It would be really easy to get offended by yet another misguided, tasteless “sexy” Halloween costume. Adding “sexy” to any profession, public figure, or fictional character is an age-old way for costume companies to stir up business. If you’re a smart person, you know that most of this is really offensive and sexist. So, when I learned there was a “Sexy Mister Rogers” Halloween costume on the market, I was totally prepared to get my indignant buzz on. And yet, I can’t? I’m not actually offended by the Sexy Mister Rogers costume, because, you know, there’s a way to approach this and have it be fine.
First of all, this is a costume for adults. Second, what was the biggest message of Mister Rogers? I remember! It’s this: BE NICE. Guess what? Being nice is sexy. Being smart and caring about your neighbor? VERY SEXY. Trying to help educate without being an annoying sell-out brand? Yeah, that’s sexy, too.
To be clear, I’m very against sexual objectification that is linked to a children’s brand, but I’m not totally convinced this costume damages the Mister Rogers brand at all. If a college kid wants to wear it to a party, and talk about how great and inclusive PBS is while slamming a Solo Cup of LaCroix mixed with vodka (or whatever it is people I have zero contact with drink at parties now) that’s fine. The company behind this costume is called Yandy and the costume is technically called “Nicest Neighbor.” Last year, they were infamously — and rightly so — under fire for doing a “Sexy Handmaid” costume, in reference to both the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale and the Margaret Atwood book of the same name. Versions of the actual costume were also used as a symbol of the women’s movement.
Now, as someone whose prized possessions include a personalized autographed Margaret Atwood book, I found the Sexy Handmaid costume pretty annoying. It was misguided and offensive. But this faux-Mister Rogers thing? I don’t know. It features a skimpy outfit with a crop-top red sweater over the icon’s shirt and tie and some tight grey shorts. There are also Daniel Tiger Dad hand puppets. Sexy? I don’t know. But it’s basically a schoolgirl costume sloppily branded as an homage to Mister Rogers. The Internet is already ablaze with those crying offensive but I don’t know if we all really care that much, or if we should.
Maybe lets all lighten-up. I mean, don’t wear the costume around actual kids. Duh. But, let’s let other people have their fun, too. In fact, there seems like a very easy way to make this work and have everyone be happy. After the kids go to bed on Halloween, dads everywhere should squeeze-into the Nicest Neighbor costume, then proceed to do the laundry, the dishes and get new slippers for their partners. There! I fixed it.