Although Halloween seems like it’s a million years away, it’s already time to start planning your costume.
Typically this spooky season is a time for sugar highs, dressing up as superstars and wandering streets scattered with crunchy, yellow leaves.
It’s also a time of controversy. Every year, a costume sparks cultural criticism.
Last year, it was the hazmat suits amidst the tidal wave of Ebola scares.
This year it’s the celebrity that’s stolen the spotlight of 2015, the person who held the gaze of millions at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards and stood up for a group of people who have been shrouded in the dark for a long time.
Caitlyn Jenner isn’t just a celebrity. She’s an emblem of equality, freedom and new perspectives.
Unfortunately, before her vocal outcry for transgender equality, these issues were strictly kept behind embarrassed, closed doors and familial aversion.
Afterward, the world heard numerous stories of courage in finding one’s own identity in a time of difficult transition.
Even so, while many idolize Jenner for bringing transgender issues to light, others obviously disagree and deem her actions a celebrity excuse for stardom.
Whether or not this is true, I became curious when news outlets and fans were outraged at the thought of dressing up as Caitlyn Jenner for Halloween.
On one hand, I recognize all well-known icons have costumes at Party City that are ready for the masses to wear.
People apply makeup in order to create a façade of someone famous.
The motive for wearing a certain costume varies by age. I find children usually dress up as those they venerate.
It’s innocent and possibly naïve, but who wouldn’t want to give a chocolate bar to a little girl dressed up as Beyoncé?
As the demographic rises, the motive becomes slightly sinister — sometimes it’s mocking the public figure on behalf of a political motive, other times it’s just a witty joke because it’s a costume.
There’s no concrete answer as to whether or not people should wear this costume, but in the end I think there’s more harm done than good.
This is my main question: Is this creating more boxes to squeeze into for those who are gender-nonconforming?
Not all transgender individuals identify as a Caitlyn Jenner prototype.
A cream corset and long brown locks shouldn’t be a concrete mold that symbolizes what it means to be transgender.
Although there are firefighter, nurse, police, even nun costumes, the Caitlyn Jenner costume seems to be on another level altogether. She’s a hero to many, yes, but she’s also a joke to many.
I wish we could recognize this costume as an idolization of a woman who has taken great strides to bettering a marginalized community of individuals with no voice.
However, in reality, I fear if I were to see someone wearing this costume on the street, my mind would immediately jump in the disturbing direction of crass mockery.
The idea of a costume is to put on a new identity, a mask. Why try to dress up as someone who has just chosen to take off the mask they’ve worn their entire life?
This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 27 August 2015.