January 31, 2009

Stereotypical "Eskimo cutie"

From AngelBodyWear.com comes this outfit for an "Eskimo Cutie":5 Piece Set. Zip Front Stretch Crushed Velvet Dress with Faux Fur Trimmed Hood with Pom Pom Ties. Includes Mittens, Faux Fur Trimmed Boot Covers, and Faux Chocolate Popsicle. Petticoat Sold Separately.

Fabric: 80% Polyester, 20% Acrylic

Color: Brown/White

Brand: Dream Girl
Comment:  We could call this young woman an Eskimo (Cutie) Pie, but it would be wrong.

Let's see how many problems we can identify in this image:

1) The Halloween-style costume implies anyone can become Native just by donning the right clothing. This message is constantly reinforced by non-Natives pretending to be Indians in movies and TV shows, Thanksgiving pageants, and sporting events.

2) It fetishizes Native women as exotic sex objects.

3) It associates Eskimos with the usual stereotypical symbols: a fur-lined parka, snow and ice, and a polar bear. The rounded lumps in the background may be stylized igloos.

For more on the subject, see Eskimos:  The Ultimate Aborigines.


alanajoli said...

I especially love the Klondike bar...


Anonymous said...

If a Native chooses to wear clothing that reflects what the majority of 'white people' wear, say jeans and a shirt or a business suit (male or female), does that make the Native a "wannabe white person"?

Rob said...

Not unless the person does it to such an extreme that it becomes stereotypical, Anonymous.

For my full response, see Indians in Suits = White Wannabes?