February 22, 2009

Indians say "Me Sexy"

‘Me Sexy: An Exploration of Native Sex and Sexuality’

ReviewAn entertaining overview of Native sexuality and philosophy, “Me Sexy” overturns mainstream myths and misconceptions and, except for a few dark moments, avoids solemnity in favor of sly humor, high spirits, and understated truth-telling.

The editor, Drew Hayden Taylor, Ojibway, is an acclaimed playwright and columnist who compiled and edited the 13 essays that comprise “Me Sexy” as a successor to his 2006 anthology “Me Funny,” both presumably tongue-in-cheek progeny of the Lone Ranger’s sidekick, who says “Me Tonto.” (Taylor notes the “many rumors and legends about the true relationship” between the Lone Ranger and Tonto in his essay, “Indian Love Call.”)

From the bodice-ripping cover, which is an amalgam of everything embarrassing about red/white sexual stereotypes (faux bronze skin and tacky headband meet impossibly ivory bosom and cheap lace) to mainstream society’s preoccupation with the supposedly genetic determinant of pubic hair’s abundance or absence, this is a frolicsome romp on the rocky road to a final truth: “Me Human.”
A couple of highlights from the book:“Pre-Christian Inuit Sexuality,” by Makka Kleist, an actor, director and playwright from Greenland, describes as both joyful and practical the special occasions when anonymous intimacy was encouraged among Inuit after the oil lamps were extinguished.

Topsy-turvy to most non-Arctic dwellers, the sun is female and the moon male in the Inuit world where roles originated in an incest taboo (although this is also a Cherokee legend, according to another story in this collection). Kleist notes there is no word for “promiscuity” in native Inuit, where survival depends on concepts of exclusivity, sharing, privacy and community that may be at odds with more southerly beliefs.

Taylor’s “Indian Love Call” skewers the popular fiction that (as depicted on the anthology’s cover) features the aquiline-nosed, chiseled-browed half-breed, who represents “the one encased in exoticism, one involving a distant but still embraceable culture and environment” and who is often named some variant of “Wolf” (“the Wolf family seems to have a real thing for kidnapped white women,” he observes).
Comment:  For more on the subject, see "All Native Women Are Hoes" and Indian Women as Sex Objects.

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