So I’m going to rant here a bit. The time of year has arrived where empathy and consideration go out the window. The image on the left is an ignorant portrayal of what is supposed to be a native woman. The image on the right is in fact, a native woman.
There is no excuse for any race or culture to be compacted into a costume for one night of “fun”.
Portrayals like these strip us of our humanity.
I do not support any person who decides to make the conscious effort to perpetuate a vile act such as dressing up as something you’re not.
You are not honoring me. You do not care about me. You are not going to use my culture to spice up your dull life for a night.
I’m human. I’m native. I’m sick and tired.
Okay, but do keep in mind that “dressing up as something you’re not” is literally the point of Halloween. (Straying from what it originally was meant to be perhaps, but nonetheless, what it is today.)
I am not trying to un-justify your offense to this particular costume (it isn’t something I would ever wear) but perhaps think of it this way:
Let’s say someone, a non-native american, really likes the Disney movie ‘Pocahontas’ and wants to dress up as the titular character for Halloween. (We all know that Pocahontas isn’t exactly an accurate portrayal of the real story but let’s set that aside for now.) Or maybe even dressing up as Tiger Lily to accompany a friend’s Peter Pan costume.
Would you consider this to be racist or offensive?
You say there is no excuse for anyone to dress up in the aesthetic of any race or culture but the fact of the matter is, it happens all the time, with every kind of culture + race, and I don’t think it is ever really meant to be harmful in the way you are perceiving it. Spirit halloween is shitty for plenty of reasons though, and it shows in a lot of their costumes as well. Especially anything accompanied with the word “sexy”… and everyone knows nothing is accurately designed or portrayed. All I am trying to say is that I personally believe there are a few exceptions to your claim.
Actually, let’s talk about Pocahontas and Tiger Lily for a second
They’re both problematic characters for many reasons
I have a problem with Matoaka’s (Pocahontas’ real name) portrayal mainly because of the inaccuracy. She was a child when she met John Smith. She’s hypersexualized in her short buckskin dress and made to look like an older woman. Indeed it is not necessarily problematic to wear a costume that is 100 percent identical to the movie, but it does not sit right with me.
Tiger Lily on the otherhand, doesn’t speak throughout the entirety of her scenes.
The “Why is the Red Man Red?” segment had me squirming awkwardly everytime I would see it. It’s not fun watching blatant racism being thrown in your face at such a young age. (If you don’t think that was one of the most offensive scenes you can fuck right off)
Costumes and representations that hypersexualize and demean native women perpetuate violence. Violence among indigenous women is an epidemic that has been overlooked throughout time. Harmful stereotypes in the media play a significant part in violence amongst indigenous women.
1 in 3 native women will be raped in her lifetime. 70 percent of abusers are non-native people.
1,186 reported cases of missing indigenous women in Canada has called for a national inquiry that is STILL overlooked
Overall, this is extremely toxic. Cultural appropriation should not occur as a basis for costumes. There are so many other creative and original ideas one can muster up, but using race and culture stings like no other.