January 11, 2009

Hudgens and "dainty" Indian women

In Vanessa Hudgens as Quileute Werewolf?!, someone claimed that Indian women can't be "dainty." Let's take a moment to think about this.

I usually don't have much to say about Native body types. When I talk about whether people look Native, I usually mean their faces.

About the only time I complain about Native body types is when they're abnormally buff or buxom, Hollywood-style. Especially in a historical setting. Back then people didn't get facials or hair stylings in a salon. Or botox treatments or plastic surgery from a "medicine man." Nor did they train their bodies an hour or two in the gym every day.

As we've heard, Hudgens may portray Leah, a modern Indian living in modern society. Therefore, I don't have a problem with Hudgens being a dainty thing. I don't think too many Indians are born that way, but it's probably not uncommon among young Indian women. Like other Americans, they undoubtedly strive for that look.

I do have a problem with Hudgens looking like a Hollywood starlet. You might be able to find a few Indian women who look like that, but it's not common. In general, I'd say Indians on the screen should look typical, not atypical.

Nor is this look desirable. The Indian princess paradigm--that every Indian woman has to fit the white man's image of beauty--probably causes untold harm. How many women accept eating disorders, abusive relationships, and suicidal thoughts because they don't think they're good enough?

Comment:  For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.

Below:  "I'm just an average Indian girl. Pass the frybread!"


Unknown said...

The real question, aside from why a Native actress isn't being considered, is whether the actress being considered fits the character's description. Stereotypes aside, based on what I have read this particular character the actress, regardless of who is slected, would have to buff up a bit..Maybe VH should hire Jessica Biel's trainer...

dmarks said...

One of the commenters at the now-lengthy discussion page says:

"They should get a new actress! Like my friend here, I think she could totally play the part. She doesn’t have Native blood but she has Portuguese, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, all sorts of stuff"

So, there we have it. Portuguese + Filipino + Chinese + Japanese = Native American.

Anonymous said...