Dressing Up As “Fat” for Halloween?


I saw this costume today:

It’s advertised as “Men’s Inflatable Ballerina Adult Costume”

The description reads: “Twirl about in the silly Men’s Inflatable Ballerina Adult Costume. The adult costume is perfect for Halloween trick or treating or fall parties.”

Let’s start with the name of the costume. It pisses me off A LOT that they don’t even have the decency to be honest about what they are doing.  Ballerinas wear clothes that fit them, not inflatable suits that make it difficult to move. This is a fat suit with a half-assed ballerina theme.

Now looking to the description, what exactly do they think makes the costume “silly?” Bodies come in lots of sizes for lots of reasons and none of those bodies are “silly.” There are amazing fat ballerinas and there is nothing “silly” about them. Not to mention “perfect for …fall parties” What the hell kind of parties are these people attending?  It’s just shitty fatphobia.

It’s enough of a problem when people wear fat suits to see what it’s like to be fat instead of, you know, listening to and believing fat people about their experiences. But this isn’t that. This is literally putting on someone else’s body – a body that, as it exists in the world, is subject to a tremendous amount of shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression. Costumes like this add to that shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression by perpetuating the idea that there is something about being fat that should be laughed at. Then, having used their body as a tool for fatphobia, the wearer removes the costume and returns to their  life of thin privilege.

This is bullshit. Don’t do it. Let’s dismantle fatphobia, not dress ourselves in it.

UPDATE:  Thanks to amazing fat activists these costumes have been pulled from the shelves. See the details here!

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10 thoughts on “Dressing Up As “Fat” for Halloween?

  1. Yeah, every year. You know who (or what you are) by the fact others can “dress up” like you on a holiday. Bums, fat people, pirates, witches, drunkards, Indians.. you name it. Rich white man costume maybe too vague for people?

  2. It stuns me how angry people get at the idea that a ballerina can be fat. I understand how they might not believe it’s possible at first, but that’s no excuse to be FURIOUS when you find out you’re wrong!

  3. Here’s a simple test for people lurking here going, “But but but…it’s funny!” If the funny part is that a person exists in public at all, you’re being a bigot and it’s time to stop now.

  4. My boss, a thin woman who is Executive Director of the non-profit I work for, wore something like this more than once on Halloween. The first time I was just dumbfounded but the second time I told her I found it offensive. She didn’t wear it again after that. It blows me away that anyone finds this entertaining, or even okay. The interesting thing is she is supportive of me as a fat person in some ways, ie when out at an event or restaurant, she is conscientious about making sure I have seating that works for me.

    1. Sounds like your boss is the actual definition of clueless – she doesn’t know, but once informed, she changes her behavior accordingly. Good for her!

      It’s not her fault she’s been swimming in a sea of poison, where the loudest voices are the ones telling her that making fun of fat people is correct, or that we don’t need seating accommodations. Now that you are telling her the truth, though, she’s thinking about it, and working on that new knowledge.

      Now, had she pushed back, she would have shown herself to be a jerk, who would rather cling to her cruelty than learn about the variations in humanity, or even see the humanity of others. I’m glad she’s not a jerk.

      1. Yes, clueless but not cruel is a good way to put it… one year in October I said something rueful about “Columbus Day” and the encouraging trend of it being renamed Indigenous Peoples Day in more and more cities… and she looked at me wide-eyed and said, “What’s wrong with Columbus?”

        1. “What’s wrong with Columbus” is not something a great many people over the age of 30 have been taught in schools.

          Continuing education is not just about technology and new medical/scientific discoveries. History, and the new things we have learned/uncovered, or simply new perspectives of what was taught as dogma, is a thing we have to try to keep up with. Not being up to date doesn’t make you a bad person.

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