My Great-Great Grandmother Was a Dystopian Halloween Costume

Tiffany Morris

Who can resist the chance to climb
into another skin? Into myth-spit
caricature? A sideshow mockery
in felt-dripped-fringe?

Who can resist the chance to climb
into another skin? Into myth-spit
caricature? A sideshow mockery
in felt-dripped-fringe?
A technicolor chicken-feathered ghoul
ripped from a century of
Hollywood nightmares?
Look!
For $30 a pop there are Indian maidens
princesses warriors like a million
fake great-great-grandmothers
born in family lore and
rolling in forgotten graves.
But thank goodness:
no more Handmaids
with their bloodred robes
opened like a mouth
grinning red
like horror red
like wounding red
like a slur kept alive
under your eye

 


Artist Statement:

There was enough public outcry when costume retailer Yandy released its “sexy” take on “The Handmaid’s Tale” costume that it was ultimately pulled from their catalog. In a 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan, the same retailer stated it would not pull its racist costumes depicting Indigenous women, due to a lack of controversy and public outcry. So, here are my questions, for retailers and consumers alike: why are fictional women a higher priority than Indigenous women? Whose dystopias reflect whose realities?

Learn more about Turtle Island Responds

Tiffany Morris is a Mi’kmaw writer from K’jipuktuk (Halifax). Her horror fiction and poetry have appeared in Eye To The TelescopeAugurRoom, and anthologies from Clash Books, among others. Find her at tiffmorris.com or on Twitter @tiffmorris.

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