Uniforms are not costumes

Halloween is the one day of the year where you can tap into your innermost desires and be anything you want, without any limitations.

So when people use the holiday as a chance to dress up as sexy authority figures— cop, soldier, etc—I can’t help but question their judgement. Out of everything you could be, why choose to be a person working in a problematic profession that perpetuates violence and results in the loss of lives?

There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t show up to a party in a cop costume. If the roots of policemen in America as slave-catchers isn’t enough to defer your costume choice, I’d hope last year and the constant conversations of the injustices faced by Black people in America at the hands of police would make you think twice about the costume.

At this point, I have to assume you’re racist if your idea of a cute costume is to cosplay as an oppressive force in America responsible for over a thousand deaths in 2020 alone, according to Mapping Police Violence.

Beyond the ignorance of glorifying a violent profession, the reality is that sexualizing any authoritative uniform costume is problematic. You shouldn’t what to dress up as a sexy soldier when this year there has been over six thousand reports received by the Department of Defense about allegations of sexual assault that occurred during service.

By sexualizing uniforms of authority figures—whether it be cops or military—we’re mocking those victims who were forcefully sexualized and assaulted due to the unequal power dynamics. We are diminishing the systemic violence that both entities play in our society when sexualizing cops or military personnel. For those who have been victimized by these institutions, seeing a cop or military costume could be triggering.

George Floyd, who died because of an unjust cop, and Vanessa Guillen, the U.S. soldier who was murdered at her base, are the realities of what violence transpires from both systems. It’s not a costume, it’s a profession that inflicts real-life harm.

There are so many other harmless things you could be. The beauty of Halloween is the ability to get creative and pretend. If you need your costume to be rooted in reality, there’s an endless laundry list of unproblematic jobs to dress up as: an astronaut, a race-car driver, a doctor. Or be some magical creature: a fairy, an elf, a vampire. Be peanut butter and jelly with your best friend, be a cartoon, be an animal, an inanimate object.

Just please, don’t show up to the party as a cop or a soldier. It’s not cute.


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