It’s heavily covered in the news, flooding our social media newsfeeds, and it seems to have everyone reaching for their hand sanitizer when someone coughs or sneezes in class. The fear and concern of the Ebola virus is on the rise as the effort to defeat this epidemic continues. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a strain of Ebola virus. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa”. This disease has affected about 10,000 people, and nearly 5,000 people have died. Clearly, this is no joking matter.
For Halloween, costume manufacturers desperately try to create a unique costume of the year, but one company has crossed the line by sexualizing this deadly disease. Online costume retailer BrandsOnSale released what they call the “Sexy Ebola Containment Suit”. The costume is being sold for $59.99 and the “sexy” getup consists of a short white nurse’s dress, face shield, breathing mask, safety goggles, and a pair of blue latex gloves. Yellow knee-high boots are also available at an additional cost. As if this could not get any worse, the website also provides a detailed costume description stating, “As the deadly Ebola virus trickles its way through the United States, fighting its disease is no reason to compromise style. The short dress and chic gas mask will be the talk of Milan, London, Paris, and New York as the world’s fashionistas seek global solutions to hazmat couture.”
When the word spread that a sexy Ebola costume was on the market, many took to social media to express their outrage. The buzz has been heard around campus as well. Many Fairfield students are having similar thoughts in reaction to this costume controversy:
Matt Turner ‘17 “Everyone has been making jokes about Ebola, including myself, but we have to realize that this is a serious disease and not a joking matter.”
Kristen Rothdeutsch ’17: “I don’t know why anyone would want to dress up as a sexy Ebola nurse, especially if it’s such a deadly disease.”
Margaret Liguori ‘16: “People all over the world are dying from this disease and I think this costume is awful and insensitive.”
It would not be surprising if the underlying motif of this controversy were a clever yet heartless attempt for the costume company to cash in on this crisis. Nor would it be surprising if this costume release were a publicity stunt to gain attention and increase Halloween costume sales. The severity of this subject matter, in which lives have been lost and are still at risk, should not be made fun of. This “fashion statement” is simply disgusting.