenders,, I think.
Ugh the sexy nun costume is so gross and disrepectful, people need to stop with that
Thank you Sixer! Like you and Jade, the sexy nun costume has always bothered the sh-t out of me. I also very much dislike people using the crucifix and other religious symbols in a salacious way.
Don’t mock or make a caricature out of other people’s race, culture and religion. Just don’t.
Halloween costumes, however ill-considered, are generally not intended to mock or make fun of other people’s cultures or backgrounds. (Except in the case of political figures — then yeah, it usually is about poking fun.)
I agree about race and other peoples’ cultures, but respectfully have to disagree a little bit about religion (and Christianity in particular). Religion and politics are belief systems, so they should never be above criticism or mockery. (And that’s not a one-sided thing. I don’t think things or beliefs connected to feminists, liberals, conservatives, or atheists should automatically be above criticism or mockery either). Christianity isn’t a marginalized group of people- if anything, there’s privilege when it comes to the way it’s been treated in the west. A lot of the criticism and mockery religion gets is about power and is about the role it’s played in the way women, bisexual and gay people, kids, and other groups of people have been treated . That’s not to say “Everything/everyone” religious is evil, or that religious people don’t deserve open space and equal rights in society just like everybody else. Definitely. But respecting those rights doesn’t mean everyone’s obligated to honor the beliefs or symbols themselves.
Uggghh you know what “sexy” costumes bother me? Sexy babies? Like….no. That is so gross to want to sexualize a baby.
I think it was the whole pair but, as for what’s wrong with the Pilgrim outfit itself, the Pilgrims were a religious sect and didn’t go about baring skin.
Umm, I don’t think they were going for complete historical accuracy here.
@alix I just burst out laughing.
@ light purple : I thought this too. Kinda like “Gee, Hillary, I always thought pilgrims wore pants”. So I guess she was dressing up as a slutty pilgrim??
So, yes, Alix, I think they deliberately overlooked the historical accuracy point.
I believe it’s the pair together.
I think it is less her as a pilgrim than it is her as a pilgrim and her dipshit boyfriend dressed as Native American. If he had dressed as a turkey, I don’t think it would have been a big deal.
Ironically, he did come as a turkey.
A sexy puritan costume is the height of the inappropriately sexy costume craze.
What complete idiots. Nor shocking g though because both of then seem stupid to me. And that half ass “sorry to those I offended.” How about apologizing to first nations people!!!?? You have to be a moron to dress as another race in 2016.
This. All I have to say is “2016 people”!!!
What shouldn’t still be a thing in 2016 as well is “sorry I offended you”. Well debated in 2015. Don’t publicists earn their money anymore and give a few tips to their clients?!
Although with social media, I would hate to be a publicist. Having to control my clients’ every post!
They are both utter idiots. Hemsworth’s Instagram thing was very good.
This even happens over here in Britland, you know.
My local rugby team is called Exeter Chiefs. This would normally be fine because in rugby around where I live, junior teams have always been known as colts and senior teams as chiefs (no Native American connection whatsoever). But a few years back, the team decided to go with Native American branding. Now it has a Native American logo, fans wear headdresses and I think they took one of the stadium chants from the Atlanta Braves. Something to do with chopping.
Periodically, there is a fuss about it but the club refuses to change – and most of the fans get annoyed and refuse to see it’s offensive. It’s infuriating. Mr Sixer and the Sixlets are all big rugby fans. What do you do? We’ve settled on going to matches, obviously not dressing up, and not buying any club items with the appropriated logo on them – which is all the club items, including the shirts.
Chemboy’s apology was quite good, admitting to stupidity and thoughtlessness and insensitivity. People could learn from him how to apologize.
Yes. He took responsibility and said ok, I didn’t realise, but that doesn’t let me off.
I see way more black face and native American headdresses here (in England) than I ever did in America.
I think part of it is 1. I live in a University town (Cambridge) and 2. The weight of that history (black face minstrels and systemic genocide of Native Americans) isn’t quite as real/close to home as in America. I’m not making excuses, btw – it makes me fucking furious.
Yes. Exeter Chiefs are by far from the only ones. Perhaps it is a distance thing? I have never seen any blackface though, even once. Think of the fuss over Rhodes Must Fall, too. When it seems like an absolute no brainer to me.
It is out of complete ignorance. I never even heard of blackface and why it’s wrong before I started reading this site. We don’t have any history with slavery or Native Americans so people are just not aware of it. Or people of any races other than white. It’s probably very different in multicultural societies.
There is a quite popular show called Your face sounds familiar where celebrities impersonate other celebrities ( it’s quite popular all across the world) and when impersonating other races they do blackface because they see it just as a part of the costume, like freckles or eye colour. Now, I’m fully aware that that is wrong, but most people are not because we never had a conversation about race because we don’t have a history with race so complicated as the one in the US.
But is it okay for us to expect the same level of awareness from countries that did not have slavery or minstrel shows? We are expecting people from other cultures to have the same sensibilites as we do in North America.
You can’t say that for Britain, though, Locke! So when Britons say “But we mean it as a tribute” or whatever excuse, you know they are just closing their ears very definitely on purpose.
Agree that it is an ignorance and cultural thing.
One of my closest friends (a white French man) turned up to a party a few years ago dressed as Whoopie Goldberg in Sister act (rosary, habit, black face, the whole shebang) and he could NOT understand why I told him to either go home or wash his face. to this day my (white, European) friends don’t fully understand the fuss – and these are people with PhD’s from Oxbridge – so people who at least have the ability to understand ‘new’ concepts.
But many of them also come from cultures where Sinterklaas and Zwiet Piet is still a thing (I’m thinking Belgians and Dutch – who have their own history of slavery). I have to believe it doesn’t come from a bad place…just…cultural difference.
Whereas I can’t make the same excuse for American celebrities turning up in black face or native dress – it is very much part of American history and culture and we learn that shit in school. It’s not like you didn’t know.
People around the world consume American culture like crazy. But they can’t consume any history? Any context? I don’t buy it. I think it’s pretty much a case of wanting everything about a culture except the problems. POC in particular know all about that.
People consume “parts” of American culture. And that’s also a point to be made. Context changes when you change a country.
When Snoop Dogg did “whiteface” a few years back it was not problematic because the power imbalance wasn’t there, even if he used someone’s skin as costume. So in countries that did not have slavery, nor minstrel shows nor the problematic history with POCs that America has, or even racial minorities, why do we expect them to have American values? Americans have a tendency to view the world trough their lens and expcet people to act accordingly.
I rarely hear people being so vocal about Roma culture, or using the word “gipsy”, even in TV shows, yet that would be completely unacceptable in most of Europe.
I think that someone’s skin should never be a costume, but I also think that there is a cultural difference and that context matters.
Showing my age…there was a very popular UK TV show ages ago – 60s certainly – called The Black and White Minstrel Show. Singers and dancers in black face. Maybe I was just really naive – I was quite young – but I didn’t actually realise they were impersonating black people. The same with the now notorious golliwog toys. The golliwog was also the trade mark of a food company and they produced very popular metal badges with golliwogs undertaking all sorts of activities. But the TV show and the doll are unacceptable, and both have disappeared, apart from a few fringe “bring back the golliwog” right wingers. I also realise, looking back, that one of my best friends was bi-racial: her father was of Indian or Pakistani ethnicity. It only struck me about 20 years later. Dumb; or just innocent?
amazing that in Cambridge, one of the premier elite British university cities, the HQ for intellectual thought in the U.K., that the lack of historical context with English colonization in North America, being both the trading of African slaves and committing genocide against Indigenous Nations—there would an an argument for “ignorance.” History not being taught in OxBridge anymore?
RTL have very recently introduced Chimney Pete as a substitute for Zwarte Piet. That’s a step in the right direction, I suppose.
The British had slaves all over the Caribbean. So let’s not pretend that they don’t know
A British team with Native American branding? That’s an odd choice, to say the least. You think they’d go with the ancient Celts, or Druids, or something…
It’s because the team name was always “chiefs” for reasons nothing to do with Native Americans but all to do with west country rugby nomenclature.
I don’t understand why people still dress as Native Americans when people always get flack for it. The “sorry for offending” excuse doesn’t make sense considering this has been going on for years.
Yeah, I think they did it for the attention – nobody can be ignorant enough not to know it’s considered offensive nowadays.
She’s quite entitled from what I’ve heard.
She’s a washed up Disney star that nobody REALLY cares about anymore – she doesn’t really do anything of interest. But I was listening to a radio show last year and one of the hosts was so annoyed because he was at the Grove one weekend, and his son wanted to go on the trolley. He attempted to do this and was told “oh sorry, Hilary Duff rented it out”. Nobody was using it. She took her son on it briefly -but she had it blocked off for hours. Apparently she still thinks she’s so important that she needs to keep the peasants at bay lest they swarm her.
Honestly – there’s no way that she’s oblivious to this sort of thing. NO WAY. Especially with all the talk of the pipeline protests, and how frequently culturally appropriating costumes are brought up. She just doesn’t CARE. She’s above it all, she’s a CELEBRITY.
I disagree. The celebrities are more ignorant than ever. And they seem to be more stupid than last year.
But they got attention, so in their bubbles, they did something right.
There’s just no way that you could NOT know that this isn’t ok.
Agreed, this happens every year so I’m sure they know it’s considered offensive (or, at the very least, would have a manager, publicist or friend to tell them it is). They’re doing to get in the headlines. Still not giving a toss about the actual community, particularly in light of the events in North Dakota.
Thank you for your post acknowledging how inappropriate this kind of thing is Kaiser. The amount of racism directed towards the Indigenous people of this country is so incredibly sickening. When my children ask me why people dress up in clothes we consider sacred I tell them it’s because those people have small penises.
Lol. Now that is great parenting!!!
LMAO that is good parenting!
I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to see this happening again and again, especially with what’s happening in North Dakota right now.
It has made me heartsick and so angry to see the images of Cleveland baseball team and spectators in red face at the World Series games. Especially in light of the very real issues that First Nations people are up against in this country, it is disrespectful, shameful and destructive.
Thank you to all my neechies…it means so much to me to read the comments reinforcing we are not mascots or a dead culture. It is breaking my heart to see the images from Standing Rock and know to many people out there we are nothing but a halloween costume. (Neechi is friend in Ojibway) Meegwetch gee weegee shewache (Thank you for helping here) in other words it warms my heart knowing we have so many allies on this fabulous site.
We left a Halloween party early this weekend because a Caucasian adult thought it was hilarious to dress as MC Hammer – complete with black face makeup. This was a family party with teens present. Everyone thought it was just the funniest thing ever. My husband and I looked at each other and said “let’s go”.
What is wrong with people? How is that funny? What are they thinking?
Who should he have dressed up instead? Vanilla Ice? Are you just allowed to dress up as someone of your own complexion?
In this case (MC Hammer) I really don’t think it’s about a culture or race but about a person. To me he is more defined by this godawful song and the horrible pants than his skin colour.
I’m pretty sure the issue here was that he was wearing blackface, which has a horrific and hurtful history and should never be used. Ever.
Um, you could just dress up as MC Hammer WITHOUT the brown makeup?
You can dress up as MC hammer without having to wear blackface. Wear the hammer pants, the vest, the glasses, maybe even a wig with the high top fade and people will know who you are.
My rule of thumb for costumes depicting people that exist in real life is, “would I be embarrassed to run into someone who is X while dressed in my costume?” If I (lost my mind and) dressed up in what Hilary Duff’s boyfriend wore for Halloween, and I ran into someone who was Native American, I would be absolutely mortified and ashamed of myself. Ditto for blackface, or the like. How on earth could you hang out at a party next to an African American person with blackface on and not be utterly embarrassed given the history of blackface?
As others have noted, this is somewhat dependent on cultural context, but as North Americans we all know damn well why reducing sacred cultural elements of a marginalized people is in bad taste.
And as for blackface, it’s never necessary if you have a good costume. I’m a lily-white girl with Irish ancestry on both sides, but I would love to go as Princess Tiana for Halloween – I would just need to get a yellow dress that is similar to the movie and a frog to go with it and people would know who I was – no “black” makeup needed.
Are we seriously having to explain why blackface is not okay right now?!? Seriously?!?
Are you serious?! Anybody can put on that God forsaken outfit and we would know they are MC Hammer. Painting your skin black is not necessary. Black.Face.Is.Not.Okay!!
Ugh how many times do people have to say “my culture is not a costume” before people get it?! And during the DPL protests which are horrific at this point (the cops not the protestors). Kudos to Chris Hemsworth for not only supporting the protest but using that time to make an actual apology that made sense and he clearly thought about. I’d rather this apology a year later than a BS one two days later.
Mother f**ker, unless you’re going to go North Dakota and support the First Nations people in their quest to have clean water on their own land, stay away from anything Native American and take a seat.
WHY do people still do this? This conversation has been going on for quite awhile so if you’re still doing this, it isn’t out of genuine ignorance, you’re doing it to piss people off deliberately. That makes you a f**king jerk, at least in this country. Considering Australia’s own problems with aboriginal discrimination, you would think Chris Hemsworth would have been more aware, but I will accept his apology because it actually sounds genuine.
Australians have an atrocious record of mistreatment towards Aboriginal communities and unlike in North America, a large portion of our population are extremely ill informed about continuing abuse of indigenous peoples. It’s all ‘in the past’. Having said that, no one in their right mind out here would ‘dress up’ as an Aboriginal person or pretend to play the didgeridoo. I’m 100% sure Hilary and BF did this for attention, there’s no other explanation right?
If famous people screw up on this level, and publicly offer a sincere apology, I think it brings attention to racism and our history of genocide. If a few people’s eyes are opened, I’m grateful for it.
On a lighter note, sexy pilgrim offends me deeply and there is no excuse, ever.
Seriously people are so stupid. How many controversies haven’t they seen when their fellow celeb idiots have done it? it is not okay to do so! I have seen so many people dressed up as “Mexicans” with sombreros and ponchos. Folks I assure y’all, none of us Mexicans own sombreros nor I have ever owned a poncho. I have never taken a siesta under a cactus and I don’t have a donkey as a pet. So inappropriate and annoying!
Omg I was in a H&M the other week and a girl came in asking for help to find a ‘Mexican outfit’. The sales assistant just looked at her in disgust and said ‘wow that is so cheap and tacky and quite frankly racist’ and turned around and walked off. I was cheering in my head!! How dumb can you be!!!!
So, time for my ignorant European question. When you say Mexican outfit is wrong, does that mean dressing up as any other culture/country is wrong? So people couldn’t go dressed in I don’t know, lederhosen? Or is it specific to Mexico and the issues The US and Mexico have/had?
@Locke-I think the difference is that German people haven’t been historically marginalized in our country. I mean, just look at what propelled Trump to a GOP victory: a proposed wall to keep Mexicans out.
But that’s what Im asking, is it an American thing? Would the “Mexican” outfit be okay from someone from, I don’t know, Japan? Because they don’t have issues with Mexico?
Speaking of Mexico, is the skull makeup for The Day Of The Dead okay?
Locke – think of it as a power relationship. I would happily dress up as, say, a flamenco dancer or in lederhosen because there is no inequality in my relationship with Andalusians or Alpine people.
One time on the way home from Toronto I bought gorgeous outfits for my daughter, aged 3, and I at a flea market. They were Indian-style pants and tunic tops, glittery and flowy. There is a difference between honoring and admiring a culture, and stereotyping and perpetuating racism.
I suppose this dynamic is different in every culture. I love these conversations!
@Locke, as a Mexican I can tell you that the problem comes with that super racist stereotypical representation of the lazy Mexican (you can even see it in cartoons like Speedy Gonzalez).
Most of us see nothing wrong when people dress as Catrinas or as sugar skulls (like Kate Hudson who wore a pretty nice sugar skull make up couple of years ago). We are proud of our culture and Dia de Muertos, which is celebrated also in these days (November 2nd), is a major celebration which honors death and our loved ones who have left this world.
But using a costume which makes fun of us through stupid steretypes is a big NO. I’d be equally ofended if a white or a black or whoever wear such a costume. We are normal people equally influenced by western culture like everybody else, so those costumes are just mean to make fun of our humanity and nationality.
Yes we have a rich and beautiful culture but we are normal people.
Lockelamora, I guess it’s not ALL cultures who shouldn’t have traditional dress made into a costume, ha ha, just some. I wonder if it’s okay for a Mexican person to dress as a Geisha? Or in the traditional garb of an Abenaki person, or a Mikmak person?
@Lumos – in my opinion it is offensive when it’s rooted on a negative stereotype. Nobody uses the traditional Mexican dresses who are beautiful to honor the culture, if that were the case in my opinion it wouldn’t be offensive- they dress with a colorful poncho and a sombrero because that’s the negative stereotype – Mexicans are lazy, take siestas under a cactus, drink tequila and have a donkey. They all come to the US illegally, so their “culture” is a costume. Plus what Kitten says, it is a marginalized culture in the United States.
I bought several dresses and skirts in Mexico and they are beautiful. Not sure why people need to use stereotypes like ponchos and sombreros or sugar skull make up without really understanding Day of the Dead.
So, before donning the costume they should take a quiz to confirm that they really understand Day of the Dead?
Serious question, OSTONE – I am dressing up as La Catrina – no face makeup, just eye mask, headband, and poncho over black leggings (nothing ‘sexy’ about the costume, too damn cold for that nonsense. And the poncho was my Grandma’s, bought in Mexico in the 50’s.)
I’m not mocking anyone, not sexualizing anything, and still not sure if it’s offensive. At what point does cultural appropriation become cultural appreciation? I think Dia de los Muertos is a really cool holiday, not the sugar-hooker travesty that Halloween has turned into in the states. I wish I could actively participate in it, but I’m an Irish-Native-Austrian-Czech mutt. Am I being ignorant?
People in US think we us Mexicans care about customs, but the reality we love it. We love it if you were a mariachi custom or Sombrero. We don’t care. We’re not as critical as you guys.
Dressing as Catrina is not offensive. The Catrina was actually created to make fun of the wannabe-French high Mexican society of the late 19th century. If you want to do it correctly, do the whole sugar skull make up and pick an elegant dress. It looks awesome.
Dia de Muertos is not a sad day in Mexico. It is solemn but nonetheless a celebration. We put altars for our gone loved ones with pictures and things and food they liked and on the last day we have a feast (Accoding to the region the rituals change).
As we were explaning up-threat, the only problem we have is when people use their costumes to make a caricature of us. When they make fun of our nationality using items that people asume in a racist and stupid stereotype (like big sombreros, bigotes, donkeys, cactus…).
How is this any different than people dressing up as a priest & sexy nun? Or Jesus & an angel. I know it’s not someone’s race but it is someone’s religion! I personally find that to be far more offensive yet every year it goes unnoticed! I had a friend dress up as Jesus one year & I refused to stand next to him all night! I just don’t understand how people pick & choose what’s “wrong”.
I saw many POC dressed up as Harley Quinn & the joker. Covered in white makeup. It’s ok to dress up as that race?
Sigh….I guess I’ll assume you’re serious.
Priests and nuns are not an ethnicity. Jesus and angels (if you believe in them) are omnipresent and omnicient beings who likely care very little for what you wear to eat candy; not an historically discriminated against and decimated people.
Oh and people are wearing white makeup to play the Joker and Harley because Harley and the Joker wear white make up. Like…always…like in every movie…and comic book. So….?
Did you miss where I said I know it’s not a RACE!!! But it’s someone’s religion! I’m aware that it’s not someone’s ethnicity!
Lmao that was a very nice answer Mia gave you (wayyy nicer than I would’ve been), and you completely. missed. the. point. 😪
Religion, like race, is a protected class. Wars have been fought over religions
No, she did not miss the point. It’s not okay to “mock” ethnicities but religions are a free-for-all?
I have two thoughts about the issues you raised:
I actually think it’s totally disrespectful how people dress as religious figures, especially when they do “sexy”. Like “sexy nun”. I’m not one but religious but I feel that is offensive.
Also, there’s no comparing whiteface to blackface. Anyone who thinks there is should crack a history book.
I also think costumes trivialising faith are pretty inappropriate. And I am an atheist.
But isn’t that what Kaiser is saying in the post? She doesn’t say the Native American costume is not ok but the pilgrim costume is. She says they are both inappropriate.
I find pregnant nun costumes, etc very offensive (I’m Catholic) but I agree, I don’t think it’s quite the same thing offensive-level wise.
Because while it’s not okay to mock someone’s race, it’s still okay, sadly, to mock someone’s religion, especially if it’s Christian.
It’s pretty tacky, but sexy nun concerns me less than the “sexy schoolgirl” which I find pretty nauseating. It’s still quite common. Usually accessorised with a lollipop. Urgh.
Only if they’re Christian, I think.
People are free to choose religion – it’s a bit harder to pick your race…
Exactly. I don’t know why people refuse to get that.
The Joker & Harley Quinn are clowns. Clowns that paint their faces white. So if you see POC dressed as them with white makeup, they’re pulling off the look. Also “white face” isn’t a thing. Oh and clowns are not a race.
My white coworker dressed up like Tina Turner.
A ton of bronzer on.
My grandma grew up on a reservation and I couldn’t care less if someone wore this costume and I know she wouldn’t either. They aren’t making fun of Native Americans or being mean spirited. It’s just a cool costume. I can’t imagine how draining it would be to carry around so much stress caused by being offended by everything.
This! People smell bad intentions everywhere. It’s so exhausting.
But that’s the thing too – just because you’re not offended, or your grandma wouldn’t be offended – doesn’t mean that others’ have to agree. Just because you have a link to the culture doesn’t mean that you get to dictate how other people feel.
My husband is from Native American ancestry – strong enough that he has a card showing it. He finds it completely tasteless at best. His reaction was “how can you do that when you’re constantly hearing about how people are being treated over the pipeline protests?” because it’s SUCH a prominent thing in the news – there’s no avoiding it.
They’re turning a culture that has been constantly oppressed into a fantasy dress up costume. The headdress is reserved for a specific cultural purpose. The costumes are a caricature of a way of life/race/culture.
I”m just going to play devil’s advocate–couldn’t the argument be switched? Just because some people are offended doesn’t mean everyone of a particular heritage is or needs to have their opinions or feelings ‘dictated’. Where is the line drawn? (This is directed at you, it’s just a hypothetical for discussions’ sake)
It’s just a cool costume & it’s not mean spirited. Thank you. Most people pick a costume because they think it’s cool or something the like or even admire. At least he looks like he tried and didn’t throw on a headdress with jeans and a t-shirt just so he could get free tequila. He is wearing pants which is more than you can say for his date. I’m more annoyed at the slutification of a pilgrim costume. How long before a sexy nursefiremanpoliceman are disrespectful and offensive?
^This and thank you.
Nope I’m sorry, it is not just a cool costume. Do some research on what’s happening in North Dakota right now. Native people are being treated like rabid animals for trying to protect water and sacred native land. And then some white dude thinks he can put on a costume, parade around as native for 3 hours, and then have the immense privilege of taking that costume off without having to spend one second of his time thinking about the issues facing native people as we type right this second? No. Not just a cool costume. At all.
I grew up on a reservation too. Reservations in and of themselves are a form of racist segregation and ethnic cleansing by the government.
Also, not all of my People can wear head dresses or regalia. It’s earned. It’s earned in how you carry yourself, how you represent your family and your people. You have to work decades on being a good upstanding community member involved in aspects of bettering your Nation.
It is not a “costume”. My People did not survive many attempts of genocide, did not continue cultural practices under the threat of jail, only for the same regalia to be appropriated by uninformed masses thinking it’s okay to “wear a costume”. It’s sacred and should be respected.
Excellent explanation. I was saddened to hear on Canadian Public Radio how ignorant and indignant people are about wearing racist Halloween costumes.
On a positive note Osheaga and many other Canadian music festivals have banned Headresses …hopefully Coachella, Bonnaroo et al. follow suit
It’s racist, simple as that. In a country that has nearly exterminated Native Americans so that they’re 1% of the population and the non-native people living here even think of an entire racial demographic as a costume is disgusting. The idea that Native Americans are an acceptable costume goes hand in hand with the fact that Americans don’t think of us as real people, just stereotypes in buckskins and feather headdresses. A lot of the costumes I see are sexualized and brutalized with gun wounds or stab wounds so is that how these non-native Americans see Native bodies: brutalized and sexualized? 1/3 Native American women will be sexually assaulted, disproportionately by non-natives. Thousands of indigenous women are murdered and missing, #mmiw. Some people have never met anyone who is Native American and some think Natives in the US disappeared. Hillary Duff’s boyfriend’s costume is extra ignorant, not only in the light of what’s going on in North Dakota but the fact that he used a headdress which is sacred and used by Plains tribes, NOT the eastern tribes that had contact with the Pilgrims. He belongs to one of the most privileged demographics in America: white, male and wealthy. And here he is dressed up in a costume that is comprised of inaccurate stereotypical garb portraying a racial group that his ancestors killed off so that he could become one of the most privileged groups in the world, gross.
I went into Party City yesterday to grab something, and the costume section is right by the entrance where you walk in. They had a huge display of “cowboys and Indians” themed costume and accessories. A lot of the costumes and accessories were wiped out (being that it was the day before Halloween) but that section was pretty stocked. Maybe people are wising up.
I love Halloween, though. It’s my favorite holiday next to Christmas. After my daughter was born, I stopped going to parties where adults dressed up in really stupid and/or offensive costumes so that helped with that headache. Now we are dressing in more kid friendly attire if we dress up at all. I have seen no black face or any of that mess.
You made me click on a link containing an image of Taika Waititi; super distracting. Cover Taika some more please!
I don’t get why you Americans dress up as any old thing. You’re supposed to look scary!
Exactly ! You rarely see anyone dressed as a witch or ghost or monster now a days.
Thank You! Halloween is for scary not masquerade IMO.
Thank You! Halloween is for scary not masquerade IMO.
i don’t go anywhere (shopping or otherwise) with my kids until all the crappy Halloween decor and masks are removed from anywhere they might be seen and give them nightmares. tomorrow can’t come fast enough.
i must say though i was not born and raised in north america and could never appreciate this particular celebration.
i’m sick and tired of the commercialisation of all holidays. hard to raise kids in these times.
gotta go and indulge in obscene amounts of candy to make myself feel a bit better about world and humanity
What happened to scary costumes?
In Australa, most people, kids and adults alike , dress as ghosts , ghouls , zombies , devils witches and vampires etc. Isnt that was Halloween is all about?
We have only been doing Halloween here for maybe 15-20 years. It wasn’t a thing when I was a child. Maybe Americans are bored with that theme, but they seem to be deviating too much from the original idea. My daughter always dresses in something ghoulish. Why does Katy perry dress as Hilary Clinton. That’s for a fancy dress party, isn’t it? Nothing at all to do with Halloween. If Americans got back to the original idea, we wouldn’t have any of this sad disrespect of culture.
Try telling this to some of the women I work with. I pissed a few of them off when I told them it is never okay to dress up as an ethnic group and/or culture. At least in my case one could argue it’s a generation gap (to an extent) but for these two? Can’t argue stupidity.
Good to see that every year there’s an *sshole, every.Year! even in 2016, I’m still waiting for the Blackface brigade, is also “Super Cool” to see that the Usual troupe of commenters bending over backwards to parse and minimize the costume/remark didn’t miss this post either *All of the eyerolls*
Yep. Halloween celebrations in Hollywood are never complete without the insensitive and racists costumes. Also agree about the troupe, they’ll be here until award season is over, just like every year…
I will be the dissenter as Political Correctness has gone way too far. What is offensive? Is he holding scalps? It is a costume not a political statement. If it is a complaint about dressing up as a race then what next? A pharoh and Cleopatra costumes are out? After all, Egyptians are first a race. People that dress up in traditional Mexican garb? Geishas – they are also Japensee. Again, races first….yet I have never seen outrage for any of these costumes. I have seen Jesus, nuns (sexy and not), priests and ISIS fighters this Halloween – where is religious outrage and issues with the violence on those?
I am more offended by people that make a mockery of a race and don’t think this is it. The snowflake generation can and will find offense at almost every costume. I weep for the future. Right now, I am more concerned about the election, price of healthcare and the dumbing down of America.
Feel free to comment away about how insensitive I am, but really, it is a costume.
Cleopatra was of Macedonian Greek descent so she was white, although that’s also somewhat debatable.
As someone above pointed out to me, it seems to be about power balance. And considering this is an American blog, it is about the power balance regarding America.
The non-American gets it after one well-written post, and millions of Americans are still utterly clueless.
Painful as it is, I’d rather see the ignorance exposed and debated than going on with institutionalized/silent racism.
There are way too many theories about Cleopatra to be definitive as Macedonian Greek. Some theorize she had Ethiopian ties as well. So saying she is “white” is too generalized. In all likelihood, she was probably a primarily Macedonian Greek from her “pure blood” father, but her mother’s ancestry is unknown.
That’s why I said it was debatable, but I guess a white person dressing up as Cleopatra wouldn’t be as problematic.
Cleopatra was from the Ptolemaic dynasty, a notoriously inbred Greek family that married brothers to sisters and other horrors.
Thanks for this! I like Halloween, but so many people have their panties in a bunch about it nowadays, it’s almost not worth celebrating. There are people who still think Halloween = Satan worship. Holy crap.
Since my birthday is so close to Halloween, I have ALWAYS loved the holiday. Not so much anymore, because there is ALWAYS someone hyper sensitive and ruining it for me. That being said, I also feel like people are becoming hyper sensitive about anything and everything. Everything offends everyone. In my opinion, people are fighting about this stuff for “equality”, but its just doing reverse racism to me. (Yea, I don’t agree with affirmative action either) I don’t need someone getting offended on my behalf because someone decided to dress up in my cultures traditional wedding garb. If I am offended, then I can say it myself. I don’t need to come off as condescending and say “OH YOU AMERICANS DON’T HAVE A CLUE!” As a first generation born American, whom didn’t speak a lick of English until the age of 8, trust me when I say I comprehend the argument that is being put forth. I, personally, just think that the current trend for everyone is to be hyper argumentative and sensitive about first world problems. Racism exists both ways.
Happy Birthday! (My birthday is the 30th, so I’ve always loved Halloween as well)
Hollz, we’re birthday twins! Mine’s the 30th, too. Happy Birthday!
I grew up having Halloween/costume parties my entire childhood. Then, came my nephews, and helping with their costumes and Trick or Treating. Now, I am DONE! lol Every year, since I was in college, I have my “Rocky Horror” viewing (first, in midnight showings), and now, at home.
Frankly, while I wish people would go back to the “scary” costumes for Halloween, or (for the kids) the pirates and princesses…unless you KNOW someone is dressing up to deliberately “diss” someone, just MYOB! IT’S JUST A COSTUME! Honestly, everyone seems to don binoculars
and /or put things under a microscope to find fault with everything nowadays; someone is always butt-hurt about something. Perhaps, just perhaps sometimes, it’s a sign of admiration for a culture/people. Why not try and see the positive instead of always looking at something negatively?
A headdress cannot be worn by just anyone within the Native American culture – there are reserved for respected elders and men who have earned the right to wear them. So not only this “white man” wearing something from someone else’s culture, he is wearing something that those within the culture themselves are not always allowed to wear…. so i’m not sure why anyone would think that is ok.
It’s racist, simple as that. In a country that has nearly exterminated Native Americans so that they’re 1% of the population and the non-native people living here even think of an entire racial demographic as a costume is disgusting. The idea that Native Americans are an acceptable costume goes hand in hand with the fact that Americans don’t think of us as real people, just stereotypes in buckskins and feather headdresses. A lot of the costumes I see are sexualized and brutalized with gun wounds or stab wounds so is that how these non-native Americans see Native bodies: brutalized and sexualized? 1/3 Native American women will be sexually assaulted, disproportionately by non-natives. Thousands of indigenous women are murdered and missing, #mmiw. Some people have never met anyone who is Native American and some think Natives in the US disappeared. Hillary Duff’s boyfriend’s costume is extra ignorant, not only in the light of what’s going on in North Dakota but the fact that he used a headdress which is sacred and used by Plains tribes, NOT the eastern tribes that had contact with the Pilgrims. Until the 1970s Native Americans could go to jail for practicing their religion but they persevered and maintained culture, including the headdress. Obviously all he knows is racial and cultural stereotypes and nothing based in reality.
I was in a store not too long ago (Sept) and the Halloween costumes were already out. One of the items was an Afro wig. Now an African-American child (it was for a child) may buy it because they’re doing a heritage or history costume (it looked like a 70s afro). BUT that wasn’t the person shown on the packaging–it was a white child. Now I always would’ve found it offensive but really wouldn’t have given it much thought beyond the original ‘Good Lord’ and an eyeroll. But given recent dialogues–here on Celebitchy and elsewhere–it prompted me to have a discussion with my kids. Not to get super-PC or be a killjoy or dictatorial with them but to sound them out and have a real discussion as to why groups may (or would) find costumes like these offensive, the history behind those feelings and whatnot. It was an interesting discussion but they were already ahead of me too in thinking that it was a very bad idea to have such an item marketed to a non-African American market and why.
I dunno, that one is a fine line. Depending on the costume choice the afro might not mean anything. Say a kid wanted to dress as a character that had one but didn’t use blackface or anything I don’t think it’s wrong. Another example: my very white dad had a tight black afro back in the day so when my aunty had a 60s party he bought a wig to relive his glory days.
It would have been cute if they were both pilgrims, but Natives…NO.
Get your knives sharpened! I have a beautiful Japanese robe my father was given by Japanese friends in 1946 (he lived there and a year, yes) and a beautiful sari given to me as a gift from Indian friends. For me, dressing in a sari or Japanese robe is an experience of wonder, not mockery. I’ve learned from Celebitchy that one is not supposed to wear clothes of another culture, but I don’t understand why it’s interpreted so angrily. I am obviously NOT Japanese or Indian; and Halloween is about dressing up as something scary or as something you’re not, whether it’s another culture, a fictional character, or for another job you don’t do. If I dress as a nurse or ballerina, are they insulted? I don’t understand why appearing as another person belittles their culture in any way; Halloween was about pretend and playing at someone you’re not. I think maybe I have so much awe and delight of other cultures, my heart is in a different place than those who are less respectful, but I understand it is NOT the thing to do. Good thing I read Celebitchy!
I don’t know, ballerinas were upset at the Spanish Vogue shoot Kendall J did as a ballerina. I’d be careful with that one! 🙂 *sarcasm
Yes, but would you wear that robe on Halloween and tell people that your costume is that you’re Japanese? Or that you’re a geisha to make it exciting? Cultural exchange is so important and your father’s experience is a great example. Buying cheap and inaccurate costumes and creating caricatures of cultures with no real knowledge of them hurts people by perpetuating stereotypes and belittling their lives. So, yes! Wear clothing from other cultures but not as a costume. Dressing as an occupation is not comparable.
Just wear it. I probably wouldn’t wear the robe or the sari as a costume, but at home? Wear it, if you are so inclined.
This must be an American thing. There are a few First Nations ppl who get angry if you dress up as one of them but most dont care. I grew up around seven reserves and have friends married to guys from the reserve. They dont care! I work with several first nations ppl and they dont care.
Do you speak for everyone?
So because you know a few First Nations ppl & they don’t care then it’s not a big deal right? Everyone else that has an issue with it is being overly sensitive right? How dismissive of you.
@Joanie, you just tried to speak for all First Nations people in initial post, so your response makes no sense. your generalization of “most don’t care” is HIGHLY problematic. are YOU speaking for all Indigenous people? because if that is the perimeters of your argument, I will give you as many folks from Dine, Tohono O’odham, San Carlos Apache, White Mountain Apache, Standing Rock Lakota, Pine Ridge Lakota, Gwichin Nation, Ktunaxa, Coastal Salish, Saulteaux, and other etc. to contradict your argument. I am assuming your are Canadian based on your argument? First Nations in Canada didn’t enjoy genocide or mockery any more than the Indigenous Nations in this part of Turtle Island
additionally, the Duff duos apologies are not just ignorant, the apology is so perfunctory i think their dressing up is more of i know i am going to offend people, so what, i will do the “sorry you’re so sensitive” faux-apology the next day.
My step children are Metis. They dont care either. I dont speak for all First Nations but the many I do know dont care. So because some do that means no one can dress up? Oh and by the way the First Nations were not the only ones to wear feathers. Many cultures wore them for different reasons. The whites werent the only ones who committed genocide, the First Nations did it to one another prior to the white man setting foot in America. Just like the first slave traders were black.
@Joannie – my wife is white and she cares. As a First Nations woman I am dismayed by your comments. The issue is not the feathers – it is the manner in which they are used – we struggle with racism and stereotypes our issues are ignored and yet on Halloween people dress up in cheap copies of our traditional regalia – how can we not be dismayed by the attitude that we are characters to be depicted on halloween.
I totally thought it was the workout queen best amiga of Gwyneth in the header pic – Tracy – , I had no idea it was Hilary!
Halloween is just one big fancy dress party now. Its supposed to be about Ghoulies and Ghosties and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night.
People should stick to scary costumes in my opinion, upsetting other cultures or races is just a no no, so why go there ? As for “sexy” costumes, they’re lame and annoying and rarely look sexy, but that’s just my own subjective view.
Anyway happy Samhain everyone, she said, grumpily.
I agree Halloween is supposed to be spooky. You’re supposed to wear a costume that is scary not sexy or ignorant. I just don’t get it.
I’m dressed as a gypsy/fortune teller as we speak and y’all can suck it.
Attention seeking. Trying to stay relevant. Perceived notion of celebrity. Entitlement. Desperation to be a “star.”
On any given day, most of the masses do not care about Duff or her boyfriend. I doubt that Duff is ignorant of the inappropriateness of her choices. This is their twisted way of feeling accepted and important.
Where I’m from, the Halloween rules are thus: No black face (Just you & the costume), no Nazi’s, KKK uniforms, concentration camp survivors, no sexy Pocahontas (if you insist on wearing regalia from indigenous peoples of your country-you’re on your own). That then leaves hundreds of years of characters (fictional & non) to choose from.
I’ve managed to dress up for Halloween for years now without being a jerk. And by the way, I see nothing wrong in not wanting to offend you fellow citizens. Consideration for others makes for a pleasant world, says the woman who is typing this at work with her pink Disney mouse ears on.
No concentration camp survivors?!! Are you serious? People have done that???
Yes. It happened where I live and the only good thing that came out of it is that some people took them aside and gracefully schooled them and their parents.
Are ppl so unimaginative that they can’t think of interesting Halloween costumes? Like how played out and offensive is dressing up as a Native American or another race after years of POC telling you it’s offensive. And why can’t people learn the history of black face vs. white face?? Is it so hard to learn and comprehend these things so you don’t have to get chewed out every year? How embarrassing that it’s 2016 & ppl still don’t get.
How do people NOT know this is inappropriate???
I just looked up something I read many years ago. Goes by the name of the A List. Its a listing of show business/political names. Here’s what it says about Hilary Duff: Duff, Hilary. Her mom is a racist bitch. It just may be that some of the lead vocals on Hilary’s songs in Hilary’s sister Hayley, rather than Hillary herself. “Diva and spoiled…many tantrums and feuds.”
My favorite listing: Coulter, Ann. Alcoholic and habitual liar; if she says 2+2=4, doublecheck her figures. “Smokes, drinks, whores around.”
omg I LOVED that A List thread, I haven’t thought about that in YEARS.
I bet these aholes don’t even know about the native American protest against the pipeline going on right now, but I bet they love native Americans!!!
Get over it! One year my sister and I had gotten new parkas for the winter. By accident, we had gotten them on Halloween day. It snowed 8 inches that day. My sister strapped tennis rackets to our feet, we put on new parkas and mittens and went as eskimos.
EVERYONE who is saying, oh it’s just a costume…. It’s not a big deal… Get over it…. Is just as ignorant as Duff and her husband. In this day and age of the internet I will not believe that you aren’t able to google it or find out about why it is offensive. Maybe y’all just don’t want to. In that case you are CHOOSING to remain uneducated and unaware about it. And that is part of the problem of racism in America. People just don’t care enough about others to find out more or do 5 or 10 minutes of research, in the very least.
Everyone needs to stop being so butt hurt about everything.
They should have known better! On the plus side, she looks beauuuutiful.