Nothing Good Can Come Out of a Caitlyn Jenner Halloween Costume
It was one of those moments when I seriously needed to find my Nancy Kerrigan “Whyyyyyy?” GIF filed away on my computer: Why on earth would one of those pop-up Halloween stores even think about selling a Caitlyn Jenner costume?
Yes, it’s true: Spirit Halloween, one of those tacky shops that open in vacant big-box store locations, announced that they are going to carry a Caitlyn Jenner costume this season. The company’s PR and marketing lead told the NY Daily News, “Caitlyn Jenner has proven to be the most important real-life superhero of the year, and Spirit Halloween is proud to carry the costume that celebrates her.”
That might be sweet and all, but it’s downright degrading and sort of disgusting. It also perpetuates an ongoing dangerous narrative that trans people are nothing more than “things” to be objectified. Why would Spirit Halloween even want to “go there” by offering this type of product?
The design of the costume hasn’t even been released, but people are already calling it transphobic, and I have to agree: Vincent Villano of the National Center for Transgender Equality said, “There’s no tasteful way to ‘celebrate’ Caitlyn Jenner or respect transgender people this way on the one night of the year when people use their most twisted imaginations to pretend to be villains and monsters.”
I know the other side of the argument is going to be that those who are offended by the costume need to “lighten up,” and that it is all in “good fun.” But, what exactly is one’s intention in wearing a Caitlyn Jenner costume? I don’t think, to use the Spirit Halloween PR’s words, that the costume wearer will be “celebrating” Jenner by donning what I’m sure is going to be an absolutely awful and offensive replica of the one-piece bodysuit made famous via the notorious Vanity Fair cover. They’ll be making fun of her and sending a pretty clear message to others: that trans folks are worth mocking.
Many people are sick and tired of the Jenner media circus, and I can totally see why. On one hand, Jenner is a public figure who has put herself in the spotlight, and the weekly Kardashian-peppered reality show doesn’t seem to be really helping with Jenner overload. However, all that removed, we’re also dealing with a far larger problem, a major crisis of trans women being killed in this country. No matter how you cut it, marketing what is sure to be a cheaply-made costume that will we worn to belittle a trans woman is just wrong and, to be frank, eerie.
But, alas, people will buy it, which demonstrates something that is far scarier than any haunted house or Halloween ghost: ignorance.