Yes, it’s every bit as terrible as you might expect.
Halloween is fast upon us, bringing with it the opportunity to carve pumpkins, chug creepy cocktails, and dine on spooky snacks. Another staple 31 October activity, though, is the classic Halloween party – which means, yes, costumes.
Dressing up gives us a chance to get creative, step into the shoes of our feminist heroes, channel our inner evil, or finally be the Disney princess we’ve always secretly dreamed of being. However, our insatiable appetite for ‘unique’ pop culture costumes also drives some fancy-dress companies to create grossly inappropriate outfits: think this ‘sexy’ Handmaid’s Tale outfit, or Fashion Nova’s similarly problematic geisha costume.
Now, though, there’s a new costume to sexually objectify women in a completely, totally, 100% unnecessary way…and this time, it involves the royal family. Or, more specifically, one member of the royal family.
That’s right: Yandy – the same brand responsible for the aforementioned Handmaid’s Tale costume – has released a new outfit based on none other than Meghan Markle.
Featuring a skin-tight white mini dress, a veil and a tiara – and photographed with a Deal or No Deal briefcase as a prop (Meghan was famously once on the show) – the ‘American Princess’ doesn’t tap into any of the Duchess of Sussex’s signature style moments. Unless, of course, an off-the-shoulder gown is enough to scream ‘Meghan’ to the masses.
“You’re living an actual fairy tale!” the costume’s description reads. “Get ready to walk down the royal aisle in this exclusive American Princess costume featuring a white mini dress with an off-the-shoulder neckline, 3/4 length sleeves, a smooth bodice, a tulle veil with a large bow accent, a satin bow detail, and a bejewelled tiara.”
If you really want to dress up as Meghan for Halloween, might we suggest looking to her iconic fashion moments from the past few months (this easy co-ord styling trick is a humdinger) and replicating one of those instead? Ideally in a way that doesn’t objectify an actual human being? Because, when you consider the fact that this cheap AF-looking outfit is priced at $49.99, it’s hardly worth the money.
However, at least Yandy’s attempt to package up and sell a sexualised version of the Duchess of Sussex (almost definitely without her consent) isn’t as awful as this “HOW THE F**K DID THIS EVER GET APPROVED?” ‘Blade Gunner’ costume – which, complete with a fake handgun, Paralympian uniform and racing blades, is clearly inspired by Oscar Pistorius’ murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
“Cause lots of controversy at your next party with our Adult Blade Runner Gunner Stag Costume. This eye catching, head turning costume idea is ideal for any event, whether it be Halloween or just a shindig at a friends,” reads the product description on Jokers’ Masquerade.
“The costume includes black and silver boot covers that come up to just under the knee, giving the impression that you have metal running blades instead of legs, just like that infamous Paralympic runner!”
The website – clearly keen to make as much money out of a woman’s murder as possible – also encourages people to buy the outfit along with a fake Tommy submachine gun for an extra £4.99.
It’s been over four years since Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp in his Pretoria home, on Valentine’s Day 2013. Since then he has been found guilty of culpable homicide and given a sentence of six years – a jail term considered lenient by many commentators (prosecutors are endeavouring to increase his sentence to a minimum of 15 years).
With so many people focused on Pistorius himself, though, many have forgotten that Steenkamp was a real person: a model, law graduate, television presenter, and women’s rights activist, dedicated to using her profile to campaign against domestic violence in South Africa.
Her life did not begin and end in that bathroom. And she deserves to be remembered with respect – rather than see her murder turned into a form of entertainment for the masses.