The picture just above these words was taken almost three years ago. It’s amazing how time flies. Regardless of that, you’ll see that my blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter was incredibly excited to dress up as Mulan for Halloween. At the time, I thought that was a pretty cool choice.
You see, Frozen had come out just a little bit earlier in the year, and almost every little girl in the world wanted to be Queen Elsa for Halloween. There were even people making drinking games out of it (every time that Elsa rings your doorbell, drink!). But not my Reg-Reg. She wanted to be a tough, warrior princess. She wanted to be Mulan.
Technically, Mulan isn’t even a princess, although she is often included in the Disney Princess (TM) universe. She’s based on a real woman who was a war hero in ancient China. And although I didn’t put a black wig on Regan or draw exaggerated epicanthic folds on her face, I encouraged her to learn more about China and to be whomever/whatever she wanted to be.
Well, folks, that’s now called racism.
Disney is releasing its latest princess film, Moana, (a name sure to spawn a thousand pornographic titles) on November 23rd. In advance of this, Disney decided to make a Halloween costume that allowed children to look as though they had tattoos like the male lead, Maui.
This was apparently a very offensive thing to do.
In modern America, you’re not allowed to pretend to be somebody who’s a different race than you are. Nope, you have to “understand the experience of brown people” in order to wear a costume. How far will this go, I wonder? Will I need to understand the experience of brown people to wear my favorite basketball player’s jersey? What if my daughter becomes an X-Men fan? Is she allowed to be Storm for Halloween? Should brown people be allowed to wear this He-Man Costume without understanding the experience of white people? Or this Bane costume? Or this Bamm-Bamm costume?That’s so “whiteface.” What about green people? Or blue people? Aren’t we minimizing them?
Shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact that little kids think it would be cool to be a Pacific Islander? That Disney went to extraordinary lengths to try to ensure that the movie was culturally accurate? Nah, it’s easier to be outraged.
If Regan sees Moana and decides that she wants to be a Pacific Islander for Halloween, I’ll do two things:
- Be super pissed because I already spent a ton of money on her Captain Phasma costume
- Buy her a Moana costume—assuming that there are any left on the shelves
Which is more damaging—to allow the costumes and help some kids learn about a new culture, or to yank them and protect the feelings of the hyper-sensitive?