Halloween is quickly creeping upon us, which means it’s time to be plagued with too many expensive problematic choices for what we wish to adopt as our alter-egos for the night. Aside from having the option to dress up as a the popular “Naughty Navajo” or “Taj My Hall” cultural appropriations, this year’s costume buying season has brought to life a new take on the concept of “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” Spirit Halloween, which is now housed temporarily where Best Buy used to operate its business in Westwood village for the Halloween season, is selling a Jane Doe DOA “Body Bag” costume. At first glance, the costume looks like nothing particularly striking or adhering to a strict theme. However, the hooded black slinky party dress’s message is further revealed in the persuasive description for the costume, which reads, from Spirit Halloween’s website:
He will will be dead on arrival when you show up in this drop dead sexy Jane Doe DOA bodybag adult women’s costume. The dress hugs your every curve and the zipper..well, how low does it go? You decide! You can zip it all the way up and close the hood, or zip it down when he goes down.
Halloween has been transformed into a night where women can choose to feel sexy in their costumes, but to make domestic violence sexy and to commodify it is inexcusable. Domestic violence continues to be a pressing problem against women in this country. According to rosefund.org, thirty percent of all murders of women are done so by their boyfriends or husbands, and over the past 5 years more women have been killed in and around their homes as a result of domestic violence than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The fact that this costume is even labeled as “Jane Doe” normalizes that any woman can be see fit to wear this Body Bag costume, and with domestic violence statistics as high as they are, any woman is likely to be in a body bag due to domestic violence. The message of this costume cannot be made any clearer, in that it perpetuates violence against women is still acceptable, and even desirable.
Zombie costumes, although portraying dead women, derive itself from popular tales of classical tales with no base truth from reality. Domestic violence, however, is all too real and common. Costumes like these reveal these acceptable attitudes towards women’s bodies, and these harmful attitudes should not be sold.