Tuesday, October 1, 2013

dia de los muertos masks: Fun project happenings.

Hey my little Pumpkins. I am kicking off Halloween on the blog today because it is officially October. Can I get a woowhooooo? I spent the weekend working on some fun dia de los muertos masks to add to my Halloween decor collection this year.




I am smitten with them because they are perfectly, imperfect. I purchased the paper mache skeleton masks at Michael's for only $1.99. After covering it with a light layer of white spray paint I simply busted out the sharpie & acrylic paint and went to town on them 'adult coloring project- style'.

So now I am left finding a place to display these bad boys this Halloween. Not a bad problem to have. I hope you are all having a fantastic week. Don't forget it's the last day to enter to win the amazing necklace giveaway & the winner will be announced tomorrow.

Now I am off to hang more webs and get covered in more black and orange glitter. I LOVE this time of year. Eeeeekkkk!

22 comments:

  1. Argh. I'm going to go ahead and assume that you are one of the many, many well intentioned people who are just totally uninformed about the actual meaning of Dia de los Muertos to the cultures that celebrate it. It is NOT Halloween. Rather, this is a sacred (you might even say holy) ceremony/ritual/day that is deeply meaningful to those who observe it. "Fun" sugar skulls as costumes, tattoos, and even decorations are racial and religious appropriation and generally kiiiiind of offensive. For more information on this, just google "dia de los muertos and white people." More eloquent explanations than mine should be plentiful.

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    1. I appreciate this comment and I am sorry if you feel I was making light of a sacred day. Being from Texas, I grew up with people wearing Dia de los Muertos masks as part of Halloween costumes. This is just my take on the beauty that I find in all of these masks and I removed Halloween from the title. I am just being me and displaying my life on the blog for all to see. Sometimes it can be hard to be judged for it. Best of luck & I hope you understand I was not trying to be offensive.
      Thanks

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    2. I commented because I did understand that you were not TRYING to be offensive, actually. If I thought you were just disinterested in the offense, I would have un-followed instead of commenting. Dia de los Muertos is one of those things that is incredibly sacred and significant to indigenous populations and has been appropriated by white people because it is "neat" and "fun" and "looks cool." However, there have been a LOT of people from these indigenous populations standing up and sharing how upsetting and offensive it is when sugar skulls are appropriated by white people for use as decoration, "art", and costumes.

      The problem is that real sugar skulls, as I understand it, are not just an "adult coloring project" but are specifically designed with colors and symbols that are specific to the dead child or relative that the person is honoring that day. It is a *very specific and sacred* cultural expression. You say that you've been seeing them as part of halloween costumes--THAT is also representative of our white culture's offensive entitlement to appropriate other cultures to make "costumes" out of, such as geisha costumes, "Mexican" costumes, "Indian warrior/girl" costumes, "hula girl" costumes, etc. Just because something is pretty and cool does not mean we are entitled to remove it from its important context and do whatever the hell we want with it and then just lalalala the offense away.

      I am not Mexican and I do not celebrate Dia de los Muertos. I have, however, read enough work from the cultures that DO celebrate it to know that when white people use these symbols because of how fun and cool they are, it can cause deep hurt, offense, and feelings of racial discrimination. However, I did NOT know that, or the history of the day, until I read this work and explored it a little more. My comments are not meant to judge you, rather they are meant to educate you as I was educated, and to challenge your belief that your desire to decorate with something is more important than or separate from the feelings of people whose holy and widely misunderstood sacred cultural traditions you've just half-assedly replicated with a sharpie in a halloween decorating post.

      In other words, racism is systemic. White culture is valued in our country above all other cultures. "Non-white" cultures are dismissed, fetishized, and appropriated out of context on a daily basis, which is all often justified by saying it's just "my take on the beauty"--this justification hand-waves racism away and shifts the focus away from what's truly important. We do NOT have to be actively shouting racial slurs at anyone to be propping up an inherently racist system. It takes work and constant self-examination to be NOT racist and to NOT support racist culture. This post DOES support racist culture, even though you are not using hate language.

      This got very long. The point is, I was trying to let you know that this post and the general white trend of appropriating Dia de los Muertos without research or concern for the voices of the indigenous people who are being vocal about how hurtful this appropriation is was problematic. I honestly do understand how difficult it is to do this work, which happens entirely inside, and to step outside of the status quo. I think you're a great lady, though, and I fully believe that if you do some of this research and work, you WILL realize the problems bundled up in these appropriations and start to realize what an unpleasantly racist holiday Halloween can become.

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    3. Thank you for taking the time to be heard and sharing your research. I have a lot of respect for you and appreciate the thoughts. xoxoxo

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  2. hey courtney - i AM half mexican, and we DO celebrate dia de los muertos in my family, and i just have to say that no offense was taken (personally) by your post. i think your masks turned out wonderfully, and just as my non-Christian friends still celebrate Christmas (with no complaints from little ol' Catholic me!) you, too, can celebrate this holiday as you see fit.

    life is WAY too short to spend arguing over trifles such as this. rather, let's just embrace each others cultures and learn to live our lives with love.

    many love and blessings to you and your sweet family!
    tania

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  3. Thank you for the great idea. I had a wonderful night working on these side by side with my 10 year old daughter. We also picked up a headstone for my 5 year old son - he usually doesn't like painting but mixing white and black to make grey and the 'messy' look suited his skill level. Thanks for the inspiration! ~Jamie

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