The most visible trans woman in popular culture is being turned into an outfit
Halloween is a controversial holiday that invites some divisive dress-ups. Many seize the opportunity to shock, see outfits like a Boston Marathon victim, a “psycho” mental health patient or a paedophile as examples of "characters" that people like to play while they’re trick or treating.
This year, one of the biggest Halloween retailers in the US, Spirit Halloween, has confirmed the company will be selling Caitlyn Jenner costumes at its pop-up shops this year.
Spirit Halloween is defending the move by saying that the costume is pro-Caitlyn. “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,” Spirit Halloween PR and marketing head, Trisha Lombardo told Daily News.
However, news that the image of the most visible transgender celebrity in the world is being made into a mass produced joke costume for a traditionally grim and gory holiday has led to criticism.
TW for transmisogyny! I just saw an ad for a Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume and I hate this planet!!— RJ Edwards (@RJmakes) August 17, 2015
Am I the only one who's offended that Spirit Halloween will send a Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume this year?— Uncle Zac (@unclezacbrewer) August 23, 2015
If i see anyone in a "Caitlyn Jenner costume" this halloween.. my momma better hold me back..— steven (@deathofadisco) August 21, 2015
This hasn’t stopped the company going ahead with the release. “At Spirit Halloween, we create a wide range of costumes that are often based upon celebrities, public figures, heroes and superheroes. We feel that Caitlyn Jenner is all of the above and that she should be celebrated. The Caitlyn Jenner costume reflects just that,” Lombardo wrote in a statement to the Huffington Post.
Vincent Villano of the National Center for Transgender Equality strongly disagrees. “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,” he told Huffington Post.
There are already several existing campaigns to boycott the chain because of its Native American costumes on grounds of racism. Last year it sold “Slenderman” costumes, a reference to the character that inspired two teens to brutally murder a friend last year.
There are currently no details or images of the costume, but it will reportedly be available in the next four to six weeks.