Finding the perfect Halloween costume can be more of a trick than a treat these days.
When choosing a costume, it’s important to please your child, but also to make sure no one is offended by the outfit.
Certain costumes that appropriate or make fun of another culture can be controversial. However, did you ever once think that dressing your child as a Disney princess could get you in trouble for racism?
Parent blogger Sachi Feris wrote a post on her blog Raising Race Conscious Children that makes the case to think twice before letting your child take on their favorite princess.
Feris explained that her 5-year-old daughter, who had been “shielded” from Disney princesses until recently, decided she wanted to be Elsa from “Frozen” this Halloween, and then Moana the following year.
The mom immediately had her reservations about both costumes. She wrote that she explained to her daughter:
Elsa is an imaginary or made-up character. Moana is based on real history and a real group of people…if we are going to dress up a real person, we have to make sure we are doing it in a way that is respectful. Otherwise, it is like we are making fun of someone else’s culture.
As a result, Feris attempted to come up with alternative Moana-esque options for her daughter to dress up as. She suggested that she go as “Moana’s sister,” or that she wear similar colors as Moana, to which the 5-year-old retorted:
“No! I want to be the real Moana!”
Feris responded to her daughter:
I don’t like the idea of dressing up using the same traditional clothing that someone from Moana’s culture may have worn because that feels like we are laughing at her culture by making it a costume. A child whose family is Polynesian could dress up using that type of traditional clothing but Moana’s culture is not our culture.
In the end, the 5-year-old decided to go as Mickey Mouse for Halloween 2018, a solution her mother was proud of.
For this year however, Feris had her reservations toward an Elsa costume as well. While her daughter is white like Elsa, Feris didn’t like the idea that the prevalence of white princesses enforced European beauty standards. She explained:
I feel like because Elsa is a White princess, and we see so many White princesses, her character sends the message that you have to be a certain way to be “beautiful” or to be a “princess”…that you have to have White skin, long, blonde hair, and blue eyes. And I don’t like that message.
While the socially conscious mother brings up some valid points, commenters believe she is being too strict with her 5-year-old. One commenter wrote:
The problem I see here is you (as a parent) are perpetuating the ideals of racism. Children don’t see Moana as anything different (fundamentally) from themselves. They see a young strong role model and that is what they want to (and should) emulate. By bringing “cultural appropriation” concerns into the conversation you are injecting the very thing you seek to eliminate. In addition, this seems to be a one way standard (unless you all plan on condemning any non white Snow White, Cinderella, or Belle you see).
Others took to Twitter:
Sorry, but if your little one likes #Moana (s)he deserves to go out for Halloween without being called a racist
— Grant Gibson (@Danger_Ducky) October 24, 2017
— Covino & Rich (@CovinoandRich) October 25, 2017
The Daily Mail reported that a writer for the National Review wrote:
Do you have to be Transylvanian to dress up as Dracula? Do you have to be Egyptian to be The Mummy? Do you have to be dead to be a ghost?
So what do you think? Are Disney princesses fair game for Halloween?