I’m not normally one to dress up for Hallowe’en, but this year I’m super done. I want to wear PJs. Why? Because I’m tired. I’m freaking tired of the commercialization of misery. I am sick of things being packaged for sale that have no place on the open market, save as potentially educational opportunities or to identify people who need their horizons expanded significantly. Some things should not be a thing.
I’m looking at you, manufacturer of the sexualized costume depicting Anorexia Nervosa. A highly stigmatized disease with a high mortality rate is incredibly offensive. This stuff ruined my life for five years and you adjusted it for sale to maximize cleavage? Cleavage I didn’t have as it tried to kill me, because my weakened frame could not support such structures. So much no. There is nothing more nauseating (and this is coming from a former bulimic) than seeing something that nearly ended your life trotted out as a fashion statement. Anorexia is so hot right now, and that’s the exact freaking reason I volunteer my time and pour my heart out in blog posts to stop that from being the case. And by so hot right now, I mean prevalent, because it’s a DISEASE and that’s the language we used to describe the spread of disease. The extent to which eating disorders are not sexy cannot be sufficiently underscored. It puts me in mind of that jerk of a pick up artist that recently toured that advocated preying on women with eating disorders. And y’all turned it into a costume. For shame!
I’m also looking at you, purveyors of Pocahottie costumes. My people’s ceremonies were illegal for 75 years and now folks want to play dress up with cheap, tacky interpretations of regalia? For real? Fetishizing a group of women for whom an inquiry is required on account of the number of them who have been murdered or gone missing seems in poor taste. Perhaps that plays into the apathy that has held up further investigation for so long … there always seems to be so many of us on Hallowe’en. You may not put on my ancestry as a plaything like Mommy’s high heels. The history of my people is something I am proud of and it’s ill-fitting to be worn by those who haven’t experienced it. Don’t reduce it to something cheap that fits in a plastic package and hangs on a rack – it is far too deep, vast, colourful and expansive to be captured and mass produced. It’s too beautiful to be marked down to $19.99 on November 1. There are many ways to celebrate First Nations culture. This is 100% not one of them.
I’m further looking at the company that thought Caitlyn Jenner’s transition would be a great costuming opportunity. It is truly a statement of where we are as a culture when you can dress up and pretend to be a symbol of someone else’s journey to authenticity. You are appropriating somoene else’s pain and literally clothing yourself in it. You are purchasing the cheap seats to someone else’s life journey and bringing them to your Hallowe’en party. When you consider the risk of violence faced by people who actually transition, poking fun at that process seems incredibly insensitive and tone deaf.
As long as we think it’s okay to sell cartoon-like exaggerations of eating disorders, actual ethnic groups and people who face violence for simply being themselves, I’m going to pull on my PJs and sit this one out. Because I’m really, really tired.