Speechless, Part 2

I don’t even have fucking words for this costume from Halloweenstreet.com:


But isn’t that just your garden-variety slutty skeleton outfit? you’re asking. I mean, offensive on plenty of levels, sure, but hardly anything unusual?

Oh no, my friends. That? Is “SEXY ANNA REXIA.”

I am just fucking done with the world today, seriously.

Via Broadsheet and Arkades.

115 thoughts on “Speechless, Part 2”

  1. You know, without the name, I wouldn’t have had such a problem with it. Halloween, bones, wev. Like Christopher Guest’s t-shirt in Spinal Tap which his character said was “an exact replica of my inner structure.”

    But the name. The NAME. I am just waiting for the parent of an anorexic teenager to sue them into the next galaxy!

  2. Holy shit. And it has a name tag in case you missed the symbolism of the tape measure. That’s charming. This is one of the most offhandedly offensive things I’ve ever seen.

    Do you think it comes in plus sizes?

    (Sorry. Using humor to deal with the howling despair.)

  3. I… wow.

    I want to know how this costume was thought up, proposed, and deemed a good idea. Is the world REALLY this messed up?

  4. I’d like to point out to the model that I can’t see her “sexy” ribs sticking out of her chest with those giganto plastic double-Ds she’s sporting there.

    I need a shower.

  5. As long as we’re all feeling dirty already, I went to the Salon letters on this and one guy thinks the model is really “hawt” for a “chubby woman.”

    I shit you not.

  6. What’s so sexy about heart failure? Or osteoporosis, or infertility, severe depression or any of the other serious consequences of anorexia? That is, if you don’t die of the disease first.

    You don’t see people like this glamorizing bulimia with a face mask attached to a toilet bowl, do you? Oh, that’s right. Because bulimics are usually average weight or overweight. Anorectics are thin. And that’s what matters.

  7. Oh God, never, ever read Broadsheet comments. It’s all mysoginist and anti-fat trolls. It just makes you despair for humanity, honestly.

  8. Wow, those are some more comments I should have avoided. I am sickened.

    Just keep reminding yourself: there’s only a few of them, they’re self-selecting, and they’re deliberately trying to be as awful as possible.

  9. Is the world REALLY this messed up?

    Yes. Yes it is.

    as a matter of fact, it does come in “Plus” sizes

    Head-desk doesn’t begin to describe what I’m doing to myself right now, but it really hurts.

  10. Come join us, Kate.
    We’ve been saving a seat in the clock tower for you.
    We forgot the high-powered rifle, but we DO have a bushel of rancid onions.

  11. The world seriously did this sickening lurchy vertigo thing when I saw this entry. Now I feel queasy.

    Perhaps they sell as accessories stick-on lanugo and little bruise patches for over your hipbones and a wig of brittle, falling-out hair. But as I typed that out I realized that even if I could think of worse or more shocking examples of how anorexia ravages your body, the world is a horrible place and people would still either be like “eh, whatever” or “good, fatties need to lose weight however they can” or “heh, funny.”

    I bet they sell the plus sizes (inasmuch as they put any thought into it at all) because they think fat women want to make fun of other thinner women who are killing themselves with eating disorders. I hope that’s not true.

  12. I think Ben proposes that we flee to high ground and lob rotten vegetables indiscriminately.

    I’m inclined to think he’s right.

  13. Sure! Meanwhile, I’ll bring rotten vegetables to sneak into the rotten vegetables, on the assumption that some fellows will join us.

  14. Sure! Meanwhile, I’ll bring rotten vegetables to sneak into the rotten vegetables, on the assumption that some fellows will join us.


  15. Oh dear Lord….

    That’s beyond sick. And as for the psycho who called the model “chubby”….WHAT!!!!?

  16. Here’s what the psycho said exactly:

    I like the fact that she’s kind of chubby too. I usually like women a little thinner, a little younger.

    In other words, he likes children.

  17. According to the site, they have it in large (10-14), not XL/Plus (14-16).
    And, the sad thing is, they are sold out in every size they do offer.
    Ugh. What next? Bulimia Betty with a vomit bucket? Sheesh.

    (Hey, who snuck vegetables into my vegetables??)

  18. Lobbing vegetables? Now the world will know that we fatties DO occassionally handle produce … even if it’s only to throw it at people instead of eating it the way none of us ever do.

    But seriously folks … is this the thing that will finally shake the world up about how batshit crazy it’s gotten about “the fat”? Could someone whose writing skills are better than mine pretty please write an op-ed piece for the New York Times, using this as the starting point? Because if this can’t get mainstream people to start realizing that we’ve allowed the hatred of fat to reach an insane level, I don’t know what will.

  19. Oh. My. God. I mean OH MY GOD!!!!!! WTF? Also, “chubby”?? Holy crap on a stick. I’m not only speechless, I’m full of cuss words instead of actual speech. I am speechless and cuss-full.

  20. is this the thing that will finally shake the world up about how batshit crazy it’s gotten about “the fat”?

    If the state-sponsored abduction of fat children doesn’t do it, I doubt this will. It will probably just result in more sales for Halloweenstreet.

  21. Someone at least please tell me it’s stupid men buying this shit for their girlfriends, and that women aren’t choosing this costume for themselves in such great numbers as to make them sell out.

  22. Um. I really, really hate to disagree with you, because I’m not half as clever or eloquent, but-
    Isn’t this… satire? And, even if it wasn’t, doesn’t anorexia being portrayed as deadly point in a vaguely right direction, albeit in a morbid way? A beauty queen sash and a bucket of vomit, for example, would be sending very much a different message.

    I mean, it’s halloween, it’s supposed to be dark and morbid, right? People regularly dress as madmen, corpses, serial killers and convicts, all of which are very, very serious conditions, too. I’m serious. They’re all human and deserve respect and piety, but hardly anyone would object to them being portraied in such an over-the-top, satirical way, on halloween.

    Now is when your superiour intellect descends and burns me to ashes.

  23. Em, is it satire when the woman modelling is not only very thin, but also has clearly modified herself in a bid to appeal to the masses and hits some of the main “ideals” we’re told all women should strive for (blond, thin, large breasts, tiny dress)? Isn’t the point of satire to poke fun at something by being subversive, not supportive?

    I mean those questions genuinely. Can it be satire when you take such things into account?

    And, honestly, even if it *were* satire, it’s appallingly bad taste. It seems to be making a mockery out of anorexia, which is a mental disorder and should be treated with due decency and empathy, not scorn or belittlement through questionable “humour”.

  24. Now is when your superiour intellect descends and burns me to ashes.

    Now is when you’re a perfect example of “polite disagreement from charming and delightful people” vs “bullying,” as per the comments policy. :)

    I see your point, and I think that’s what Broadsheet was saying too. Here are the sticking points for me:

    – “Sexy” Anna Rexia. I can’t get over that name. I really can’t.
    – The “sexy” genre of costumes is almost never about scariness or morbidity. The low neck and high hemline ally it with Sexy Nurse and Sexy Construction Worker costumes, not with really gory vampires and zombies. If someone was going as, like, Famine, and they had a really scary horror movie style bony body makeup thing going? That might be kinda cool. This is like… Sexy Clown, Sexy Bee, Sexy Anorexic.
    – People don’t generally dress as sufferers of a disease, at least not a disease that touches real people’s lives. It’s not the sufferers who are scary, so if you want to invoke morbidness and fear you’d have to go as (say) “Cancer” and not “a cancer patient.” I guess that she’s dressing as “anorexia” and not as “an anorexic,” but I think the difference is being elided here… again, if it were more stylized and scary I might feel differently.

  25. Em, if you look at the other costumes on that site, they’re not dark and morbid. They’re sexy and fun (or, are supposed to be). Which makes me think this one is supposed to be as well.

  26. IMHO, it seems that when folks satirize (sp?) issues like this…and folks don’t GET that it’s satirical (i.e., the comments left on the original website) we slowly decend into acceptance of the disease. I mean, if we laugh at it, it’s okay, right? Of course not.

    But I think the main issue is that there is a possibility those who are suffering from the disease get the idea that continuing that lifestyle is okay because, “hey! Folks want to dress up like me!” Others who have beat the disease could easily be offended that such a disorder can be trivialized into some trampy costume.

    Eh. But that’s just how I see it.

  27. When the costume description starts with “You can’t be too rich or too thin!” it doesn’t come off as satire. Also, even if it were, it’s very creul to people who suffer from anorexia.

  28. I actually lodged a complaint about this. Because holy mother of God, this is the single most tacky thing I’ve ever seen.

    And that’s just the description of the costume.

    “You can never be too rich or too thin!” or whatever it was. Apple pulled their ad campaign for the new iMac because it carried the slogan, “You can’t be too thin. Or too powerful.” Think we can get The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness to pull this crap off the e-shelves?

  29. I lodged a complaint, too Tracy. Doubtful if it goes anywhere, though.

    And Em: I’d prefer a psychological disease which damn near killed me and left me with a heart disorder as a parting gift not be exploited in the name of satire or perverse comedy.

  30. Wow. At first I thought it was kind of a sexy goth thing (a la Emily the Strange – I have a cute cami and boyshort set with bones screened on them from there) but the name… there are no words. My jaw is still hanging open. I didn’t even notice that the yellow thing was a tape measure until I started reading the comments. It’s like my brain went into shock.

    Annnnnnd, in the past five minutes, the costume was taken down. I get no search results for the name on the site anymore either.

  31. Wow, so many answers. I see all of your points. But I’m not quite burnt down yet. ;)

    Becky, I admit I hadn’t noticed that. Where I’m from, we hardly have any Halloween at all, I mostly know it from TV, and I was supposing that it was more about being spooky or spooky-sexy, not funny-sexy like this.
    Still, sexy or not, the costume is showing a skeleton! How is that supposed to give anyone the idea that anorexia is not a serious condition?

    I’d just wish everyone would take a deep breath and ask themselves whether what is outraging them is truly the inherent immorality of this constume, or maybe the fact that it hits so close to home.

    Maybe this comes across as useless nitpicking, but double standards just irk me, no matter where. If I was to be outraged at this costume, I’d have to be at all the others too. I mean, is portraying a casualty as “spooky”, or having a serious mental disorder as “funny” really that much less bad taste? Do we always need the human interest angle of personally knowing someone who’s been in the condition, to respect it? We shouldn’t be complaining when someone with no fat friends dresses up in a fat suit on halloween to mock us, then.

  32. Em, can you really not see how a costume like this trivialises anorexia? Really? As for the double standard, what if it was a “Sexy breast cancer!” costume? Would you really not find that offensive? Would you tell people who had suffered from breast cancer or who had relatives who had died of it that they shouldn’t be offended either because that would be a double standard?

  33. I mean, is portraying a casualty as “spooky”, or having a serious mental disorder as “funny” really that much less bad taste?


    Perhaps if anorexia had ever hit “close to home” to you, you’d understand why people like me are so deeply offended by the glamourization of the most deadly of all psychological diseases.

  34. I wouldn’t belive it if I hadn’t seen it. Un-freaking-belivable. Apperantly the person who thought of this costume, has to be the world’s biggest idiot. It’s like I say, the stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me.

  35. Em, I have a really hard time understanding how that costume is NOT offensive? It implies that anorexia is “sexy.” Zombie outfits usually don’t portray the undead as sexy. Mental patient outfits (which I do find in pretty bad taste) don’t portray mental illness as sexy. This costume is flat-out calling anorexia sexy, it’s right there in the title “Sexy Anna Rexia”! Encouraging their buyers to “show off their bones.”

    Given that young girls embrace anorexia so that they can be what they perceive as conventionally beautiful, this costume validates that attitude completely.

    It’s irresponsible. It’s gross. And it’s a bad sign of the times we’re living in that they could even get away with doing this at all.

    Just to counter the next argument of “But what about all the other taseless Haloween costumes?” Ask yourself if you’d be comfortable with your neighbor dressing up as a Nazi or KKK? If the answer is no (and I sure hope it is!), then my point is that just because it’s Haloween, it doesn’t mean anything goes.

  36. Becky, I’m not saying this costume is a good thing. I’m just saying, do something about the hundred thousands of tasteless, hurtful costumes out there that people are already wearing, then come back and be assured of my assistance in your case against this one single hurtful costume.

    And YES, for god’s sake, schizophrenia, accidents, murders and whatnot are no less serious and horrible than anorexia or breast cancer! The only reason there’s no breast cancer costume out there already is that no one has found a way to make it look glamorous yet!

    Do you really need a human interest story to understand me? I’ve been working in forensic medicine for 4 years, and murder or accident victims ARE NOT any more funny, or less deserving of respect, than anorexic girls or breast cancer! My half-sister was almost killed, and subsequently almost totally destroyed, from a very serious mental condition called schizophrenia, and who’s out there being enraged at all the people dressing up as “madmen”, “mad scientists”, “maniacs” and whatnot?

  37. Is it just my brain mercifully making me unable to see it, or has the site actually pulled down the costume? I’m not finding it.

    I hope they removed it. Nauseating.

  38. Amanda, they pulled it. I guess online activism works sometimes!

    Em, just because there are other offensive costumes in the world doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to be offended by this one! If you want to start a movement to get rid of costumes that you feel trivialise other forms of mental illness, you are free to do so. And if you want the support of people here, you can ask for it and may get it. But the whole argument of: “You’re not allowed to work on this problem until you have solved all of the other millions of problems in this world” is not going to fly with me.

  39. To Em:

    Yeah, I know. The only “support” I could find for calling Anorexia the most deadly was on wishipedia. But, even if the death rate of schizophrenia is higher (I have no idea if it is), can’t we all just agree bad is bad? Anorexia is serious business; who cares about where it falls in the “ratings.”

  40. Rose, you’re right of course, as everyone else is.

    I’m being needlessly polemic about something that’s deeply emotional for the people here. I’m sorry. And I’m also being ridiculous, picking fights about costumes for a holiday we don’t even have in my country. I’ve certainly seen lots of sexy mental patients and sexy zombies online, but maybe I’m not understanding because Halloween doesn’t mean to me what it means to you.

    It just gets to me. Casualties, madmen and serial killers are what hits close to home to me! Why don’t they count for you? We’ve heard bulimia, Nazis, KKK and breast cancer. Why is that supposed to be more shocking than murder or insanity? Why does my ill half-sister doesn’t deserve the attention, why don’t the two twenty-year old girls who were stabbed before the eyes of their own children, or the father of two who’s head was smashed in a bus accident?

    I’m almost crying right now, I’m so angry. I know I shouldn’t be, I’m sorry.

  41. Just for the record…

    The British Journal of Psychiatry 173: 11-53 (1998)
    Excess mortality of mental disorder
    EC Harris and B Barraclough
    RESULTS: Highest risks of premature death, from both natural and unnatural causes, are for substance abuse and eating disorders. Risk of death from unnatural causes is especially high for the functional disorders, particularly schizophrenia and major depression. Deaths from natural causes are markedly increased for organic mental disorders, mental retardation and epilepsy. CONCLUSION: All mental disorders have an increased risk of premature death. (source

  42. Becky, you’re right of course, I was just being polemic!
    All I’m aksing for is for people, including myself, to sometimes step back and question themselves. We all tend to be rightfully enraged about things we personally relate to, and ignore everything else. It’s never a bad thing to think outside the box. Especially here in fat acceptance, where we expect the very same thing from others all the time.
    Seeing this post just really set me off, which you might understand in the light of my last comment.

    For the love of god, I swear I wasn’t trying to demean anyone suffering from eating disorders, or belittle their relevance!! I hope it didn’t come across that way, and if it did, I apologize!

  43. Em, nobody is saying those illnesses don’t “count”. We’re not telling you you’re not allowed to be outraged by those things…. you were the one trying to tell us we’re not allowed to be outraged by the anorexic costume. Keep in mind, this is a fat acceptance website. We’re mostly going to discuss fat issues here. There may be people here who are also advocates for the mentally ill, but in this particular space, fat issues are going to take precedence over those issues.

  44. Oops, Em, I hadn’t seen your last comment when I posted my last one! Sorry! And you have made me stop and think about costumes depicting “mental patients” and “axe murderers” and what not. You definately have a point about them I never realised before.

  45. I think another layer of this is that anorexia is so often trivialized already as mere vanity or female hysteria. This seems to reiterate the idea that anorexia is amusing or, more accurately, that anorectics are funny–those hilarious and irrational bags of bones. But I actually don’t think the intent of this is to imply that anorectics are sexy, quite the opposite and that the undesirability of their “skin and bones” makes their bodies subject to ridicule. Hence the visual joke of having a woman with enormous breasts who does not look emaciated wearing the costume. It is meant to be funny–but at the expense of the anorectic. The joke’s on them–they’re starving themselves to death and we still don’t want to sleep with them. I find it offensive precisely because it reinforces the fine line women walk in having “acceptable” bodies and reinforces stereotypes about a very serious illness that is already stigmatized.

  46. Yeah, it’s really the “sexy” part that sticks in my craw. I mean, Halloween is about death and gore and blood; it’s All Hallows Eve, or the night before Samhain, or Day of the Dead as some cultures call it. So yeah, people run around with nooses around their necks, teeth blacked out, fake blood and warts and wounds and wev, they have for centuries.

    But “Sexy Anna Rexia”? Is just wrong. It’s NOT sexy. They’re not selling “sexy ghoul with noose around the neck,” after all, are they?

  47. Em, of course those victims of brutality and illness deserve respect, dignity, and attention, and of course they shouldn’t be trivialized. I don’t see how calling attention to the gross sexism and fatphobia of the Anna Rexia costume is trivializing the other issues, though; this is a fat acceptance blog, so we post about issues relevant to fat and body image. It’s not that we don’t care about other things!

    I’m really sorry this conversation has upset you, and I’m sorry that your half-sister is so ill and vulnerable. We really value your comments here.

  48. *crawls out for a moment* Thanks for your nice comments, guys. I really don’t deserve them.

    Sweetmachine, maybe I can explain. The discussion got completely out of hand. I actually believe that the whole outrage here is mostly about the indeed shocking an disgusting nature of the costume, but also influenced by their personal experiences, which I was trying to point out.

    I’m not a native English speaker and it’s very hard for me to find the right words to explain what makes me so angry when I see people valuing their personal experiences so highly. It means in the end, the weakest group, has the smallest lobby. Do you know what I mean? For example, you might agree that anorexia has indeed an unproportionally loud voice in our public discourse, compared to, for example, schizophrenia, fat acceptance, or world hunger, which concern a much greater number of people, in a just as serious way.

    Of course it’s natural, and right, to care more about things that happen to ourselves and our loved ones, but fair, it isn’t. That always gets to me.

  49. You know, this whole conversation has reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite movies, “Ever After”. The prince said and I quote, “I used to think that if I cared about one thing, I would have to care about all things and I would go stark raving mad.” I think that’s the problem we’re having. I think perhaps that we suffer from this idea that we cannot be enraged about one injustice without being enraged about all of them, and if we do that we’ll go stark raving mad. It’s not always easy to step out of our own self-imposed thought box and see things the way others do. Be it anorexia, breast cancer, mental illness, accident/murder victims or fat acceptance. Sometimes we have to look outside what we’re used to, but sometimes other’s need to understand that some of us have a calling for one particular matter.

  50. Ladies and gentlemen, Logan’s Run has arrived a couple of centuries early.

    Anyone else want to skip out with me before the Sandman gets us?

    ‘Cause I believe the clock’s ticking.

  51. About halloween, and costumes that fit, and costumes that are just lame, or worse…

    I think the “axe murderer” idea is about the potential of being the victim in such a case, in the same way as being a victim of other random forces. It is a way to identify with victims, and acknowledge that, ultimately, we are all victims of death.

    The Day of the Dead is very much are remembering our vulnerability and the inevitability of death, so such potentially dangerous things as hungry zombies or monsters or land sharks fit. They take the place of those forces that we fear, that really do kill us (i.e. disease, accidents, aging). We don’t literally symbolize diseases because a) that’s too close to reality, too creepy, too scary, and b) because it’s too cruel, too close to reality, too much something people really experience. The symbols have to be close to the reality, but not too close, to push the limits of the comfort level, but not break through those limits entirely.

    For instance:

    acceptable: a zombie with a rotting body
    unacceptable: someone with SARS, cancer or leprosy (“Sexy Leprosy Girl!”)

    acceptable: skeletons
    unacceptable: someone with anorexia or any other wasting disease

    acceptable: ax murders (in a same class as mummies, vampires — a “mythological” threat

    also acceptable: dressing like a “hobo” (assuming false identities is part of the holiday — it’s to fool the spirits into thinking you’re someone else)

    unacceptable: dressing like a homeless person and going around the party muttering as if you were dealing with visual or audio hallucinations.

    OK, end of analysis. (I’m just really into folklore, so I think about stuff like this.)

  52. Em, I get what you’re saying. Did you ever watch The West Wing? They had one episode that involved a senator filibustering because a bill with funding for autism research was going to fail — and then at the end of the episode, they found out that he had a grandson who was autistic, and so they made sure the bill passed. It was a beautifully acted episode, but it made me SO ANGRY because WTF, you can’t fund autism research unless you personally have a family member who’s autistic? It’s about ethics and decency, not about your sob story!

    So I sympathize. :-) But I think the thing to remember is that each person can’t tackle everything at once, so we each choose what to take on — and for a lot of people, that ends up being what they have personal experience with.

  53. Just for the record:

    “Mortality rates in eating disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa, are among the highest in the mental disorders.”

    American Psychiatric Institute “Practice Guideline for the
    Treatment of Patients With Eating Disorders.” Eds. Joel Yager, et all. 3rd Ed. (December 2005), 71.

    No hard feelings, Em. I’m a very passionate person, and coupled with my tendency to often take on much more than I can ever possibly handle, I too have been frustrated by my inability to devote myself to issues I hold dear to me.

    Because I can’t possibly clone myself and dedicate myself to all the causes I want, instead I’ve taken on a cause which I myself have intimate experience with and believe needs more advocates. It’s not to say these other causes aren’t equally important, but sometimes you have to pick your battles and I’ve made ED awareness mine.

  54. I went to the website that sells this costume, and they have a policy in place:

    “Halloweenstreet.com is a family-friendly website and does not want to alienate anyone. We have a diverse line of sexy Halloween costumes, but none to offend anyone.”

    Plus, I think the costume is gone now. Anyway, I see plenty of other costumes that could offend – such as the pregnant nun, “sexy” trophy wife, or the mentioned “sexy mental patient.” There is also “sexy deviant housewife” and the priest costume that inflates in a certain place of the body.

    While this costume based on anorexia is very tasteless and offensive, it’s not the only costume which boggles my sense of decency!

  55. Okay, well I have to admit my reaction to this was pretty much, LOL, because I think…and I might be going out on a limb, isn’t it making FUN of anorexia? I mean, not that that’s good either, but I don’t think it’s trying to glamorize it. I actually think , especially since a bony girl isn’t wearing it (she’s thin but she has some meat). It’s in poor taste, though.

  56. I’m with you guys wholeheartedly that this is in poor taste of epic proportions, but it’s on a site full of costumes designed to turn women’s bodies into meat and slap a “sale” tag on ’em (“trophy wife” costumes?!) that obviously has no social conscience (“mexian woman” costumes?!) or common decency (“pregnant nun” costumes?!). I’m not saying that the fact that there are other bad things out there makes this thing less bad, but I AM saying that outrage (for me, at least) has some component of surprise, of shock.

    This? This is just one more in the hit parade of tasteless dumbassery that is the dress code at a halloween frat party.

    I guess it just seems that throwing a fit about this is like renting a hardcore porn flick and then being offended at the irresponsible portrayal of casual sex. It’s not like you couldn’t have seen it coming, and it’s not like it represents the population at large.

    Also, the first time I saw this costume, I actually thought it was making fun of anorexia–not brilliant satire, to be sure, but hardly an endoresment of the condition. Don’t assume that the rest of the world picks up the same social overtones you do.

  57. To both of you saying this is just “making fun of anorexia”: THAT’S THE POINT.

    I totally agree, as has been noted upthread, that there are many other costumes to be upset about on that site. But since this is a blog about body acceptance and the way this culture trivializes eating disorders while encouraging people to practice disordered eating behaviors, this is the costume we’re talking about.

    Don’t assume that the rest of the world picks up the same social overtones you do.

    Oh, I know they don’t. That’s exactly why it’s important to talk about these things.

  58. I truly love halloween. it’s my most favorite of holidays. What i hate is this recent trend of ‘sexy’ costumes that are now offered. When did halloween turn into this weird contest amongst women to dress as the ‘most fuckable’? It reminds me of that scene in Mean Girls when Lohan dresses as the ugly old witch (great costume) and she shows up to the party and finds all of the other girls dressed scantily and sexified.

    The ana rexia costume is sickening, and i’m glad it was pulled. It’s ironic that they have copy touting them as a ‘family website’. I like my family fully clothed, thanks. Pennylane, i think your comment is extremely important: this is yet another quantifiable example of the fihe line that women must walk in society : “don’t be too fat, because you’re disgusting – but don’t be too thin, because then you’re just a joke. Oh, and get breast implants.”

  59. What i hate is this recent trend of ’sexy’ costumes that are now offered. When did halloween turn into this weird contest amongst women to dress as the ‘most fuckable’?

    Madge, I’m not sure how old you are, but to me, it hardly seems recent — it seems like what Halloween has ALWAYS been, since I stopped wearing the orange and brown clown suit my mother made for me.

    I think it’s interesting that so many women go for the “sexy” outfits — as if the only way they can own their sexuality is in costume. This year, I’m going as a woman who enjoys sex! Isn’t that HILARIOUS?

  60. I can see the point about how, given the nature of this blog, this is the costume we’re discussing; I get that part. What I don’t understand is why the response to this post is on par with posts about legal issues or health care access or kids taken away from their parents.

    Seeing a racist costume for sale doesn’t tell me anything about the attitudes of the population at large. It seems kind of sketchy to me to draw conclusions about entire societal attitudes from a costume bought by a tiny minority at a shop frequented by a tiny minority for the purpose of display in a situation where no one is supposed to take your seriously.

    Or is it that the costume is upsetting because the anti-fat has filtered even into the largely irrelevant aspects of our cultre? Or is it that the idea that *anyone* can joke about a mental illness is distressing?

    I guess I’m just having trouble understanding the passion this thing has evoked. I’m not trying to say that people are crazy for being upset, just that I don’t understand it. And I’d really like to, because if I, a person trying really hard to help change fat attitudes for the better, don’t “get it”, I’m going to have a hard time making a convincing case to less open individuals.

  61. I guess I’m just having trouble understanding the passion this thing has evoked.

    It presents anorexia as “sexy.” Quite literally. It’s really that simple.

    Seeing a racist costume for sale doesn’t tell me anything about the attitudes of the population at large.

    Actually, it does. There wouldn’t be a market for racist (sexist, ableist, etc.) costumes if our society didn’t condone joking about and/or exoticizing anyone who represents the “other.”

  62. Dizz, it’s making light of anorexia – a highly dangerous mental illness that impacts on physical health and KILLS people – in the same way that weight-obsessives joke, “damn I wish I could just catch a dose of anorexia!” because then they’d have what they’ve been brainwashed to believe is the one, true, universally perfect body. Personally, since eating disorders are significantly on the rise in both sexes, I don’t really think anorexia needs any more trivialisation.

    Rachel may disagree with me here but it often seems to me that anorexics are portrayed as (albeit fallen) heroes in mainstream media coverage – as in, “poor soul, they were trying to do the Right Thing, (i.e. achieve or maintain extreme slenderness), but it all got tragically out of hand”. Those who suffer with binge eating disorders, on the other hand, are rarely granted the same compassion or respect because, eeuw fat, lazy, greedy piggies, not trying to do the Right Thing at all!

  63. on the description for plus size costume site the tag “Anna Rexia” can be removed and the measuring tape is described as a ribbon belt :-(

  64. I guess I’m missing the morbid and/or deadly portrayal of anorexia with the costume. Perhaps posts regarding it are satirical but the outfit itself? Not so much. It was probably designed, pitched, and approved as something humorous that would make all your friends chuckle because okay seriously, anorectics don’t actually LOOK like a skeleton. Sheesh! *smirk*

    That said, oh my fucking GOD that’s the most fucking offensive thing I have EVER SEEN.

  65. Kate, i guess you’re right that the sexy halloween costume has been in existence longer than i remember, and my lack of awareness of it is probably due to simply not paying any attention. I hadn’t really noticed it until i moved to manhattan, and even then, it seemed less endemic as it is NOW. Whatever. it’s sad that, like you said, women have to be in costume to own their sexuality, and that really is what it’s about.

    I think the marketing people that come up with this shit are truly clueless. They don’t realize how / why this is offensive.
    Totally unrelated to Anna Rexia, but more appropos to clueless marketing people, Milton Bradley has a new twist on the old favorite: Operation (the game where his nose lights up and ‘it takes a very steady hand….”) The new game is called “Operation Rescue”. Um… one iota of marketing research would have shown that thats a BAD title with harsh political / moral implications. just DUH.

  66. You know, reading through the posts reminded me of something. Where I read they were going to have a Rainbow Brite costume for adults, so I thought it’d be cute to dress up in it as a novelty thing. I went to the site and it was a sexy Rainbow Brite doll.

    I’m not sure if any of you remember Rainbow Brite, she couldn’t have been older than 10. And they wonder why we have an epidemic of men in our country, that think it’s ok to sexualize little girls.

  67. “Operation Rescue” is the name of an organization (since renamed, I think, and doing broader politics) headed up by Randall Terry, et al. (and heavily funded by donations from Domino’s Pizza) for blocking access to clinics that provide abortions. Sounds like an interesting game.

  68. We were talking of tasteless things up thread. Someone mentioned a genius in the Milton Bradley marketing department has reissured the “Operation” game as Operation Rescue.

  69. I think it’s interesting that so many women go for the “sexy” outfits — as if the only way they can own their sexuality is in costume. This year, I’m going as a woman who enjoys sex! Isn’t that HILARIOUS?

    i’m going as a gay cowboy eating pudding, complete with eyeliner stubble, a push-up bra under my flannel shirt, and condoms in my pocket.

    nothing terribly unusual

  70. I no longer have hope for humanity. I have never been skinny, and i probably will never bee like any of those models. I think i need a good cry.

  71. I love how people with zero critical thinking skills always seem to believe “Lighten up!” is a real zinger. Never occurs to them that taking things seriously might just be a function of, you know, reading and thinking.

  72. Yeah, I made that joke upthread, but you know, I’m starting to think it’s a bigger problem that we find it ironic. Because you know, ha ha, fat people can’t be anorexic! Like hell.

  73. I think that’s hilarious! Jokes based on race or gender are just unfair, but I see nothing wrong with making light of addictions or hangups. Everybody has vices and bad habits, and I think the world would be saner if we all were a little less sensitive about them. Mine is easily-triggered anger. Woot!

  74. Wow. You consider a mental illness to be a “bad habit.” What a sensitive, compassionate person you must be.

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