Every year on Halloween, evangelical religious groups set up hell houses: horrific theatrical events that showcase sins like fornication, abortion, and same-sex relationships—sounds like a scarring experience for those who don’t take shame in these ‘sins.’ Yet for the participants in these hell houses, their artistic efforts are a form of activism. This year, Toronto-based feminist artist Allyson Mitchell, along with a crowd of community members, constructed and performed Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian-Feminist Haunted House. Outlining the horrors of feminist pasts and presents, the hand-made installation and queer-crafted performance exorcised from the grave things which scare those both outside and inside of Mitchell’s artist, activist, and academic community.
I took a trip to the lesbian-feminist haunted house to experience the spookiness.
We hope you're enjoying this Halloween with lots of candy, costumes, and fun! Here's a special On Our Radar round-up of links we love around the web, including zombie history, horror-film heroiens, and a reminder to not be a total racist!
Like a pap smear or tax season, it happens every year: People wear racist and sexist costumes on Halloween. Hell, maybe you've done it yourself! You didn't know what to be for that one party so you jammed some feathers in a headband and called yourself Pocahontas. Or you grabbed a toy donkey and a poncho and went as a cartoonish Mexican. We've all made mistakes and hopefully learned something from them, like how not to be the offensive asshole hanging out by the pumpkin keg. Because seriously, you really shouldn't wear that stuff.
Halloween is a time to bust out that creativity, play into the fantasy, and eat a ton of candy. It's not a time to push adult sexuality or hyped up ideas of ideal bodies onto young kids. I'd rather by scared on Halloween by ghosts and goblins than by thoughts of little kids running amok in overly sexualized costumes.
Well, Ladyween weekend is officially upon us! (And yes, we're still trying to make Ladyween happen around here. It'll catch on before you know it—trust us.) Here are some holiday jams to get you in the mood. Listen IF YOU DARE! (BEWARE: Scary track list after the jump!)
Halloween is a notorious time for offensive outfits. If you're still not sure what your costume is going to be this year, make sure you don't go the culturally appropriative route. Dressing up as "another culture," is racist, and an act of privilege. Fortunately, thanks to some college students behind Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS), an Ohio University organization, cultural appropriation is getting some more attention through their series of posters boldly challenge racist costume ideas.
Ladyween (yes, that's what we're calling Halloween here at Bitch HQ these days—it's gonna catch on, trust us) is fast approaching. If you're still searching for the perfect costume, one that combines feminism with history and still leaves you looking sharp, look no further than the Adventures in Feministory archives!