Monday, November 12, 2012

Vicky's in Trouble

Model Karlie Kloss (left) set off some controversy when she walked the runway wearing a Native American headdress (also called a war bonnet), a culturally insensitive faux pas that led the company to pull the footage of the offending outfit from its planned Dec. 4 broadcast.

Several Native American groups called the lingerie company out for the blunder. Native Appropriations, a blog covering imagery of indigenous cultures, accused the retailer of "egregious cultural appropriation, stereotyping, and marginalizing of Native peoples." Ruth Hopkins, a columnist for a Native American news site, wrote that "after years of patronage and loyalty to the Victoria's Secret brand, I am repaid with the mean-spirited, disrespectful trivialization of my blood ancestry and the proud Native identity I work hard to instill in my children." Putting a headdress on a white model is particularly offensive, she wrote, because among the Sioux tribe, war bonnets are exclusively worn by men, with each feather symbolizing an act of valor.

Well, now you're in trouble.  Don't go trivializing war bonnets by putting them on white women.  It seems that the same people who gave "years of patronage" to Victoria's Secret are now asking to be patronized.  Really, Ruth - you instill your children with the pride of wearing a headdress and fighting?  What a proud tradition to pass along to your kids.  Hatchets and war paint for Christmas around your house?

We just emerged from a holiday that we white people call Halloween.  Around the country (and even in New Jersey) millions of kids donned costumes of all sorts that either mocked or emulated some culture or another.  Some of them fictitious and others factual.  Where was your native Appropriations blog to chase kids around dressed up like little Indians?

Perhaps you are only offended when it's a big-time TV show and you can make a name for yourself by becoming a National Pain in the Ass?

That's it, isn't it?  You find an easy target and launch an assault.  The low-hanging fruit of political correctness.  Most of us are sick of having to constantly look over our shoulders for those of you with clipboards and agendas.  The bigger problem is that companies like Victoria's Secret kowtow to your wishes, when what they should say is "Shut up and sit down."

The reason things like this are news is because companies think that the rest of America cares.