by Racialicious special correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch.
I hate Halloween. Now that I’m a grown-up, it’s just lost its appeal. Especially when I look at what some adults do for Halloween.
- Slutty costumes (I just had to say it)
- Slutty “ethnic” costumes: Native American girl, geisha, etc.
1. Harem girl costumes
2. Belly dancer costumes
3. Genie costumes
4. Cleopatra costumes
5. Arab sheikh costumes
These costumes reinforce the eroticized and/or dangerous stereotypes associated with Muslim and Middle Eastern men and women. Plus, it’s doubly insulting because (usually) white people will “play dress-up” in these costumes, to supposedly “live like we do” for one night. The only missing detail is: none of the institutional oppression that we face as Muslims and Middle Easterners comes with the costume.
Just looking at the names of the costumes is informative enough: “Exotic Belly Dancer Costume” and “Sheik of Persia Arabian Costume” can tell you that these people have no idea about the culture they think they’re appropriating. (History lesson: Persia didn’t have sheikhs, they had shahs. And Persia and Arabia were two different places! AKH!)
Look at the women’s costumes: all are revealing and hypersexual. How many Middle Eastern women prance around in sheer pants and face veils? None. These costumes scream sexist Orientalism!
Don’t worry, guys! There are plenty of racist costumes for you, too! Take this “Arab Sheik” costume: of course he has a knife! All Middle Eastern men are dangerous, didn’t you know? You can even tell by his face: he’s pissed, and he’s going to take it out on some infidels!
And, if you’d like to pass on your racist Orientalist fantasies to your children, there are belly dancer costumes for little girls! That’s right! Make sure that your daughter learns that her self worth comes from how much her coin-bedazzled bra reveals and how pleasing her dancing is to a man! You can start as soon as she’s a toddler!
Ick. Enjoy your free candy!