Let’s talk about elitism and Halloween costumes. You may have thought about this briefly before, the type where your affluent acquaintances can afford astonishingly accurate, carefully crafted costumes whilst you’re left with your low-price sheet and scissors for that abysmal, but affordable, ghost aesthetic. But I want to talk about a different type of Halloween costume elitism – the type where you can’t dress up as ‘X’ character because they’re too popular and/ or you’re not a “true” fan. This seems to be overwhelmingly prevalent in the cosplay universe particularly amongst female cosplayers, and has slowly creeped into Halloween costumes as the two have merged. Many people are visibly enraged at women who choose to emulate comic or ‘geek film’ characters. Because, like, they couldn’t possibly know enough about that character to justify wanting to dress up as them (hint: you don’t need to in the first place, it’s a costume, not an encyclopaedia).
This is prevalent for many costume-wearing women, but let’s talk about everyone’s favourite colourful delinquent, Harley Quinn. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months you’ll know that a tiny little indie movie named Suicide Squad came out, featuring some pretty bad-ass characters and resulting in some polarizing reviews. But what you may or may not have seen is everyone and their grandmother hopping on the ‘we-like-Harley-Quinn-but-hate-everyone-else-who-likes-her bandwagon’. Not familiar? A quick Google or Facebook search will give you a plethora of people bemoaning the fact that Harley Quinn is now popular (even though she has always been a fan favourite) and how sad they are that we will probably see a billion Harley Quinn costumes this Hallow’s Eve. Unless of course you’re also a bit of a creep, in which case there have also been plenty of people (predominantly dudes) who have been half-hating, half-cheering at the prospect of a gang of Harleys, because they might get to see some girls enjoying their night in Harley’s skimpy spangled shorts.
Aside from the gross objectification, why is it that we, as a species, have such an affinity for claiming we knew something before it was popular? Why do we criticise those who might have found the character through a more popular or mainstream means? We certainly don’t own the character – and even if we did it still wouldn’t be right – so why are we judging others based on our own pre-set standards for those who can ‘justly’ wear a costume? Do we apply the same to children at Halloween? “Oh no Barbara, I don’t think Maxine can go dressed as a zombie this year, we haven’t had her watch iZombie or all six seasons of The Walking Dead, so she’ll be clueless.”
Ultimately, you should do what makes you happy. Want to rock your dip-dye wig & home-made baseball bat? Then you go and knock them out, girl.