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Furor over Native American Fashion Costume

by Vorde
Tags: american, costume, fashion, furor, native
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lisab
#37
Nov14-12, 09:37 AM
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There's a distinction between an homage and a caricature. First off, the whole purpose of this ad is to sell something, so there's really no room for a true homage, IMO.

On Halloween 1999, my ex dressed up as the Y2K bug. It was funny and clever.

Dressing up as a waffle would be funny and weird.

Dressing up as a...race? wth?
Ivan Seeking
#38
Nov14-12, 09:42 AM
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Quote Quote by lisab View Post
There's a distinction between an homage and a caricature. First off, the whole purpose of this ad is to sell something, so there's really no room for a true homage, IMO.

On Halloween 1999, my ex dressed up as the Y2K bug. It was funny and clever.

Dressing up as a waffle would be funny and weird.

Dressing up as a...race? wth?
But it is a costume worn by a race, not a race issue. I don't think someone dressing up as the pope or a witch is offensive either. So I guess I just don't get the religious bit.

Shouldn't members of wicca be offended by the caricature of witches?
Monique
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Nov14-12, 09:54 AM
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Quote Quote by lisab View Post
Dressing up as a...race? wth?
If I'd wear a bowler, I'd insult the English.
If I'd wear a ushanka, I'd insult the Russians.
If I'd wear a baseball cap, I'd insult the Americans.
If I'd wear a straw hat, I'd insult the Amish.
If I'd wear a conical hat, I'd insult the Asians.
If I'd wear a turban, I'd insult the Islam/Sikh/Rastafari/Jewish communities.
If I'd wear a sombrero, I'd insult the Mexicans.
If I'd wear a tam, I'd insult the Scottish.
If I'd wear a Greek fisherman's cap, I'd insult the Greek.
If I'd wear a fez, I'd insult the Mediterranean people.
If I'd wear a cowboy hat, I'd insult the Texans.
If I'd wear a Aussie bush hat, I'd insult the Austrians.
If I'd wear a beret, I'd insult the French.

I guess there is only one thing left for me to wear:


Now that's called stereotyping.

People should be free to wear what they're comfortable in and not be labeled as insulting other religions/cultures because of it: it's called tolerance.
lisab
#40
Nov14-12, 09:57 AM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
But it is a costume worn by a race, not a race issue. I don't think someone dressing up as the pope or a witch is offensive either. So I guess I just don't get the religious bit.

Shouldn't members of wicca be offended by the caricature of witches?
I have no idea if a real witch would be offended by a 'typical' witch costume - perhaps she'd see it as a teachable moment?
Ivan Seeking
#41
Nov14-12, 10:07 AM
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Quote Quote by lisab View Post
I have no idea if a real witch would be offended by a 'typical' witch costume - perhaps she'd see it as a teachable moment?
Well, wicca is a religion. And the members are witches. So how is this not a religious issue? Why are witches fair game but not Native American religions?
russ_watters
#42
Nov14-12, 10:08 AM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
Shouldn't members of wicca be offended by the caricature of witches?
I know a few. They aren't offended by anything.

Lisa: homage or caricature? Neither.

I would argue that the word caricature is being misapplied here. A caricature is an intentionally negative exaggerated depiction and halloween costumes and leopard print bras are not typically intended for that. Kids don't dress up as Indians and firemen on halloween because they are trying to be insulting, they just like playing make believe.
russ_watters
#43
Nov14-12, 10:14 AM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
Well, wicca is a religion. And the members are witches. So how is this not a religious issue? Why are witches fair game but not Native American religions?
It is strictly an issue of volume.
WannabeNewton
#44
Nov14-12, 10:28 AM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
People have way too much time to sit around and be offended.
I couldn't agree more mate.
zoobyshoe
#45
Nov14-12, 12:43 PM
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I guess I'm the only one here who can explain the Native American reaction.

The so-called "War Bonnet" was not an ornament. Each feather was earned by an act of bravery in battle, especially one of "counting coup", which entailed riding very close to an enemy armed with nothing but a stick, whacking him with the stick, and making it away with your life and limbs intact. A feather could also be earned by killing an enemy, or by stealing enemy horses from under their noses, that sort of thing. The closest thing we have to this are military decorations: the purple heart, medal of honor, etc.

A Plains Indian wearing a full war bonnet was displaying a lifetime of military courage in many battles. They tended, of course, to be the elders therefore, and would have represented the Indian equivalent of the very highest ranking officers.

The feathers come from the tail of the Golden Eagle (not the Bald). There's a whole procedure for catching a Golden Eagle to get its tail feathers that requires spiritual preparation and purification, etc. They didn't just go out and shoot one with an arrow, like hunting for food. The feathers are then closely guarded by shamen until someone earns one, and there must be a meeting of war leaders and a kind of inquest with witnesses to make sure the brave deed actually happened as claimed.

The other incredibly offensive thing arises from the fact that Native Americans, in general, are vastly more modest about sex and sexual issues than the average church-going white person. Most of their cultures have a vast network of sexual taboos. In other words, the bulk of Native Americans were nothing like the Polynesians. If a Native American woman appeared in public in something like a bikini everyone present would have just about died of shame and guilt.

So, as the woman in the article said, this VS outfit sends about every culturally wrong message about Native Americans it could. It should be obvious that people just don't like being grossly misrepresented.
Vorde
#46
Nov14-12, 12:55 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
The other incredibly offensive thing arises from the fact that Native Americans, in general, are vastly more modest about sex and sexual issues than the average church-going white person. Most of their cultures have a vast network of sexual taboos. In other words, the bulk of Native Americans were nothing like the Polynesians. If a Native American woman appeared in public in something like a bikini everyone present would have just about died of shame and guilt.
But yet I've seen 'sexy' nun costumes on numerous occasions, with no negative response. What would you say the difference there is? Or would you say a negative reaction in the nun case would be equally justified?
rootX
#47
Nov14-12, 12:57 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
I guess I'm the only one here who can explain the Native American reaction.

The so-called "War Bonnet" was not an ornament. Each feather was earned by an act of bravery in battle, especially one of "counting coup", which entailed riding very close to an enemy armed with nothing but a stick, whacking him with the stick, and making it away with your life and limbs intact. A feather could also be earned by killing an enemy, or by stealing enemy horses from under their noses, that sort of thing. The closest thing we have to this are military decorations: the purple heart, medal of honor, etc.

A Plains Indian wearing a full war bonnet was displaying a lifetime of military courage in many battles. They tended, of course, to be the elders therefore, and would have represented the Indian equivalent of the very highest ranking officers.

The feathers come from the tail of the Golden Eagle (not the Bald). There's a whole procedure for catching a Golden Eagle to get its tail feathers that requires spiritual preparation and purification, etc. They didn't just go out and shoot one with an arrow, like hunting for food. The feathers are then closely guarded by shamen until someone earns one, and there must be a meeting of war leaders and a kind of inquest with witnesses to make sure the brave deed actually happened as claimed.

The other incredibly offensive thing arises from the fact that Native Americans, in general, are vastly more modest about sex and sexual issues than the average church-going white person. Most of their cultures have a vast network of sexual taboos. In other words, the bulk of Native Americans were nothing like the Polynesians. If a Native American woman appeared in public in something like a bikini everyone present would have just about died of shame and guilt.

So, as the woman in the article said, this VS outfit sends about every culturally wrong message about Native Americans it could. It should be obvious that people just don't like being grossly misrepresented.
I had some general idea about earning those feathers. I feel it's being ignorant calling "War Bonnet" a piece of decoration or piece of ethnic clothing. Atheists/scientific minded people just appear to fail at understanding significance of cultures and cultural objects to our society IMO.
rootX
#48
Nov14-12, 01:05 PM
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Quote Quote by Vorde View Post
But yet I've seen 'sexy' nun costumes on numerous occasions, with no negative response. What would you say the difference there is? Or would you say a negative reaction in the nun case would be equally justified?
People have to aware enough to tell the difference between what's right and wrong without needing negative/positive responses.
russ_watters
#49
Nov14-12, 02:07 PM
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I'm former Navy and I've seen womens' clothing with stylized insignia including medals and rank insignia. I couldn't possibly care any less. Use of official insignia as a fashion accessory - particularly obsolete insignia - is not an insult.

People should know when they are being insulted and when they aren't.
Vorde
#50
Nov14-12, 02:27 PM
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Quote Quote by rootX View Post
People have to aware enough to tell the difference between what's right and wrong without needing negative/positive responses.
Of course, but I think this isn't a case of that. It's an issue of who you are focusing your attention towards.

For instance, as someone who's family went through the holocaust and didn't all make it through, I'm very aware of being extremely sensitive with regards to talking about that period with people who I know or suspect have connections to those events.

But I'm totally okay with, and laugh at jokes targeting the same period when performed in comedic venues like a stand up show.

Whether or not something is offensive comes largely down to who you are targeting with your comment or image or whatever.

But someone who would take offense at the scantily clothed models or the misuse of the headdress (admittedly the significance of which I did not know until zooby's post) probably isn't who is going to be watching or wearing Victoria's secret. To go further onto that, I don't think the costume was offensive in any way.

Ignorant maybe, but that's not new.
Monique
#51
Nov14-12, 02:53 PM
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Apparently even the "Native" fashion trend is pissing off "Native Americans" http://www.collectorsweekly.com/arti...ive-americans/

These people are racist in the labels they attach to people. Apparently according to these people I'm not even allowed to wear a string in my hair, because I'm "white"? (see the comment on Jessica Simpson).
zoobyshoe
#52
Nov14-12, 05:06 PM
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I think the people in this thread think Native Americans are white people with dark hair and skin and a superficial claim to an ethnic heritage, the way the rest of us say, "I'm Irish, Polish and Italian". Native Americans are a conquered people living in foreign occupied North America. We never assimilated them the way the Spanish did further south. (In Mexico and below you can't tell a person from Spanish heritage from an Indian to speak of because there was stirring and mixing of the melting pot from the get go.)

Here in North America we segregated the Natives, prevented them from being completely Native and also prevented them from becoming white. They're still here today, millions of them, in limbo on reservations. Real Native Americans who live on the rez are not Americanized in the way you all assume. They really don't quite get white culture and are living on very damaged remnants of their own former ways.

Some escape here and there, get a college education and try to act as go-betweens between the rez and the white world. There's very little progress there. They're too powerless for the white world to care what they think. No longer a force to be taken too seriously.

Quote Quote by Russ_Watters
I'm former Navy and I've seen womens' clothing with stylized insignia including medals and rank insignia. I couldn't possibly care any less. Use of official insignia as a fashion accessory - particularly obsolete insignia - is not an insult.
In determining whether or not you'd be upset don't forget that this is being done by a conquering race so firmly entrenched in your people's former territory that you know they'll never, ever be dislodged. They can misrepresent what you used to be with impunity unless you're willing to undertake the strain of a lawsuit. I'm glad Victoria's Secret responded so well just at the level of objections.
russ_watters
#53
Nov14-12, 05:26 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
In determining whether or not you'd be upset don't forget that this is being done by a conquering race so firmly entrenched in your people's former territory that you know they'll never, ever be dislodged....
I'm half German -- should my best friend, who is Jewish, hate me because of the Holocaust? For that matter, I'm a quarter English -- should I hate myself for the oppression of the crown?

This is just silliness. I've never killed a native American or Jew, nor have I quartered any troops of mine in Camden.
Native Americans are a conquered people living in foreign occupied North America.
Do they really still believe that? Given how much borders around the world have changed in the past 150 years, it is incredible to me that people would feel such a thing. It isn't like this is an active conflict.
Here in North America we segregated the Natives, prevented them from being completely Native and also prevented them from becoming white. They're still here today, millions of them, in limbo on reservations.
Nonsense. I went to high school with a guy who was half Cherokee. Mean jazz sax player (should blacks complain about him stealing their music?) and the chicks really dug the hair. They have a choice of where they want to live just like anyone else does.
They can misrepresent what you used to be with impunity unless you're willing to undertake the strain of a lawsuit.
You can copyright a name or a word, but you can't copyright history. And misrepresent? That assumes that there is a claim of accurate representation. I seriously doubt if Jessica Simpson cares if she's wearing her string "correctly".
russ_watters
#54
Nov14-12, 06:08 PM
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I know that was condescending. I have trouble not responding to absurdity with sarcasm. Let me try to be more succinct, logical and unemotional:

Is not the desire for racial and cultural purity and an anger or hatred toward those who do nothing more than violate that racial or cultural purity pretty much the entire definition of racism?


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