Faux Victorian couple ejected from Butchart Gardens for fancy attire

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/18/faux-victorian-couple-ejected.html


Booooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Let them in.

Wonder how they’d feel about some Amish folk coming to visit? What exactly is a costume?


Being connoisseurs of the Victorian era, only a tincture of opium could calm them down enough to go back to contracting syphilis.


It clearly says “Costumes of any sort”. I’m slightly surprised to find it is a naturist resort, but I guess rules are rules. If they wanted to go in, they just needed to do like everybody else and take all their clothes off.

a style of dress, including accessories and hairdos, especially that peculiar to a nation, region, group, or historical period.
dress or garb characteristic of another period, place, person, etc., as worn on the stage or at balls.
fashion of dress appropriate to a particular occasion or season:
dancing costume; winter costume.
a set of garments, especially women’s garments, selected for wear at a single time; outfit; ensemble.”


“Refrain” <> “Not allowed under any circumstance”, IMHO.

I have a similar problem with the word “guideline”. It doesn’t mean “inviolable rule”.


The couple were not wearing costumes, but Period Attire. Vintage-style clothing. They were in VICTORIA. Crystal Gardens, Craigdarroch Castle, Parliament Buildings.

(At my local post office last year, I did see a flaneur in a bowler, ascot and monocle. My knees went weak, and I knew nothing but bliss and serendipity for the rest of the day.

Edit: GD it, now I have the creativity itch to take postcards of Butchart Gardens and paste Wondermark characters on them.)


That’s funny, because I was thinking the same thing about the Amish.

But that is where the fine line between fashion and costume.

I mean, maybe you wear a toga or a bat man suit everyday - that is who you are. But it is still a costume.

What is the tipping point between western wear, and western costume?

What about like a tux and a fancy dress? Technically weddings are in costume… I bet they have wedding photos there all the time.

Eh, I get the point of the rule, it seems like overly formal dress shouldn’t be lumped into comic con rejects.


First thing I thought of:


I was really hesitant to make this leap because the story is about a white couple who are choosing to dress this way as an experiment, but then reading the super broad dictionary definition of costume, and now I’m back to thinking about some other individuals out there belonging to indigenous groups or certain religions. The policy is so vague that it could easily be used to discriminate against them as well.


“For the enjoyment and safety of all visitors, and to preserve our
tranquil atmosphere, the Butchart Gardens joins many international
attractions … in not permitting costumes or masks to be worn on-site.”

TLDR: Sorry, Not sorry


But HAS it been? I suspect we’d have heard about it, if so.

I can appreciate the difficulty in drawing a perfect, unambiguous definitional line between Amish garb and Victorian cosplay (and all other “costumes”), especially one that will satisfy all concerned with no edge cases or unintended consequences. That doesn’t mean that the intent behind the rule is somehow permanently opaque or impossible to apply in a nondiscriminatory or reasonable fashion.

The rule is probably unnecessary in the first place, but I’m having a hard time accepting these two individuals as a persecuted minority or whatever the dress-up equivalent of a prisoner of conscience is.


Because if there’s one thing the Amish know how to do, it’s leverage social media to mobilize internet shaming campaigns.


So, what year, exactly, is Butchart Gardens “costume” cut off? 80’s? 70’s? 60’s?

Are t-shirts under Armani jackets banned? Bell bottoms? Poodle skirts?


The idea that the Amish are somehow disconnected from the world, and ignorant of what the internets are saying about them, falls apart pretty fast if you ever talk to them. I’d guess that on the whole they could correctly answer more quiz questions about social media than most non-Amish could about how the Amish spend their days.

But since there aren’t a lot of Amish within a thousand miles of this park, my real point is that if this is the kind of “costume” policy that’s really meant to keep out people of color, or teenagers, or the other usual suspects–and there are plenty of places where exactly that happens–it’s not really the sort of thing you can keep secret. In fact, the whole point of genuinely discriminatory policies like that is to be very clear: if you show up here looking too poor/black/young/etc. we’ll find a pretext to throw you out. If anyone’s saying that’s what this park is about, I haven’t heard it yet.


Exactly. How anachronistic is too much so? So topper is out, what about a fedora?

What about garb of religious minorities? Would they forbid Hasidim, who essentially wear Victorian garb? Of course the nuclear option is the Burka.


Perhaps the unstated yet unassailable thought process is the ever-favourite “feels” as in "I’ll know it when I see it!"
Remember feelings are more important than fact! They don’t need to be defended and asking for them to be justified is completely unthinkable!


It clearly says “Costumes of any sort”.

Don’t dress like a Frog?


I’m really curious what happened that made them add this policy. Furries frolicking in the flower beds?


Yes.:slight_smile: Great and wonderful isn’t it?