September 04, 2009

Scholar protests Pojoaque casino's ads

Sexism charge receives promise of Pueblo advertising removal

By Rob CapricciosoNoted legal scholar and Native American gender studies expert, Christine Zuni Cruz, has made her case against what she calls a striking case of sexism in the advertising of a Pueblo tribe’s casino. And she’s won.

On July 21, Zuni Cruz sent a fax to George Rivera, governor of the Pueblo of Pojoaque in northern New Mexico, in which she labeled a recent round of advertising for the tribe’s Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino as sexist and culturally inappropriate.

The advertising contained questionable images of what looked to be female tribal members, which Zuni Cruz, a member of the Isleta Pueblo, said “demean the self-esteem of Native women.”

In the ads--which appeared on the Web and on billboards--the women were depicted in stylized poses next to a Mercedes as part of a casino promotion. In one ad, the Mercedes emblem was part of the earring of one of the women.
Comment:  Advertisers use attractive women to sell everything. It's so commonplace that we rarely give it a second thought.

Yet as this story indicates, it's an arbitrary cultural choice, not a law of nature. I suspect many non-Western cultures, especially indigenous ones, wouldn't use women to advertise cars.

For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.

Below:  Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino.

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