In a too oft-repeated joke, Lindsay Lohan's character in "Mean Girls" observes, "Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."
No one's denying that Halloween costume options for women tend towards the minimalist fabric approach. However, one particular getup -- a Halloween costume of Ursula the Sea Witch -- is causing controversy not for being too sexy per se, but for not coming in a range of sizes.
Boing Boing picked up on this "Sassy Ursula" costume for sale on the website Disguise. The costume has all of those standard Ursula trademarks -- wild silver wig, jester-like black skirt to mime tentacles.
So what's the problem? It only comes in sizes 4-14. (Ursula, of course, is a physically sizeable character from Disney's "The Little Mermaid.")
Disney DOES partner with a company called Disguise Costumes to offer those ubiquitous, often inappropriate "sexy" versions of characters, and they do offer an Ursula costume - but Ursula can't be fat and sexy at the same time, so if you're an actual plus-size woman, better look elsewhere. The "Sassy Ursula" offered in their "Fabulous Flirts" collection comes in sizes S, M & L - with L equal to a US 12-14. (The company does have a small range of actual plus size "Disney Princess" costumes - you can be Fat Cinderella or Fat Belle if you want to, but you can't be Ursula. Better luck next time, fatties.)
It's outrageously exclusionary - it basically tells fat women that we're too fat to play a fat character; it also tells fat women that in order to be sexy, a character must be made skinny.
The comments section of Boing Boing then erupted into a debate about the costume. "If you don't fit in a standard prepackaged costume, which means these days on the smallish size, you're screwed," one person wrote. Another defended it: "I sincerely doubt that the owner of the South-East Asian sweatshop producing these costumes is carefully calibrating what messages his products are to send about body image and sexiness. I'm not even sure anyone there even has a clear idea of Ursula. They're just producing those sizes (and designs) the production of which are justified by demand forecasts (established at looking at past demand)."
Others, however, were just mad at the costume's quality itself: "If you hadn't told me it was supposed to be Ursula," one person writes, "I'd think it was a barmaid costume or something."
For what it's worth, Disguise does offer plus-size versions of costumes for Cinderella, Belle and Prince Charming.
Check out the offending costume below, and follow the comment thread more over at Boing Boing.
See the most questionable Halloween costumes ever! (Some NSFW)
"Sexy" Burt & Ernie Costumes
On second thought, maybe they <em>should</em> cut funding to PBS.
"Ring Toss" Costume
The hat that says "Winner gets a free ride" is pretty much the worst.
The Nip Slip
Is it still a "slip" if you do it on purpose?
At least he's promoting safe sex.
Female Inflatable Doll
Yeah... This could get awkward.
Now you can make people uncomfortable all night long.
"Anna Rexia" Costume
Because eating disorders are meant to be portrayed as sexy and hilarious, right?
Just A Penis
Word to the wise: make sure you take your penis costume for a trial run at the local library before hitting the sidewalk.
At least he knows what he is.
Facial expression not included.
"Anita Sedative" Costume
When you're wearing a sexy costume to a Halloween party, it's probably a good idea to stay away from sedatives and not bring your own restraints.
"Happy Morning" Costume
It's not surprising that this one's on clearance for $7.99.
We sort of feel like this guy wasn't looking for cats.
Don't worry, there are more dirty puns where that came from.
As long as there's no copay.
If you wear this, it's the closest you'll come to seeing one that night.
Why is the blacked-out tooth part of it?
"The Shocker" Costume
Make sure you include the hand gestures so you get the point across that you're a complete douche.
Heartbreak Clown Thong
Dressing up as a heartbroken clown has never been ... sexier?
Sexy American Indian
Pocahantas didn't even dress this sexy.
"Dept. Of Erections" Costume
For a con, he looks pretty pleased with himself.
No more beer for this guy.
Looking like sh*t has never been so cute.
Of all the costumes that scream "I have a penis!" this has got to be the most frightening.
Would you take a shot with this guy?
"Sperm Man" Costume
We don't even want to know what his superpowers are.
For those mischief-makers who enjoy holding plastic props to their bodies all night long.
A Knight To Remember
Just in case you wanted to dress up as "WTF" this Halloween.
The "Biggest Show On Earth"
Nothing says class like wearing a circus tent on your crotch. (Thanks for the tip, Karen!)
The commercial version is so much more disturbing than the homemade version.
Used Pad Man
Steady blood flow, meet steady alcohol flow.
Trash Can Baby
He has low self-esteem.
Now your roommates know why you've been practicing your birth face in the mirror for so long.
Wine in a box continues its tradition of being the least romantic thing ever.
Hung Like A Horse
These guys must really, really love each other.
In case anyone was wondering why Spencer's Gifts was sold out of mock penises this year.
We feel like this is going to end in some shaking accidents later in the night.
The Human Centipede
Halloween couldn't be complete this year without a good old-fashioned Human Centipede costume.
A feminist twist on the ubiquitous vagina-head costume worn by frat boys everywhere.
"Zombie Fetus" Costume
When you decide to pull off an extremely creepy costume, it's best to let your attitude match it. Yeah, it's a dead baby but she's cool with it.
Beer Dispensing Boobs
Let's see the St. Pauly Girl do this.
"Rub Me" Genie
More like Alad-<em>don't</em>.
We've seen homemade Hitler costumes before (which are also ridiculous) but this commercial version just blows us away.
Sometimes, knocking over every beer in front of you is a necessary sacrifice for the perfect sexual innuendo costume.
We're not quite sure what these are...but we have a feeling they're NSFW.