With all the anger at people wearing blackface for Halloween, you'd think that's the only offensive costume out there. Fact of the matter is, so many costumes we take for granted as "traditional" or "innocent" or "the only thing the Halloween store had left" are insensitive to many social issues and marginalized groups. To help prevent you from crossing the line of good taste, here are some commonly worn costumes you probably didn't even realize were offensive.
Costume: SEXY NURSE
Why it's offensive: Let's leave aside the fact that sexualizing an entire field of medical care might not be the best idea, especially when the field in question has a history of battling sexual harassment in the workplace. This year, in light of the Obamacare controversy, a costume like this trivializes one of the most divisive issues facing this nation, one that just shuttered our government and prevented our children from visiting publicly run zoos and national parks. Hope it's worth it!
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: HOW DARE YOU!!!
Costume: IRON MAN (Kids size)
Why it's offensive: Hmm. You want to let your child dress as a mega-wealthy one-percenter who made billions off of weaponry, and who "changes his ways" by weaponizing his own body into the ultimate death machine? Let your kid wear this if he wants, but don't let him call himself Iron Man. Tell him to say, "I'm dressed as a celebration of economic disparity and the American military industrial complex. And apparently my parents are fine with this."
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: YOU, LITTLE BOY, ARE EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY!!!
Costume: CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW
Why it's offensive: Ever heard the term "rape and pillage?" Pirates are pretty much the orignators of rape culture, and dressing as one is basically telling the world, "I think every relationship should begin with a dose of Rohypnol." And as everyone knows, Johnny Depp developed this particular character by copying the mannerisms of Keith Richards, maybe the most famous substance abuser in the world. Sorry, anyone in recovery or anyone who lost a loved one to addiction!
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: HAVE YOU NO SHAME!!!
Why it's offensive: We have freedom of religion in this country, and that means we also have freedom from religion. Atheists have just as much right to their beliefs as Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims, but when you show up on the doorstep of an atheist dressed as a ghost, you're forcing them to acknowledge the existence of an afterlife, the foundation of the religious dogma they reject. You might as well just bring back the Crusades.
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: I WILL NOT BE FORCEFED YOUR FAITH!!!
Why it's offensive: Everyone loves cute, little, cuddly cats, right? Sure, except for maybe the billions of birds and mice that domesticated housecats murder every year. The popularity of cats as housepets has helped expand their bird holocaust, and has already contributed to "multiple wildlife extinctions" on some islands. By dressing up as a cat, you're basically supporting the eradication of endangered wildlife and animal cruelty in general.
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: Just throw some red paint on them and scream "MURDERER!!!"
Why it's offensive: Older women suffer bone loss, putting them at risk of osteoporosis. You're basically rubbing it in their faces. These are your mothers and grandmothers, for Pete's sake!
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: HOW COULD YOU BE SO CALLOUS!!!
Costume: WHERE'S WALDO
Why it's offensive: Anyone who's ever been woken up in the middle of the night by an Amber Alert or Silver Alert on their phone knows that people going missing is no laughing matter. With human trafficking on the rise, one can only imagine the worst when a loved one disappears or gets taken. Think of Waldo's family.
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: INSTEAD OF MOCKING HIS DISAPPEARANCE PICK UP A FLASHLIGHT AND JOIN THE SEARCH!!!
Costume: HOT DOG
Why it's offensive: Obesity epidemic. Nuff said?
What to say to someone wearing this hatecrime: YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!
(by Bob Powers)