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Students contest suitable costume ideas

THERESA SIVER | Wednesday, October 30, 2013

 

The Gender and Women’s Studies program at Saint Mary’s College and the Gender Studies program at Notre Dame came together Monday to present “What Does Your Halloween Costume Say About You?,” an event featuring monologues and skits designed to spark conversations about the cultural insensitivity of many popular costumes. 

Payton Moore, a junior at Saint Mary’s, opened the night with a skit showing the prevalence of culturally offensive costumes and the lack of realization that some costumes are inappropriate. 

“It’s like if I accidentally punched Nikki in the face, and said ‘Oh sorry, but come on you’re just being too sensitive. It isn’t like I meant to punch you in the face.’ Fact of the matter is I still punched her in the face causing harm which is foul,” Moore said. 

She said she used this example to impress the point that just because there may be no malintent behind a costume, there can still be offense. 

Angela Bird, a Notre Dame sophomore, followed Moore’s skit with an anecdote in hopes of instilling a similar message. Bird recounted her experience with a “Native Americans and Hoes” themed party and the effect of her standing up against the politically incorrect theme. 

“I posted a picture of the ‘It’s not a costume, it’s a culture’ poster on the event wall. The picture was quickly taken down and I received a message from the hosts soon after,” Bird said. 

The hosts told Bird that no one was hurt by politically incorrect theme parties and she was wasting her time by interfering because the party was ironic. 

“Satire is supposed to move upwards and hit the powerful, not those who are already vulnerable,” Bird said. 

Jamie Wagman, associate professor of history and gender and women’s studies at Saint Mary’s, said she hopes this event would inspire more events centered around open discussion. 

“I see this as a starting point … we have many people committed to keeping the conversation alive, but we need students to get involved,” Wagman said. 

Abby Palko, director of undergraduate studies in the gender studies program at Notre Dame, expressed similar hopes. 

“I want students to realize they have a voice and can be heard,” Palko said. “We need to keep the dialogue going between Saint Mary’s and Notre