We can probably all agree that Halloween is the one time of year that people get a pass to throw aside normal social constraints and let out their inner angel, slut, or monster. Usually this is a harmless and liberating exercise in humor, but in the case of The Gloss writer Candace Bryan, an attempt at wit only displayed her inner idiot in an unfortunate trip down Halloween memory lane.
On the blog The Gloss, Bryan writes about her experience as dressing up as Holocaust victim Anne Frank in a post entitled, "My Own Slut-O-Ween Story: Sexy Anne Frank." Really, you needn't read any further to be incensed by the story. The headline is enough -- pairing the word "slut" with the memory of Anne Frank, who was 16 when she died at the hands of her Nazi captors, is not only grossly culturally insensitive, but also outrageously anti-feminist.
Bryan goes on to describe her "costume":
"That Saturday, bobby pin back where it belonged, yellow star proudly pinned to my sensible blouse, wool skirt hemmed to indecency, I was quite controversial (a surprisingly small group of people understood the secret annex joke).
But you know what? I had no qualms about my costume. In her diary, we see Anne explore her sexuality with confidence, and I am equally confident that had she been given the opportunity to live her life to the fullest, she would have been a sexy, sexy lady."
There is no amount of reasoning that can make this okay -- and it doesn't matter that Bryan is Jewish -- in fact, the detail makes the story all the more absurd and depressing. Dressing up like a Holocaust victim for the sake of laughs is not only unfunny, but shows an utter lack of self-awareness, disrespect for the dead, and a flippant attitude towards tragedy.
Anne Frank is not an entertainer who courted attention. She was a victim of a heinous crime against humanity who certainly did not envision while she suffered in a concentration camp that one day a tone-deaf girl, a Jew no less, would mock her memory by playing dress-up for her own sick amusement. Would anyone think it was cute or kitsch to dress up like a flame-engulfed 9/11 victim? Or a famine-stricken Somalian?
Making light of someone's suffering for the sake of a cheap laugh is not okay, and crosses a line of taste that is worthy of condemnation. If you want to dress like a monster this Halloween, just go as Candace Bryan.