Controversial ‘Anna Rexia’ Halloween Costume Dubbed Offensive and Insensitive to Eating Disorders

People have been dressing up in comedy fat-people costumes for years – ooo look at the funny obese person – ha ha ha ho ho ho, wobbly wobbly blah blah. Halloween costumes generally range from witches and ghosts to serial killers and people adorned with unfortunately fake hatchet wounds to the cortex. But all of a sudden, some priggish folk somewhere have got a bit uppity and deemed a Halloween costume entitled ‘Anna Rexia’ as tasteless and controversial.

A tasteless Halloween costume?! What next?

[adsense]Perhaps because I’m a sick and twisted Brit, I always think that everything has a funny side and that nothing should be taken too seriously – even death and the theft of public money. Joking about something, however serious that something might be is part of the human condition. It’s our way of coping. Like gallows humor. Oh I’m about to be hanged –  LOL.

When it comes to celebrations, I’ve never thought of Halloween as a tasteful festival. It’s all about death, death and death, and death is only one of the side effects of anorexia, unlike being eaten by zombies or being cheese-wired by a ghoul, which both have pretty high mortality rates. A costume that [sort of] depicts the disease is certainly not glamorizing it.

Eating disorders are killers and victims of the disease should definitely not be mocked, but I’m not sure that is what is going on here. Sure, it’s in poor taste, but that is just so Halloween.  Witches, fiends, murderers, murderer’s victims, arch villains, body dysmorphia sufferers – Halloween has always been a mixed bag.

People go to fancy dress parties as Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, George W Bush and Sarah Jessica-Parker. Just proving what an insipid and insensitive bunch of gits we are.

The costume itself is as trashy as they come – a revealing low-cut, tight-fitting, short black dress with a tape measure belt. It looks like a cheap slutty skeleton costume with a tape measure around the waist. Without the name ‘Anna Rexia’ it would be unlikely to be deemed controversial at all.

Anna Rexia - Halloween serial killer costume

Anna Rexia - serial killer costume is in very good taste.

But the National Eating Disorders Association is ‘disgusted’ all the same, according to Jenn Harris of The Times.

“It’s disgusting [told you] that people have a costume about a potentially life-threatening illness,” said Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the organization. “It’s like a costume about people with malignant tumors. The designers of this costume should see an 8-year-old girl on a feeding tube.”

It’s not really the same is it?

“I’m just appalled because eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness,” concurred Trish Jones-Bendel at National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.  Adding: “Depending on the rates, and how long people have had the disorder, mortality can be from 10 to 15 percent. There are also high suicide rates with people that have anorexia. There’s not a system of the body that it does not impact.”

Obesity is a big killer too but people have been mocking fatties since humour began.

Anna Rexia halloween costume

Anna Rexia: Trick or Treat?

I understand that Grefe & co has the interests of anorexics everywhere at heart and want to protect them and they should be praised for the work they do, I’m an ex-anorexic myself, but if they really want to be genuinely horrified, then perhaps they should be focussing their gaze a little beyond Halloween at the entire media including the music, modelling, film, television, fashion and dance industries – where anorexia is not only encouraged but glorified.

There is something glorious about the gallows humour. Wearing a smile in the face of adversity and being able to laugh at yourself can help you through your darkest times.

Anna Rexia

Anorexia: not particularly funny

I think this is more the case of a trashy costume named thoughtlessly. There are more important things to worry about. Grefe’s overreaction to this costume reminds me of the Guardia Civil (the police) in Spain who sit upon hills with binoculars waiting to catch the perpetrators of some of the most vicious criminals in Europe – dog owners walking their hairy progeny on beaches, whilst all around them petty crime and vehicle theft is rife. Perhaps Grefe should be lobbying the media to be a little bit more responsible with the images that they are feeding diminutive females, rather than concentrating on this dodgy costume that would have only sold fifty units to some half-witted skanky bints if it wasn’t for the National Eating Disorders Association bringing it to everybody’s attention.

Eating disorders are not a laughing matter, but in a celebration that commemorates serial killers and the undead – it will appear somewhat inoffensive to all but the over sensitive. The costume isn’t funny but it’s really no big deal either.

Anorexia victim

Anorexia is no laughing matter.

NYC’s Ricky’s, home of gaudy wigs, make-up and accessories for girls who like their style garish have already pulled the item, but needless to say, the item is still available in Britain where we generally take our humour black with no sugar and where we still celebrate one man’s attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament by burning human effigies atop massive bonfires once a year.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jurrasica Parker

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Samhainophobia: the fear of Halloween

Halloween is one of the spookiest times of the year, but some of us get a little more creeped out than others over the holiday that stems from the Celtic festival of Samhain.

Does the Halloween season leave you paralyzed with fear? Does the sight of evil-looking grinning jack-o’-lanterns  leave you trembling? Do the “trick or treating” children clad as monsters, ghosts and witches leave you nauseous with anxiety and fearing that they might do something frightful to you or your home, or even worse, that the vampires and skeletons outside your window are real?

If you are more inclined to bolt your door – with the curtains drawn and lights dimmed on the night of October 31st – than to join the Jack the Rippers and Freddy Krugers collecting candy and throwing eggs, then you may be one of thousands suffering from Samhainophobia, the irrational and persitent fear of Halloween.

This time of year can also intensify a host of existing phobias, including the fear of  spiders (arachnophobia), cats (ailurophobia), witches (wiccaphobia), the dark (nyctophobia), cemetaries (coimetrophobia), tombstones (placophobia) and crowded spaces (agoraphobia).

Do you know anyone suffering from Samhainophobia?

Or have you been on the receiving end of some trick or treating that has left you fuming and with a strong dislike of Halloween? Take a friend of mine, for example, who developed an intense and persistent hate of the holiday after a group of kids slashed his bike tires when he didn’t hear them ringing the doorbell to have their stash of candy topped up.

Do you have any horror Halloween stories to share?

Christina Ricci is one of many celebrities suffering from a Halloween-related phobia, plasmophobia: the fear of ghosts. Other celebrities who have phobias include Woody AllenBilly Bob Thornton and Justin Timberlake.

Read our spine-chilling article about zombies: Could the Walking Dead become a reality?

Images: Wikimedia Commons andhttp://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1306743

This Halloween, Google remembers Scooby-Doo creators

Scooby-Doo’s legendary voice was created by Don Messick, who died of a stroke in 1997. This halloween, Google honours his achievement through a series of seasonal doodles.

Don Messick was one of the most prolific voice actors of the 20th century. Apart from working on Scooby-Doo, the show’s eponymous talking dog, he also voiced other kids’ cartoon icons such as Papa Smurf, Ranger Smith, Boo Boo Bear and Astro.

Messick was born in New York in 1926. At first, the youngster wanted to be a ventriloquist – a stage performer who manipulates his or her own voice to make it look like it is coming from somewhere else, usually using a puppet as a prop – and supported himself being one for a time. He later recalled memories from his childhood when he started hearing voices. Then people around his began hearing those voices too. A doctor eventually deduced that these voices were coming from Messick, who was unconsciously talking to himself and others. “The doctor said, “’Lots of people talk without saying anything, but you’re a freak.  You say things without even talking.’ He told me to gargle with pink ink.  Instead, I got myself a wooden partner and became a ventriloquist,“ Povonline cites.

His big break came in the mid-1940s when he was suddenly asked to step in as the voice of Droopy Dog, due to the original actor’s illness. When Bill Thompson left the production around 10 years later, Massick was asked to take over.

Between 1957 and 1965, Messick worked with fellow voice actor Daws Butler for Hanna-Barbera cartoon production unit. It was in these years that he voiced Boo Boo Bear, Ranger Smith and Astro.

He was cast as Scooby-Doo in 1989 and the role would remain his best known. He voiced the Great Dane through numerous TV shows, four films and and several commercials. He later also took on the role of Scrappy-Doo, Scooby’s nephew.

In 1981 he started voicing Papa Smurf, from hit cartoon Smurfs. Around this time, he did various bits of work on The Jetsons, The Transformers, Duck Factory as well as returning to his old-time role of Droopy for Tom and Jerry Kids.

In 1996, Messick suffered a stroke while recording. He turned pale and muttered, “I can’t do this anymore,” stumbled out and went home.

Povonline cites another actor who was there at time and said, “If it had been anyone else, we’d have figured the guy had the flu or he had a hangover or something.  But for Don Messick to not finish a job…we all started crying because we knew it had to be something very, very bad.”

The following day, Messick’s agent phoned around to say the star had retired and that other actors should be cast in his role. At a retirement party held a couple of months later, the actor’s speech was slurred due to the stroke, yet he could still make the Scooby-Doo noises and wore a tie with the dog on it.

Messick suffered a second stroke and died on October 27 1997 aged 71. A former colleague remarked: “He was a true gentleman, a true professional, and he did his job as well as humanly possible.  And maybe just a little bit better than that, even.“

So as we celebrate Halloween this year, let’s remember some of the greats without whom our lives would have been a lot duller.

Other celebrities who have suffered strokes include Britain’s ex-PM Margaret Thatcher, comic actor Norman Wisdom and actress Rue McClanahan.

Images: Silmara Viltem on Picasa Web Albums and Andy Liang on Flikr