College Mandates Gender-Neutral Halloween Costumes

Phanes College, a small liberal arts school in rural Vermont, has taken a bold step forward in the fight for gender equality. This year students attending any on-campus Halloween festivities are required to wear gender-neutral costumes in an effort to dismantle stereotypes and foster a safe environment for everyone.

In a campus-wide email, Phanes dean Benedict Craven said students will face stiff punishment — including expulsion while still required to pay tuition — for wearing any costumes deemed problematic. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Any costume deemed gendernormative, such as devil, witch, pirate, or sexy nurse
  • Any costume that upholds European standards of beauty, such as Bride Of Frankenstein
  • Any costume depicting human genitalia

“Halloween is a when students make attempts at humor,” Dean Craven continued. “But given the deep divisions within our country, this is no time to be funny.”

Instead, Craven suggested students wear costumes representing inanimate objects, such as “cookie,” “milk” or “bubble wrap.” As is the case with all campus party nights, he added, free condoms will be available.

Students at Phanes were largely supportive of the new costume guidelines and applauded them vigorously with jazz hands. According to the school’s student-run newspaper, The Daily NPC, social media buzz indicates that most popular costume this year will be “Socialist Teletubby.”

The issue of cultural appropriation, which swept college campuses over Halloween 2015, has largely been surmounted, said Phanes’ Chief Officer of Diversity & Retribution Sissy Leach, and the current battlefront is on Halloween’s imposing  of antiquated gender norms on students without their consent. “After multiple meetings, we concluded that virtually all costumes have some basis in heteronormative and cisgender iconographies,” said Leach. “We’re confident that draconian authoritarianism will put us on the right side of history.”

However, history may not let Phanes off so easily.

In 2008 the school came under criticism when the New York Times reported that of the college’s 1,812 full-time students, 100% were white. In an effort to correct the imbalance, Phanes began building the largest diversity office of any college in the nation, with an annual operating budget of $16 million and a staff of 158 administrators, all of which are white females. Leach is the highest-paid diversity officer in the country, with an annual salary of $478,920, and yet the student body remains 99.99% white (one student from the class of 2022 claims to be part Cherokee).

Annual tuition plus room-and-board at the leafy school founded in 1793 and vilified for its colonial architecture runs $60K per year. One in ten students attends Phanes on financial aid, and seven out of ten have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

The school’s mascot is The Herbivore, and its Division III football team boasts the longest losing streak in history with a record of 0-1,272. The football program was defunded in 2016 when the quarterback, the NCAA’s first Asian female, was taken off of life support.

26 Comments on "College Mandates Gender-Neutral Halloween Costumes"

  1. It seems that when I tried to go to Ivy Style’s site I was misdirected to The Onion 🙂

  2. There will be a caravan of conservative commentators invading this thread sharing in the hilarity!

  3. This article appears to be misdated; should be very early April, I would say.

  4. @PhillipM
    But April Fool’s jokes are funny.

  5. Slime Coverdale | October 31, 2018 at 11:47 am |

    This article is fake news. To the detriment of myself and my country, my recently cast vote was informed by this misinformation. I learned the truth too late. I demand that you be deplatformed.

  6. Trick or treat!

  7. Vern Trotter | October 31, 2018 at 1:42 pm |

    Yes, trick or treat! Actually it is quite amusing to have your leg pulled like this. We could use more!

  8. Enough Already | October 31, 2018 at 1:48 pm |

    While you’re at it, why not write a piece about a private Christian college, one where its students are busy grooming themselves for future employment opportunities (e.g. GOP staffer, Heritage Foundation fellow, right-wing provocateur) which involve treating the Beatitudes like toilet paper?

    On second thought, how about more regarding collar rolls, tie widths, and tweed and less of… this.

  9. This piece is nuts enough to be true. Just illustrates today’s world in general.

  10. Why are there no conservative comedians?

  11. Because a conservative comedian is an oxymoron!

  12. @whiskeydent
    @Morgan M.

    Oh come on, if you can’t find *some* humour here, or insist on reducing it to a ‘conservative’ slam, you’ve really lost the thread. Surely even a strident liberal can appreciate the absurdity of Halloween costume regulation *to this degree* and the fact that, in some places, its actually not too far off in terms of what is actually happening; no one (or should I say, no sane and fair person) will question your liberal bona fides or allege that a laugh constitutes endorsement of explicitly and blatantly racist costumes in other contexts. Take, the, stick, out, of, your, ass. If university diktats regarding halloween costumes (and the self-seriousness with which they are handed down) aren’t an appropriate target for satire nothing is, and recognising as much has little, even nothing, to do with left/right politics.

    • whiskeydent | October 31, 2018 at 3:06 pm |

      The piece is a jab at political correctness, which is an over-zealous and often dumb way to fight bigotry and racism. I get that. It might be funny some other time. But this comes just a few days after a gunman killed 11 Jews practicing their religion in a synogogue. Find the satire in that.

  13. Old School Tie | October 31, 2018 at 3:01 pm |

    Benedict Craven – now here we have a case of nominal determinism if ever there were one….

  14. @whiskeydent

    There is absolutely none, on that point we can most certainly agree.

    I guess this is my issue, though — that now something like ‘political correctness’ has become about ‘teams’, such that irrespective of particular content in a specific instance, any ‘griping’ about political correctness automatically places one on the ‘wrong team’. Writing off legitimate criticisms about genuinely offensive speech as ‘mere political correctness’ is stupid and dangerous; as is committed self-seriousness and obtuse moralising in the face of *clear and harmless satire*. Good god man, let’s maintain our ability to distinguish between the two, and not reduce anything and everything to this broader ‘war’ people seem to believe is afoot.

  15. whiskeydent | October 31, 2018 at 3:29 pm |

    Note that I wrote that PC can be dumb and worthy of mocking at some other time. I put no one on a team, and don’t like how that happens as well. However, PC doesn’t cause violence. Bigotry and racism have a long history of doing just that. And joking about attempts to fight bigotry a few days after one of these violent events is, at minimum, not tasteful or funny.

  16. @whiskeydent

    I honestly just don’t see the connection between the two. Which is to say, I don’t see how the above piece in any way legitimises ‘racism & bigotry’ by satirising the absurdity of costume policing on Halloween. For what it’s worth, it appears to me to be ‘joking’ about incredibly stupid and self-satisfied ‘white people’. The only demographic, I submit, that could possibly find any fault with it. (‘Doth protest,’ etc. etc.)

  17. @whiskeydent

    That said, in re-reading your response, it was measured and fair. And your point re Pittsburgh is well taken, I hope you don’t take my arguments as overly-strident. We can all agree these are strange and in many ways sad times.

  18. whiskeydent | October 31, 2018 at 3:55 pm |

    Thank you. And we do live in very strange times. I sometimes feel like I’m actually in a Monty Python movie and the weird cartoon animation is coming any second.

  19. Evan Everhart | October 31, 2018 at 8:46 pm |

    I laughed. This is genuinely funny and anyone who is trying to draw some tortuous connection between this entertaining satire and the horrors perpetrated by an anti semite or any other monster out there is sincerely performing some inductive and deductive gymnastics of the first water as the two things are wholly mutually exclusive. Meaning that deductive and inductive logic are not being applied here. Maybe you don’t feel like laughing after that Evil man murdered some of my Jewish bretheren, but while these deaths don’t make me feel like laughing, I appreciate the laughter that breaks up the monotonously morose litany of thoughts which are otherwise marching through my mind at this moment. Laughter is the best medicine, and this fills the prescription.

  20. MacMcConnell | October 31, 2018 at 8:56 pm |

    “Laughter is the best medicine, and this fills the prescription.” I agree, but the problem is we are not allowed to laugh anymore.

  21. Bravo on another satire, Christian. I look forward to them each Halloween.

  22. @VEA
    Thank you for the bravo, but I have to push back a bit. There needs to be a way to discuss what policies help in the battle against bigotry and those that don’t. Too often, minor and/or accidental offenses are attacked with the same fervor as major ones. That can lead to situations in which, for one example (that might get me in trouble), sexist language generates the same level of scorn as sexual assault. One is offensive. The other is violent, life-changing, and perhaps even deadly. People need to be able to navigate these treacherous waters without it so quickly sinking into name-calling.

  23. whiskeydent | November 1, 2018 at 2:42 pm |


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