With Halloween well and truly behind us for yet another year, I figured now would be a good time to discuss some of the oddities that I cam across during this year’s frivolities.
Now, admittedly I am still a little hazy on how Halloween as we know it today (including trashy costumes & trick or treating children,) evolved from the Celtic feast of Smahain. Obviously I know the history of how the Christian Church adopted and twisted other cultures’ sacred holidays in an attempt to more easily coerce and subjugate them to their ways, which is how we etymologically ended up with “All hallows eve” which of course became Halloween, but how did the rituals and terrifyingly ghoulish costumes that were meant to scare away the ghosts and demons to ensure a safe and prosperous year ahead, get replaced with a sugar and/or alcohol fuelled extravaganza, observed in cheap knock off costumes of cute princesses, sexy professions and stolen cultures? *sigh* That would make for interesting research; I will have to do that some day.
Until then though, I would like to take this opportunity to call to mind the post I wrote a while back about cultural appropriation and how we, as a general “western” culture, tend to overuse that term to a ludicrous extreme in the name of political correctness.
I still very much agree with what I wrote then, however, I came across some very grotesque and horrifying costumes in the store where I tried to shop for my own cheap and cheesy Halloween costume, and that inspired me to take another look at the “blurred lines” that I was referring to there.
Now, I have to admit that, as far as costumes are concerned, the line is very clearly not as blurry as I thought, and even though I am going to take the time in future to try to find some of these lines with the help of my many amazing international friends and acquaintances I am going to focus on two costumes that directly reference my home country Germany, and trust me when I say it’s not pretty.
Let’s just get straight to the point shall we? Do I love it when people from other cultures/countries wear a cheap Dirndl or Lederhosen to specifically dress up like a “bar wench”, “beer hall guy” or “booby waitress”? No, I don’t love it, but I also don’t hate it. It causes no harm and Oktoberfest, which is where most people know these costumes from, makes my home country of Germany an astonishing average of more than €1.1 billion (£863 million) every year. (And that’s only the total for Munich alone, not counting the many travellers who will include the Oktoberfest in a lengthier Germany holiday itinerary, leading to even more revenue.) So, on the contrary, if those costumes encourage more people to want to wear them (or the real ones) on a holiday to Germany the following year (and maybe even learn a little about our culture as an added bonus) that’s pretty much the opposite of harmful.
However, next to peddling these atrociously silly looking wench costumes, they also sold this:
Yes that’s what you think it is… Let that sink in for a moment. Zoom in if you need to.
In case you refuse to believe your eyes (as I first did) it says: Gestapo Officer.
Gestapo… the Geheime Staatspolizei – the Secret State Police of the Nazi German government, run by Heinrich Himmler under order of Adolf Hitler himself. The organization existed from 1933 to 1945 during which time they directly participated in heinous war crimes including the unfathomable murders of over 1 million Jewish people. Most of their officers were tried and convicted of being war criminals after the war was over, and the organization as a whole was declared a chief institutional perpetrator of the holocaust.
This is not a costume. This is not funny. This is despicable.
You do not dress as a war criminal. You do not dress as a Gestapo Officer. You do not dress as Adolf Hitler. You also do not dress as any other known real murderers, psychopaths, terrorists or tyrannical dictators. These people and groups have left/are leaving immeasurable scars on societies and humanity and using them as a cheap “shock and awe” costume disrespects everyone they have affected, injured or even murdered from the individual victims all the way up to whole groups of society.
Let me make this clear: If you wear this, you are an asshole. A grade A, ignorant and horrific asshole.
Also, if you sell this – you are the most shameful scum of the retail world.
Dress as a ghoul, a ghost, a vampire, a zombie, a banshee, the Lough Ness Monster, a Yeti or any of the other 1000’s of mythical creatures you can choose from for Halloween, Karneval or even your fancy dress party, from the countless cultures around the world.
If you’re into sexy kittens or buff firefighters instead, fine, *eye roll* be that too! But for the love of humanity do NOT be an dick (or a cunt in the interest of avoiding rampant sexism).
Unless you want to literally dress up as a dick or a vagina; those costumes really do exist but at least they are just vaguely uncomfortable and awkward, with the added bonus of being offensive only to prudes; so please feel free to dress up as a literal dick or cunt, but please do not be one.
Are we clear? Good….
I absolutely hated finding that disgusting costume in the shop and I hated having to write about it just because it exists and it’s made me very angry (and hopefully made you, my dear readers, a little more aware of what’s out there and what really isn’t acceptable so that you can avoid stores that sell such trash and avoid dicks and cunts who dress like them). That being said… I wanted to leave you with a laugh or at least a cringe, so with no further a ado, the aforementioned penis and vagina costumes. 🙂 Enjoy. 😉