I recently came across an article of Cosmopolitan Magazine on Snapchat named “13 Offensive Halloween Costumes That Shouldn't Exist” and something that made me jump was to see “Day of the Dead Spanish Lady”. I very rarely care too much or get angry at misinterpretations of Mexican culture, but this time I’ve got a few things to say.
I can’t speak for the rest of the rest of the costumes on the list. In fact, I actually agree for most of them because they’re dumb or modified “sexy” versions of other cultures’ traditions. However, this one’s mentioned in the wrong context and with wrong information.
A little bit of background info.; Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is one of the oldest and most representative traditions in Mexico. Celebrated in Nov 1st & 2nd, it’s the time of year to remember our dead ancestors and celebrate death as a natural aspect of life, by living our best life with good food, music and our loved ones. Read 10 more things you should know about Day of The Dead.
Here’s what’s wrong about Cosmo’s article
Day of the Dead Spanish Lady’s name is Catrina
Not only sounds prettier but it’s got over 100 years of history. She’s a character created around 1910 by the political cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada, and it became as a popular persona to mock the new rich that wouldn't acknowledge their indigenous origins. Later, in 1947, she was named Catrina by Diego Rivera when he painted her in a mural next Frida Kahlo and José Guadalupe Posada in Mexico City’s Historical Downtown.
P.S. She’s not Spanish either, she’s Mexican.
You ARE ALLOWED to dress up like her.
Part of the Celebration is to (optionally) dress up like skeletons or historical personas who are already dead. The point is to celebrate what these people were in life and have a good time. In fact, there are festivals and events in which hundreds of people are dressed up like her.
It would make me happier to see the whole country dressed up as La Catrina for halloween than having it be another blacklisted costume because of the wrong reasons.
3. The fine line between being Inclusive vs. Intrusive.
We’re living in the Era of Globalization, which means that were closely and constantly interacting with a lot of people from all over the world. For that reason, I think it’s valid and necessary to be careful with how we approach certain things that concern another culture. Still, sometimes is even cooler to enhance communities by joining them for festivities and things like that. So, how do you know if you’re insulting a culture or enhancing it? Well, when it’s not common sense (sometimes it is), asking the right people and proper Google research will do.
4. What’s worse than wearing the costume?
Listing it along with tampon, boob and douchebag Halloween costumes. Sorry, they’re simply not in the same category.
In conclusion, I understand that it might’ve had good intentions, but good communication starts with some research. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet (even if it’s Cosmo) and build an inclusive community by doing research and learning ways different cultures compliment each other. Make the community greater, not lonelier.