This assignment reminded me of just how terrible women's Halloween costumes are, but it also gave me a lot of food for thought. There are four images that I didn't include in my collage, but before I get to them, let's see the ones that I found.
The Day of the Dead Costume - the Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that celebrates friends and family that have passed on. The art is very beautiful and significant culturally, but yet the costume doesn't respect any of the heritage. On top of that, it's made to accentuate the female figure, which is not at all related to the holiday itself and is rather disrespectful.
The Nerd Costume Kit - the stereotype of the badly dressed awkward nerd is still being perpetuated here, but what's being reappropriated is the fashion itself - the bow tie and suspenders are still considered parts of men's formal fashion, but it's being used as a cartoon exaggeration.
The Yin-Yang Sweater - Yin and yang are the concept of complementary forces in Chinese philosophy, but here they're just a string of symbols used in the sweater.
Veggie Sticks - The natural parts of vegetables have been stripped away by the processed snack, but the brand decided to play to the vegetable origins of the snack by styling it in flower pots to evoke the plant imagery.
Pumpkin Pie Chai Mix - chai is the Hindi word for tea and the word itself is derived from Mandarin, but that's been used in American culture to mean tea drinks. This particular box however is using Indian patterns and designs, but there's nothing remotely Indian about this mix.
Coca Cola Life - I really had to see it for myself. Coca Cola is playing up the fact that it's using natural sweeteners (stevia and cane sugar) with the green label/white text and the flowing font, but the fact is that the drink itself is full of all kinds of chemicals. There's nothing 'life'like about this drink.
Microsoft Mouse - the pattern on the mouse is derived from Native American geometric patterns.
Scarab Earrings - the particular design of the scarabs are from Egyptian art and was used as a sacred symbol, but now is a fashion piece
And then finally I have the last four images, courtesy of Urban Outfitters, of sweatshirts with Disney and Marvel characters on them. Now on the one hand, these are pretty different from the type of gear you get from either brand and its tough to find ladies' gear for both (especially Marvel). On the other, both exercise so much control over their brand that there is no way Urban Outfitters made these without permission. So are these pieces co-opted? Comics have been adapted into the mainstream in the past few years, but are these pieces are considered 'authentic' since they come from a decidedly not authentic provider? The original context isn't lost per se - one could argue that they use the old Marvel comic art. So I wasn't sure and left these off.