UPDATE: The Caitlyn Jenner Halloween Costume Was Removed

Photo: Courtesy of Anytimecostumes.com.
Update #2: Social change platform DoSomething.org successfully campaigned Wholesale Halloween Costumes and Anytime Costumes to remove their masculine-presenting versions of the Caitlyn Jenner costume with their 1 Star for Hate: Transphobia campaign. Wrote Sam Arpino on DoSomething.org's official post about its win, “Celebrity costumes are often made to do one of two things: honor a celebrity or poke fun at them. […] Unlike the Jenner costume, these are generally regarded as hilarious, with only a few people finding them offensive. So, what was the difference between that and the Caitlyn costume? The answer is incredibly simple: women aren’t being killed for their body mods or their hair color. Women are being killed, however, for their trans identity."

Update #1:
And, of course, it only gets worse: Anytimcostumes.com is stocking a wig labeled “Unisex Miss-ter Olympic Wig” that's supposed to be a parody of Caitlyn Jenner's hair. Reads the description: “Be an advocate for the liberal agenda in this Unisex Miss-ter Olympic Wig! If you can’t identify as a male, throw on this brunet wig that offers a modern style and straight cut. Complete your costume by ordering a medal that shows what used to be of the infamous Bruce Jenner.”

Anytimecostumes.com recently posted an update on its Facebook page. It reads: Our “Call Me Caitlyn” costume has become a hot topic and we want to assure all our fans and customers that it is NOT and will NEVER be our intention to promote or condone discrimination. We carry the costume because we believe in the spirit of Halloween and costume parties and we are equal opportunity satirists — we believe these are the times when people can be irreverent and make a parody of everyone and anyone including themselves. That’s why we have all kinds of over-the-top costumes on buzzing themes, characters, and celebrities. If it’s a hot topic, we are going to have a costume about it. We are in the business of taking a fun approach to what’s relevant, and letting people put on a costume and be part of it. Thank you for having an open dialogue about it!”

This article was originally published at 10:30 a.m. on August 25, 2015.
Photo: Courtesy of Anytimecostumes.com.
Every Halloween, there always seems to be a need for articles that explain why you shouldn't dress up in a costume that mocks another marginalized culture, but the latest disrespectful example to come out deserves its own personal takedown. Anytimecostumes.com has created a Caitlyn Jenner costume, complete with a white top, white shorts, brown wig, and a sash emblazoned with “Call Me Caitlyn,” so that, as the caption suggests, “There will be no mistaking who you are dressed as this Halloween.”

Sadly, Anytimecostumes.com is not the only store hawking these outrageous getups; Costumesupercenter.com and Wholesalehalloween.com are currently selling the exact same style, and Spirit Halloween admitted to the Daily Mail that it, too, would be offering a Caitlyn Jenner costume this year (although it appears it's currently unavailable on the company's website). We reached out to Anytimecostumes.com, and their representative gave us the following comment: “Anytimecostumes.com is all about fun! Our Adult Humorous Costumes section has all kinds of over-the-top costumes on buzzing themes, characters, and celebrities. Our Call Me Caitlyn Unisex Adult Costume is a good example of our wide selection of irreverent costumes and is really no different from anything else we offer. After all, Halloween and costume parties are the times to get irreverent!” Because making fun of a group who is routinely harassed, assaulted, and murdered as a lesson that their "costume" and lifestyle is less-than is totally irreverent.

Out of the 330 costumes listed on the men’s “Humorous” page where the Jenner costume resides, only five, including Jenner, are named after real people, including two from Duck Dynasty and the duo from LMFAO. (Interestingly enough, the Jenner costume does not appear on their women’s “Humorous” page.) The fact that Anytimecostume.com’s spokesperson could play off the idea that dressing as a specific transgender woman was on par with the other “irreverent” costumes on its site is a clear indication that the company does not understand why this is upsetting.
We know that there will be those who feel our ire is unjustified and unnecessary, as it is “only a costume,” but during a time when the conversation about transgender rights is at an all-time high, and there are murders of transgender people reported every week, we don't really see the humor. Because the “joke” those buyers are suggesting is that “this man could never be a woman.” It's a disturbingly transmisogynistic statement that reduces the realities of transgender people to a tacky sight gag. These companies are suggesting that Jenner, and other people like her, are dealing with nothing more than a temporary “costume” that can be taken off at the end of the evening. “Sometimes every day can feel like Halloween for a transgender person who is forced by society to present as their biological gender,” explained Stephan Scrofani, a transgender man and research assistant. “A Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume is not only distasteful, but a backhanded slap in the face.”

But not everyone sees the costume as objectionable, or as a “irreverent” joke. Trisha Lombardo, Spirit Halloween's head of marketing and PR, explained to the Daily Mail that “Caitlyn Jenner has proven to be the most important real-life superhero of the year, and Spirit Halloween is proud to carry the costume that celebrates her.” Although Lombardo's interpretation seems supportive, we are doubtful that people purchasing this Jenner costume have any desire to celebrate her or even understands her struggle and pain, because the moment they purchase this garment they have reduced her down to a punchline.

If these companies were truly trying to celebrate Jenner, as Lombardo claims, or were attempting to start a dialogue on transgender equality, they could have made a statement explaining why they weren't going to reduce her to a cheap packaged costume. But instead, they're trying to make a quick buck on what they view as a passing trend. Jenner and other transgender people are not a trend, and they are certainly not a costume.

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