Anti-Defamation League faces backlash for guide on avoiding 'gender norms' for Halloween costumes

"Might as well give to a Woke Good Housekeeping," critic tweeted

Updated: October 25, 2021 - 4:20pm

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The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that once worked to prevent the defamation of the Jewish people and other marginalized groups, has published a Halloween costume resource guide titled, "Halloween: When the Goblins, Ghosts and Stereotypes Come Out."

The guide is an instruction manual for educators who will oversee children dressing up for the late-October holiday.

Beyond the expected section addressing cultural stereotypes and appropriation in costumes, the group's "resource" places newfound emphasis on those children who may exist outside the gender binary, a difference, the ADL suggest, that could be exacerbated by costumes worn by children that cater to their specific sexes.   

One section of the guide reads: "Many Halloween costumes perpetuate gender stereotypes and exclude those who don’t conform to traditional gender norms, especially those who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming. Be mindful that you may have students who feel excluded and marginalized by the overly gendered way Halloween costumes are marketed."

It continues, "Many children are attracted to traditional gendered costumes, think girls who love princesses or boys who are obsessed with action heroes. When that is the case, it is best not to reinforce that these are the only appropriate options available. Engage in conversations with young people about gender stereotypes and discuss messages that companies send through marketing and advertising."

Twitter users reacted with harsh sentiments to the organization's guide, particularly given the reason the group was founded – to protect Jews and other groups that have been historically discriminated against, and not to undermine the preferences of young boys and girls who want to dress up on Halloween.

One commenter wrote, "Actual violence against Orthodox Jews in New York, and you puke this woke drivel. Just change your name and be done with it. Anti-Liberty League."

Another tweeted: "I'm old enough to remember when the ADL cared about protecting the Jewish community, including from the yearly antisemitic attacks on Halloween. Now they are woke leftists who care about policing costumes."

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