It’s time for that last-minute Halloween costume shopping craze! There have been many truly terrible Halloween costume trends that have caused controversies in recent years- from rampant cultural appropriation to overly-sexualized costumes for young girls.
As this year’s Halloween festivities get underway, there’s one costume trend that we’re particularly concerned about here at MY SISTER... the pimp costume. “Pimp and Hoe” parties are nothing new, and it’s pretty normal to see at least a few pimp costumes at Halloween gatherings. Amazon.com even carries a child-sized pimp costume! It might seem harmless or funny to dress up as a pimp, but here are three reasons why you shouldn’t do it:
1. It’s normalizing sexual violence.
Pimps and traffickers are contributors to the raping, torture and oppression of thousands of women. We hardly figure that should be praised, emulated, or glorified in any way. Yet within American culture, the idea of the “pimp” is played up for laughs and normalized. We use catch phrases like “pimp my ride” and listen to popular music that glorifies pimping. There are even “how to” guides and books on “how to be a pimp” available for purchase online! As long as we continue to normalize or even glorify sexual violence in our culture through words and actions, we’ll be promoting the idea that objectifying and abusing women, girls and all victims of trafficking is okay and accepted.
2. It promotes an unrealistic view of pimps and traffickers.Most pimp costumes are meant to be funny or even lovable. Cheetah print suits, big gold chains, feathered hats and silly canes are all elements of these costumes. That’s not what pimps and traffickers look like; they look a lot more like your college roommate or next door neighbor or the cute guy at the bus stop. When we promote this caricaturized idea of what a pimp looks like, we create the misconception that pimps are easily recognizable.
3. It is re-traumatizing to survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.
Imagine being a victim of domestic abuse, and attending a party where someone came dressed as a “wife beater” . How would that make you feel? In the same way, imagine what a survivor of sexual abuse would feel if they had to deal with a “pimp” at the Halloween party they chose to attend. Be sensitive to the experiences and emotions of others, and just say no to the offensive outfit.
Have fun this Halloween, be safe, and fight back against sexual exploitation with your costume choices!