The Annual Halloween Scandal

Halloween cometh and Halloween leaveth; and once again we are left with scandalous photos revealing shocking costumes from our beloved celebrities. This year, Hilary Duff and Chris Hemsworth have taken the spotlight, causing uproar regarding their inappropriate costumes. Let’s have a look.

Chris Hemsworth (see if you can spot his beautiful face in the photo):

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Chris Hemsworth New Year Party

Now, this photo is not from Halloween 2016 but actually from a “Lone Ranger” themed New Year’s Eve party the star threw last year. However, it’s pertinent to the discussion as Hemsworth’s apology for his costume only came in just last week to show his support for Native Americans in the Standing Rock pipeline dispute. Earlier in 2016, Hemsworth’s photo offended the internet as it was deemed a racist portrayal of Native American culture. That being said, Johnny Depp was the one to play Tonto in the film, shouldn’t we also call him a racist? Pocahontas – the Disney film – is a horribly inaccurate portrayal of an actually tragic story of a young Native American girl. RACIST? Why is it okay to enjoy the film but also give celebrities grief for a themed party based on that very film?

In my personal opinion, it is unfair that our society is offended by practically every portrayal of a foreign culture. The world is one big melting pot and if we can’t share our culture – especially our cultural dress – then how can we all integrate? Take it from a foreigner who grew up in Japan. The Japanese loved that we wore kimonos and even taught us traditional Japanese tea ceremony at our international high school. Culture is something we need to share rather than demonize each other over “political correctness” and cultural appropriation. How incredibly awkward would it be if Germany or even us, via the Internet, got offended by non-Germans wearing lederhosen at Oktoberfest?

However, cultural misappropriation is entirely different story. Our idea of what is culturally appropriate stems from the ideals projected by our political age and current events. Take Hilary Duff’s 2016 Native American – Pilgrim couple’s costume:

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 28: Hilary Duff (R) and Jason Walsh attend the Casamigos Halloween Party at a private residence on October 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Casamigos Tequila)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – OCTOBER 28: Hilary Duff (R) and Jason Walsh attend the Casamigos Halloween Party at a private residence on October 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Casamigos Tequila)

The “sexy” pilgrim paired with the Native American costume would more likely cause offense considering the political implications and current events – the mounting tension developing over the Dakota pipeline. Their choice was unseemly and they were rightfully called out on it.

Another extreme, yet hypothetical example of offensive representation would be if Donald Trump were to wear a Sombrero to a rally to muster Latino support, after months of calling Mexicans rapists, murderers and drug dealers.

My point is that it’s important to understand the difference between being politically correct and being easily offended. There’s always going to be someone judging and creating hysteria over the actions of some celebrity. And I agree that we shouldn’t stand for the mocking of other cultures. However, I believe that as a society, we tend to create hype and hysteria for everything and nothing. We segregate cultures and call any crossovers inappropriate. Adopting the costume of another culture for Halloween is not something we should shame others for – but then again we seem to just like controversy.

By Prema Chablani.