Disney thought it would be a great idea to sell a full-body brown-skinned Maui costume

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/22/disney-thought-it-would-be-a-g.html

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“How dare they sell a (completely unoffensive) brown skinned costume?! Racists!!” (10 minutes later) “Why are all the costumes for white people??? Racists!!!”


Seriously, they give her this face on the promotional image?

They give her the dreamworks smirk?


Maybe they wouldn’t if it didn’t work with absolutely no consequence other than the smirk existing.


At least they still sell the Caucasian versions. The male one has a tribal tattoo on one arm and barbed wire on the other, and the female has a butterfly on the lower back.

I’m going as myself for Halloween, bro.


Do inform the minorities that it is completely unoffensive – I’m not sure they’ve been told.


He’s obese?

SRSLY, I thought he was muscular or something. Big boned. Fat was never thought of.

He doesn’t look fat.

and i’m not gonna call him that… are YOU gonna call him that… imma walk over here first behind this mountain


Nobody got offended when they started selling princess Tiana dresses. The thing that makes this costume a particularly bad idea is that it represents an ethnic minority’s SKIN.

Granted, there are not a lot of options for selling costumes based on a character who wears little more than a grass skirt, but this is probably one of those things that shouldn’t be merchandised it all.


Clearly the only two possible options for Disney are white-people-stuff or blackface, because the world is an incredibly simple place.


Maybe you want to talk things over with Rakim before you post again?


This sort of thing is not without precedent.


MAYBE NSFW OR SQUEAMISH: contains real dead-people tattoo-skins sans interiors


This looks like it was a marketing nightmare:

“If we don’t produce Moana costumes and merchandise they say we’re hiding our minority characters!”

“But we can’t sell loincloths to children! They’ll say it’s lewd!”

“Make it a body suit! Then it fully covers!”

“But if we make it match our marketing demographics, they’ll say we’re whitewashing!”

If they haven’t moved to scapegoating and firing people behind this yet I wonder if they’ll try a re-release in multiple skin tones to be more sensitive. I’m prepping the popcorn.


Just in case my plans to live forever fall through, plan B is cremation. But I’ve seriously thought about using one of those tat-preserving services. I only have three, but two are fairly involved and they’re all quite good. It mostly depends on whether or not any surviving friends or family would want my framed preserved inked skin. OTOH, I’ve always treated tats as a living part of a living person, so maybe it’s best to let it all go to ashes at the end.


“I’m not sure they’ve been told”?? Who told them that they SHOULD be offended? White people? Yes, that appears to be the case per this article and the others. Was this pulled because someone of Polynesian culture was offended? I have not read that anywhere. I realize the world we live in and agree that things like blackface are a terrible thing and doubt that would ever be ok, but almost every use of blackface was accompanied by someone actually being racist. My post is only a statement about damned if you do, damned if you don’t. This costume had no ill intent behind it that I can see. In fact, I would like to believe that the many people behind making it actually believed they were celebrating the culture, as the movie does, and envisioned a world of kids of any color being able to wear it because they love the character.


Y’know, it’s perfectly ok to NOT be able to dress up as a character you like. I’m a cosplayer, you know who my favorite superhero of all time is? Storm. And I’m never going to cosplay her, because there’s just not a way I can take an iconic black comic character and make it work on a middle-aged white woman.

We’ve got 9 billion other characters we can dress as. Everything doesn’t HAVE to be available to us.


At the tattoo museum in Amsterdam, where several skins are on display, there is a notice explaining that the traditional Japanese tattoo artists would often do a work for free, as long as the skin was given to the artist after death.


They could just release a bathing suit or something in the same style.


This sounds like an unwinnable dilemma. There has been a push to have more diverse characters and more POC. Disney, one of the biggest, has heard you and is trying to expand it’s line up.

Now Disney isn’t new to this, they have had Lilo, Pocahontas, and Mulan as a few examples. Kids like to dress up and emulate their favorite characters. My kid loved Mulan when she was younger. However, in this case one of the main characters is basically naked except for a grass skirt, but his tattoos are a major part of his character. So the options would be:

  1. Don’t make a costume.
  2. Make the costume “see through”. Not sure how technically possible that would be. But then you basically have a kid naked in a “grass” skirt in October.
  3. Make the costume a lighter flesh color (you’re making it worse).
  4. Do what they did.

I think they did probably the best, least controversial option. Though it evidently is still controversial.

However, I feel we should make a clear distinction between “black/brown face” and “painting your face brown/black” or in this case wearing a brown costume.

The history of blackface is from horribly offensive mistral shows where the purpose of it were to demean, parody, and belittle black people through clown like make up and skits and songs full of buffoonery.

A kid dressing up as a character they love, even if their skin doesn’t match the original characters tone, is none of those things. Shouldn’t the context be what is important here?


Nowadays, EVERYONE is wealthy white people are offended. It’s the new physical pain that signals their virtue.


I didn’t think someone could look this bored handling a suit of human flesh. I guess it is just the same shit, different day for him.