Over the last several years, there has been growing attention to the role of cultural appropriation in Halloween traditions, writes Professor Liz Bucar. And yet, costumes based on religious clothing—such as the sexy nun—seem to get a pass. Sexy nun and similar costumes represent women religious in ways that directly conflict with their identities and core values, so this Halloween it’s critical to remember that religious appropriation can also be problematic.
Some believe that nun costumes don’t qualify as appropriation since they borrow from the Catholic Church, one of the most powerful institutions in the world. But the real impact of nun costumes isn’t on the hierarchy, it’s on women religious, who already face mental and physical abuse within the Catholic Church. In order to assess the ethics of a sexy nun costume, however, we need to first understand how a habit functions in the religious life of these women.
Read more at Religion Dispatches.