By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
(CNN) – They’re familiar characters in the debate over controversial Halloween costumes: suicide bombers, geishas, gangsta rappers, rednecks and sexy nurses.
Such costumes regularly draw allegations of racism, sexism or insensitivity. But where do fully-clothed folk legends fit in?
American Apparel featured characters on both ends of the spectrum this month in its annual do-it-yourself Halloween costume guide. Below a collection of pin-up girl costumes – including a model donning a breast-baring serape – was “La Llorona,” the ghostly weeping woman who kidnaps wandering children, according to folklore in parts of Latin America.
True, she was wearing a lace bustier under a shawl, but the layers upon layers make her appear more like the haunted bag lady than a sexy spirit.
It’s the folk legend’s cultural significance – and the lack of skin, save an inch of midriff – that, for some, make this costume more acceptable than sexy señoritas or Mexican tequila guy.
“One is mythology, and the other is a stereotype that comes with a lot of baggage,” said feminist blogger Veronica Arreola, assistant director of the Center for Research on Women and Gender at University of Illinois at Chicago.