When is pop culture going to stop using traditional Native American clothing as glorified dress-up garb? Apparently, not anytime soon.
The latest offender is Victoria's Secret, who this past Saturday issued an apology for sending model Karlie Kloss down the runway in a floor-length native-style headdress, fringed bikini and high-heeled moccasins. The outfit was part of Victoria Secret's annual fashion show, which will air in December. Once pictures of the show hit the web, it didn't take long for the predictable backlash to ensue.
Commenter Jacqueline C. Wachell wrote:
"As a Native Women (sic), I want to share how disappointed I am in your lack of Cultural respect of traditional sacred items and our women in general. Native women have the highest rate of sexual related murder on the continent. Thank you for further promotion of this violent act against our women!!"
On Saturday, Victoria's Secret responded with the following apology.
"We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way."
That apology has almost 5,000 comments, among them this one, from Dr. Robert Lame Bull McDonald, a California physician.
"Thank you Victoria's Secret but I was hoping for a little more than an apology about the headdress. How about hiring a Native American marketing professional to educate your entire staff about cultural competency. The facts are heartbreaking that you would think it was appropriate to have a model parade around your stage in sex attire based on my Native Culture and not think twice about it until multiple complaints came in from around the world. This speaks volumes about your cultural competency."
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Kloss made her own apology via Twitter.
"I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone. I support VS's decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast."
This incident comes mere days after the band No Doubt pulled their most recent music video due to complaints about Gwen Stefani's sexy Native outfit.
And who can forget GAP's extremely ill-advised "Manifest Destiny" T-shirt? Designed by Mark McNairy, the shirt was yanked from store shelves as soon as people started pointing out that the phrase refers to the early European mentality of complete colonization and annihilation of North America's First Nation peoples.
So, to sum up: enough with the sexy native outfits, fashion world. It's not like we're seeing a whole lot of sexy priest or pope outfits on the runway or in music videos, and really, what's the difference?
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