So Happy Halloween! - Or maybe not?
Do you say ‘happy halloween’??
I personally don’t celebrate halloween, never really have. I have several issues (the whole scaring people going too far, encouraging children to talk and take food from strangers 1 day a year, the reckless use of fireworks and fire etc – honestly the list could go on…!) Because I don’t ‘celebrate’ halloween I don’t often talk amuch about it, but the last few years has seen a rise in halloween celebrations, and the way that people celebrate, a way that has quite an impact on my life.
THE MAKEUP/ DRESS UP STAGE.
Over the last few years we have seen a rise in the use of prosthetics and makeup to create a ‘gory’ look for halloween costumes. By replicating burns scars using makeup, plastic, prosthetics etc, people are dressing up as people who have been injured, without really thinking about it. So many people have argued that it’s harmless, just a joke and part of having fun celebrating. I disagree.
Some examples are below , taken from instagram when I was scrollong through the halloween hashtag earlier today. (Warning, some people may find them hard to look at!)
This is me. Me everyday. This is how I look, and there is very little I can do to change this.
By applying makeup to create burns scars, people are replicating a traumatic injury that I have experienced, along with so many others, and are ‘glamourising’ it and using it to portray themselves as scary.
My scars are not funny. They are also not ‘creepy’ or ‘gory’ or ‘gruesome’. I am not a scary person, I am also not creepy, or ugly. But by people using scars as a dress up costume for halloween, they are stigmatising having a scar, and make it harder and harder for people like me to break down the barriers and prove to people that we are ‘normal’ and that we should not be viewed in such a negative light.
It would be incredibly frowned upon, and hopefully called out if someone dressed up as someone who exeperienced another injury, or as someone who had lost a leg or were in a wheelchair. So why not with scars?
This is all part of a greater issue, of scars being a massive stigma. People see someone with a scar and think negatively because that is what society teaches them to do. Next time you watch a film, look to see if there is anyone with a scar in the film. How are they portrayed? Are they the hero or the villain? Are they the normal everyday background character, or are they ‘sick’, ‘mentally unstable’ or ‘evil’. Think about that next time you watch TV or a film.
This is a stigma I have to fight against, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Halloween may be your day to dress up with scars, but that is my every day. The longer we allow people top dress up like this, and the more we normalise it, the harder it is for people with visible differences to live life normally.
So please, this halloween, think through your costume choice. Don’t let your costume be at the expense of other people’s lives.