Is it ever okay to use another culture as a Halloween costume? | The Tylt
Is it ever okay to use another culture as a Halloween costume?
Victoria Uwumarogie points out that context matters. It depends upon the culture you are borrowing from, but the lines are often blurred. Even Beyoncé caught some flak for dressing as an African queen.
What is okay to wear and what is offensive? Can you get away with being a particular character from a film, show or book if it comes from a real place you have no connection to or much knowledge of? When is it showing love to a culture and when is it just cultural appropriation?
Teen Vogue calls Halloween "a cultural appropriation free-for-all" and says we should all take a hard pass on costumes like these.
Cultural appropriation is when an individual (often one of privilege, a dominant culture, or both) adopts, or appropriates, the cultural or religious elements of a marginalized, oppressed, or minority culture. It usually happens without any sensitivity for or acknowledgement of the originating culture or religion.
Asher Weinstein thinks context and intent matter here, and argues that most people have no intention of offending anyone when they pick out a Halloween costume.
“Costumes aren’t meant to be hurtful, they’re just about having fun,” says Erik Mandel CEO of the Halloween costume website, Costume SuperCenter, “Yes, some Halloween outfits push the boundaries of social appropriateness but crossing a line is up to the person wearing the costume, not the costume itself.”