Halloween is right around the corner, and pop culture is the perfect source for a costume everyone will be talking about.
That’s why this is also the perfect time for a reality check from Kat Blaque on why wearing something like this Caitlyn Jenner costume is so messed up.
If you think this is just about being a PC killjoy, think again. Here’s the real truth about transmisogynistic costumes.
The Editors at Everyday Feminism
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This video is part of a series for Everyday Feminism, a website dedicated to helping you stand up to and break down everyday oppression.
Halloween is right around the corner, and children and adults alike are starting to plan their costumes. This year’s trending costumes are Star Wars: The Force Awakens costumes, Joy from Inside Out, and I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of Cookies from Empire at the Halloween turn up.
Speaking of the Halloween turn up, if you wanna be the toast of the party, you’re gonna wear something everyone will be talking about. Pop culture costumes are perfect for that. Maybe you’re going to dress up as left shark, or an American Horror Story character, Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad, or Caitlyn Jenner!
Wait. Caitlyn Jenner? Seriously?
So, if you haven’t already heard about it, there was this Caitlyn Jenner costume going around, and it received mixed reviews. Many media outlets stated that the costume was packaged and sold by popular Halloween retailer, Spirit.com. Turns out that the costume was actually produced and sold by Wholesale Halloween Costumes and AnytimeCostumes.com. Spirit actually did sell a Caitlyn Jenner costume, but it was arguably more tastefully packaged and sold.
Right now, you can’t find any Caitlyn Jenner costume online, but Halloween is the time of year where people get crafty, and I’m sure we’re still going to see some Caitlyn Jenner costumes that look a lot like this.
Now, if there’s one thing I learned from the video that I did last year about how cultures are not costumes, it’s that regardless of how many different ways I say that it’s messed up, people are just going to tell me how much they have the right to dress as whatever they want on Halloween.
And you know what? You do! You can do whatever you want. This is America, land of the free, home of the brave, home of 18-and-counting trans women who were killed due to transphobic violence.
While you’re laughing at the lives of trans women, their blood paints the sidewalks you shuffle across with glee. They’re being slaughtered for the transmisogyny that you feel so comfortable embodying for cheap laughs. And those chuckles warp into indifference and victim blaming when news of another trans woman slain comes across your screen on the rare occasion it happens to enter the news cycle.
See, Caitlyn Jenner is fine. I’m sure that for a moment, it bothered her that there was a costume being sold that was making light of her transition, but I’m sure she went back to counting her stacks once the story faded from relevance. There was no formula in which Caitlyn Jenner’s transition would not be public and would not be ridiculed. We expected that to happen the moment we heard the rumors about her transition years ago.
However, Caitlyn doesn’t have to deal with the repercussions of her visibility. I’m happy for her and the fact that she’s living her truth, but I can’t ignore that with growing trans visibility has come increased violence against trans women.
Oh, but I hear you: “It’s just a joke get over it! Everyone’s made fun of – that’s the point of Halloween!”
I love how “the point of Halloween” is to have the most offensive costume ever! It must get exhausting trying to find the most offensive costume every year and trying to one up yourself year after year after year. Whatever happened to being scary or using Halloween as an excuse to wear that sexy dress in your closet? Every time we have conversations about offensive Halloween costumes, people always frame Halloween like this holiday where the goal is to piss people off and stick it to the “PC Police.”
Humor costumes are almost exclusively marketed towards men. Spirit doesn’t even have a humor costume section for women. And when you scroll through most of these costumes, it’s the same transmisogynistic joke over and over again. The person wearing the costume is a dude, but dressed like a lady. Ha ha! So funny and creative! These costumes are trash, but what makes them different from the Caitlyn Jenner costume is that they aren’t about a specific person.
Most celebrity costumes are simply about dressing like a recognizable celebrity for the evening. The last comedic celebrity costume I can think of was Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke. The people who purchased that costume most likely went on to just wear the costume while making a poor attempt at twerking on strange men. We laugh at it, but Miley is in on the joke.
The Caitlyn Jenner costume was also sold along side a costume called “Mr. Oylmpian,” where Caitlyn Jenner is depicted wearing the clothes she wore during the Olympics with a long flowing wig. To me, it’s obvious that this costume was not created to celebrate Caitlyn Jenner – and no matter how many times someone tries to explain to me that it was, this will still read as a sick joke targeting her.
To be clear, I’m not really all that offended by a lot of things. To be honest, this costume doesn’t offend me. But then again, this really isn’t about me being offended or not being offended. It’s about the fact that I know what this costume represents, and I know that this costume is an embodiment of the transmisogyny directed towards trans women. Offended or not offended, my trans sisters are harmed by it, so I think it’s important that I call it out.
Like I said, conversations around Caitlyn’s transition do have an impact on trans people’s lives. Ultimately, I think that dressing up as Caitlyn to make fun of her transition is in poor taste – and if I’m being honest, is just a boring costume. It’s some white panties, a white corset, and a straw wig.
If you wanna get into my Halloween party, you’ve gotta take that transmisogyny out of your costume. And then maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a drink ticket.
Kat Blaque for Everyday Feminism, signing out!
To learn more about this topic, check out:
- Transmisogyny 101: What It Is and What Can We Do About It
- The Comedy You Love Uses Trans Women As Punchlines And We Need To Talk About It
Kat Blaque is a Contributing Vlogger for Everyday Feminism. She’s also a children’s illustrator and thrift store shopper. Check out Kat’s website and YouTube channel, and follow Kat on Twitter @. Watch her videos here!