In the grand scheme of things, there are roughly one million Halloween costumes you shouldn't wear, including the bevy of racist options that for some reason continue to be popular. Now, there's one more costume to add to the Please Do Not Do This rack: Melania Trump Halloween costumes are a pretty bad idea.
Trump family costumes are far from a new phenomenon. But while they've been available for years — including this horrific mash-up of the "every women's costume option is sexy for no reason" thing and Donald Trump — dressing as Melania is a fairly recent option in the saga of being able to dress like America's first family. And if dressing like Melania, especially if it's just a joke, seems like a benign Halloween option to you, especially in the face of more overtly offensive and harmful costumes, there are a few things to consider.
First, there's a pretty dang significant amount of people LOLing about Melania costumes, but there's an even more significant number of people treating Trump family costumes like they're an actual serious option and not a reminder of the daily horrors real people are facing at the hands of this administration. For people who are having their rights systematically stripped away, people who are having their whole lives uprooted by Trump's deportation crackdown, and people who are literally dying right now at this very moment because of the administration's inaction in the face of natural disaster, costumes that ones that celebrate Melania's "fashionista" wardrobe are not fun or funny for marginalized people.
But that's just the most apparent surface reason to avoid dressing as Melania this Halloween. Other, deeper reasons are concerning, too.
First, like the aforementioned, everpresent everything-sexy costume options, there are of course "Sexy Melania" costumes available, including Yandy's — a site that's known for its problematic costumes — $69.95 "model wife" costume, which, while it's not explicitly marketed as Melania, obviously references her baby-blue inauguration outfit. HuffPost nails the primary reason this kind of costume is concerning: Trump's attitude toward women.
Trump is known for objectifying women, including his own daughter, and regardless of what you think of Melania's complicity in Trump's administration, turning her into some kind of fetish model wife costume is problematic on nearly every level. It's simultaneously degrading and idolizing her, and it's not hard to imagine a Trump fan (or the man himself) seeing someone wearing it on the street and taking that as a sign of women embracing that misogyny is totally in right now.
There's also the fact that the transphobic, racist, and generally gross "rumor" that Michelle Obama is secretly a man has now been extended, minus the racism, to Melania, with folks leaping on a new conspiracy theory that Melania, in a recent video about Trump visiting Puerto Rico, is a man in drag. Or, at the very least, is a body double who is — you got it — wearing a Melania costume.
And the attentive scrutiny people are giving what should be yet another easily dismissed conspiracy theory plays into the other sexist issues that surround wearing Melania as a costume. They're dissecting the supposed body double, pointing out flaws in "his" costume. Another Bustler highlighted comments that ran the gamut from "Wow. Odd. Wig? Lips? Nose?" to "This woman's nose is thicker and her lips are different, too. Plus, Melanie [sic] would never nod her head in rapid succession. And, her lips parted. That was weird!"
People on Twitter have taken to the idea of dressing as Melania's body double, and even though it's obvious some of the many tweets about the subject are pitching the costume as an ironic one, it's still not funny.
In a statement to HuffPost, Yandy's vice president of merchandising, Pilar Quintana-Williams, said, "We don’t take ourselves too seriously and neither do our customers. The Yandy Girl strives to be the talk of the Halloween party and we’ve found these topical, pop culture-inspired costumes with a fashion-forward twist are always a fan favorite year after year."
That makes it all sound so simple. But a Melania costume, "sexy trophy wife" version or not, cannot be equated with dressing up as Batman or a harmless meme. Dressing up as Melania is not displaying a knack for topical, fashion-forward costumes. It's playing into sexism, ignoring the genuine pain the Trump administration is knowingly inflicting on millions of people, and, on top of everything, normalizing all of that.
The bottom line is this: Dressing as Melania is not sexy, or funny, or ironic, or clever. There are better Halloween costume options, ones not laden with layers of harm. Spend your $70 on those instead.