Reminder from FEM to avoid cultural appropriation this Halloween

By Kelsey Jackson

Hey Intersect readers! Halloween has arrived, and I’m sure everyone is excited about their plans, who they will go out with, and most importantly, what they’re are going to dress up as. A big topic that comes to everyone’s mind when considering costumes, is cultural appropriation. We hear is tossed around, but what is cultural appropriation? And is your costume doing it? Wikipedia defines cultural appropriation as, “The adoption of use of elements of one culture by members of another culture.” Basically, taking from another culture and using it as your own, or dressing up as a stereotype is offensive and not okay!


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For example, in Native American tribal garments, every bead and pattern has its own meaning. These cultural signifiers are sacred and special to celebration and traditional rituals. With that in mind, it is reasonable and valid for native, and non-native, people to be offended and upset by this type of cultural insensitivity.

Any costume that perpetuates a stereotype towards a certain group of people, is cultural appropriation and should not be included in one’s Halloween costume. Some may argue that the portrayal of these groups is harmless and fun, but to people who are of that culture or ethnicity, it is offensive and detrimental to the cause of trying to erasing that stigma. It can also perpetuate violence towards that group.

Halloween is a holiday that is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. However, Halloween is not an excuse to be offensive and racist. Remember, if you have to ask if it is offensive, then it probably is. Happy Halloween!


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