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The Anne Frank Costume is Not Offensive

The fact that an online store was selling an Anne Frank costume is perfect internet fodder. It’s kind of shocking, but in a ridiculous sort of way. It’s the type of story that people read and then rush over to the original website just for the comments. Because why does this exist?? But is anyone REALLY offended? Is anyone REALLY outraged or disturbed, as the headlines indicate? I don’t like to tell people what they are or aren’t offended by (because then they get all uppity and even more offended) but I’m going to say emphatically: the Anne Frank Costume is not offensive. And, furthermore, you’re not offended by it.

It’s disgusting! It trivializes the Holocaust! It makes light of her personal struggle! He story is tragic, not a means to a goody bag full of fun-sized treats!!!!

Okay.

What if my daughter read the Diary of Anne Frank and was inspired by her tale of courage in the face of death? What if she wanted to dress up like her new hero for Halloween? What if I put an outfit together that was pretty much indistinguishable from the one for sale at Halloweencostumes.com? Would you be offended? Or, would you tell me how good a job I’m doing, raising a bright and consiencious young lady?

What if she wanted to dress up as Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks? Ooh, I could definitely see THAT posing a problem. But as long as she wasn’t in black face – which has a long and storied history of undeniable racism – I think her intent would be plain. Admiration and respect for a historical figure who was heroic because of the devastation going on around her.

You might be taken aback at first by the costume or the explanation, but you’d get it. You’d accept a girl’s tribute. And you’d probably give her an extra Snickers.

But that wasn’t the case with costume for sale. Far f*cking from it. Why?

We’ve already established that you’re not offended by the idea of an Anne Frank costume. So what’s the problem? Two things, I think. First of all, the girl modeling the costume is just way too damn sassy, like she’s about to make a Nazi official talk to the hand or whip out her iPhone and tweet “OMG, Hitler! #ICantEven.” It’s too much. Secondly, and I think the bigger issue, is that it’s for sale. It feels crass. Commercializing mass genocide has a tendency to leave a bad taste in your mouth. But, again, it’s not the costume itself. Rather, it’s the fact that someone seems to by trying to make a buck off of the Holocaust. It doesn’t help that the Nazi’s are back. It’s like they never left!

So, what the hell’s my point? I don’t know…maybe I’m just doing the typical asshole blogger gimmick and taking the opposite view of a popular opinion. Maybe I’m trying to rile you up. Don’t fall for it! Or maybe I think we should slow our collective roll on hot take reactions and the instinct to be offended. Ask ourselves “why?” What specifically about this thing that I just saw on Facebook is really making my blood boil? There are plenty of things to be deeply offended by these days, but sometimes we’re only offended because we think ought to be. I’m pretty sure that this is one of those times. Maybe I’m wrong, but, as sassy Anne Frank might say, #SorryNotSorry.

 

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Published inPolitics Sex & Religion

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