Throughout America up to present day, we have used stereotypes of Native Americans to form icons/images in our society, such as a team mascot (Cleveland Indians). But more recently, Victoria Secret held its annual fashion show in which a model was dressed as a Native American, wearing a full head to toe feathered headdress. Although it is just sexy lingerie, as many men claim and that they need to just get over it’, many Native Americans have come forth and described the event offensive – since the feathered headdress is symbolic of respect and has “to be earned through an act of compassion or bravery”.
Yes, both Victoria Secret and the model had apologized but, the fact of the principle has left a debate brewing amongst many. Some people have complimented Victoria Secret on its creativity saying that the photo is ‘hot’ (like the blogger on the website I provided) and that dressing as a Native American is actually supporting them (such as a fan dressing up to support their team or an individual wearing a country’s iconic image on independence day).
However, others are debating that no matter how stunning the model is, we easily identified her as wearing Native American styled clothing, meaning that we are continuing the ‘modern day’ form of racism: Navajo Nation spokesman Erny Zah said in an interview Monday. “Any mockery, whether it’s Halloween, Victoria’s Secret — they are spitting on us. They are spitting on our culture, and it’s upsetting”. Jennie Luna, who is Chicana and Caxcan, has also stated that “We are people; we’re not a fashion statement,” and that “We . . . are facing serious issues, and for them to further perpetuate the type of stereotypes and disregard for a community’s way of life is unacceptable.”
Judge for yourself –