December 11, 2009

Redskin = "appalling, offensive, and disgusting"

Corine Fairbanks recently posted the image below on Facebook and added this note:Come on! Couldn't these guys come up with a better name than RED SKIN? Talk about lacking in creativity, and putting down your own people on top of that...not to mention the model they have on the cover looks like she is trying hard to be non-Native....

Some of the comments that followed:
  • Such poor taste...she looks cheap.

  • Yeah, she has that Kate Moss Heroin look...and the Jolie lips going on...and those have to be FAKE....

  • But all that turquoise must mean she is NDN, right?

  • The shame is these are Native People runnin this rag ... don't they know where the word redskin came from ... or does the money blind them ... we can't do much about it ... they are up in Canada grubin loonies....

  • I heard about this magazine a few weeks ago, and ya, I cringed knowing they were from north of the imaginary line, as I am....But hey, it is just an imaginary line, Wanbli, so feel free to take them to task over this!

  • And this is an astounding example of internalized racism. It is sad.

  • This is exploitation of Indigenous women is sad to see. Especially in Canada where there are so many missing mothers and sisters.

  • When you add it all up, they obviously want controversy to sell mags or "boost" their image...negative or not, someone said dollar sign and that is point blank. Who is the model? She should be ashamed of herself of course...she doesn't look like she has much in the shame dept. viva la plastico! ;'o

  • You are expecting intelligence where there is none. Exploitation is all they know how to do.

  • This image makes me sick and sad. I don't know anything about this exploitative magazine, but judging from the cover and its content it seems to be targeting our Native youth (although it states "adult entertainment"). The whole concept of this cover and magazine is just appalling, offensive, and disgusting.
  • Comment:  Well, this blows the "How dare a white man criticize Natives!" rejoinder out of the water. Read what your fellow Natives think of your magazine, Team Redskin.

    Note:  I don't know if this is a new or old issue of Redskin magazine. As I said before, I thought the publishers changed the magazine's name.

    As for "Ashley Skin," her official website identifies her as "Native American supermodel, Ashley Kahsaklahwee." Since I've never heard of her and she's too buxom to be a fashion model, I'm guessing she's a "supermodel" of the Pamela Anderson or Anna Nicole Smith variety. I.e., a model known for taking clothes off, not showing them off.

    For more on the subject, see Red·skin n.  Dated, Offensive, Taboo.


    dmarks said...

    "Comment: Well, this blows the "How dare a white man criticize Natives!" rejoinder out of the water. Read what your fellow Natives think of your magazine, Team Redskin."

    I've read this blog for a while, and it's a pretty safe bet that if you are criticizing some Native on a stereotype or racism related issue, there's always a large number of Natives that agree with you and also criticize the stereotype.

    There's something not quite right about that rejoinder anyway, as it contains in it the idea that free speech should be limited by one's ethnic group.

    m. said...

    "But all that turquoise must mean she is NDN, right?"

    THIS COMMENT. Hahahaha.

    Leave it to the Canadian Indians. I don't have an issue with the usage of the word in certain contexts (like amongst friends), but this magazine IS garbage as far as content goes.

    I'm seeing more and more that First Nations men really like their Euro-looking "NDN" women. I never noticed this until being exposed to Canada-/First Nations-specific media and publications; every time I heard talk of "our beautiful Hopi women" or "Dine' beauty", it's inclusive of everyone. But all the Native-produced media I've seen coming from up North has contained nothing but women that are--to put it bluntly--pretty white, while there's a varied representation of First Nations men all over it. I think that's very telling, to say the least.

    Kat said...

    I *love* (not) how the header reads "Indigenous Adult Entertainment Publication". So all indigenous adults are heterosexual males, who are "entertained" by half-naked objectified women with fake breasts and fake lips? Good to know.

    This looks like the Native version of "Blacktail".

    It's interesting to compare with a man on the cover (Moses Brings Plenty):
    Moses Brings Plenty RSM cover

    Where is the objectification here? Could I please have abs or whatever? Oh no wait, he's a man- so he has the right to be just a person.

    Also- why does this Ashley person not use her real last name? Is Kahsaklahwee somehow not sexy enough?

    Kat said...

    Another great comparison is here:

    George Leach RSM cover vs Grace Gabbana RSM cover

    Kat said...

    Sorry for spamming, BUT:

    Ashley's cover is old, from the second issue.
    Reading interviews with Ashley, I realized 2 things

    1) I just tripped over my own prejudice.

    In my mind it was obvious that Ashley could not be the sharpest tool in the box, since she

    a) has boob and lip implants
    b) is doing the whole jerk off mag thing.

    Well... I was dead wrong…
    2006 The Girls of Rez Dog calendar:

    “Ashley Roberts […] graduated Cum Laude from Southern Nazarene University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and attended law school at The University of Tulsa and The University of Oklahoma in the Native Law Program. She is a member of NALSA and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.”

    From this interview:

    “I […] focused on Native American rights and Environmental Law. I intended to become an attorney and practice law within my tribe.

    I did my internship within The Cherokee Nation for sometime and decided that it was too taxing on me personally as I took home with me and internalized the disappointing aspects of the law.

    My skin is not quite thick enough to separate myself from my work and therefore I made a choice to work in my current field as opposed to fighting a system that will most likely never change. [...]

    I am a much more content person working in a creative field as opposed to one that is so rigid.”

    Kat said...

    2) she lives in a parallel universe:

    “[One photo] had Kahsaklahwee in the nude, wearing only a headdress. ‘I knew that I would piss off a lot of people with that, but at the same time, I kind of wanted to push the envelope,’ Kahsaklahwee says of the photo […], ‘You can be a Native American woman and be a sensual, sexual being as well.’”

    Um… I thought the stereotype was that Indians were sex objects for white people… But hey, in her universe I just they aren’t (?!)

    This is from an Israeli interview, which is a tiny bit ironic, since Ashley is half-German, half-Native and the Nazis accepted Indians as ‘valuable Aryans':

    “I have come to the conclusion that this field [glamour modelling] is not just about standing in front of a camera and looking pretty to pay the bills. I love this work which is very athletic and artistic in nature. (?!) […] I also attempt to produce photographs that tell a story, push the envelope, and question the stereotypical beliefs of my culture and that go beyond a nude body. (?!)

    Q: “What are your criterions [sic] for selecting the appropriate photographers to work with?”

    Ashley: “First and foremost it has to do with their creativity and ability to "think outside the box" if you will. […] If the photograph contains nudity or implied nudity, I hope this is not necessarily the first thing they notice. My desire is for the instinctual reaction to be one of "Wow, what an interesting/intriguing piece of art!" (?!)

    [wait: So a nude Native American with a headdress is ‘thinking outside of the box’?! What?]

    Kat said...

    About Ashley in general :

    “She combines traditional tribal culture, with glamour and sensuality to create images that incorporate both.” (?!)

    “My ethnicity is Native American on my father's side and German on my mother's. I am a member of both The Cherokee Nation & Creek Nation. […] [My Indian name is] Usdi Guque Kahsaklahwee which in English translates to Little Quail Kahsaklahwee. […]

    I have a sister [a runway model] and two brothers. We grew up in Eastern Oklahoma in a rural area with lots of wide-open spaces, land, and horses. My grandparents' land is Indian land where it is like a different country. […]

    One of my heroes would have to be Leonard Peltier, a Native American Political prisoner who was incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. He is a true warrior and most likely will never see the light of day due to our lack of a true justice system. His book ‘My Life is My Sundance’ is a must read for those who are not familiar with the American Indian Movement and the failure of the system at large. […]

    I am involved in wildlife rehabilitation and have been for several years. […] Also, I do traditional beadwork and attend Pow Wows as often as I can. […] I have at least 300 pairs [shoes].”

    “Kahsaklahwee was recently cast in the lead female role in ‘The Theory of Beauty’, a film written and directed by Keith Payne. Kahsaklahwee's role is truly a case of art imitating life, as her character is half-white and half-Indian and the film portrays the racism that she faces in her daily life and how she fights for her culture.”

    Stephen said...

    Well that cover is officially burned into my nightmares, the cheekbones alone will keep haunt for years to come. Just what sort of tasteless thirteen year old finds botox gals like that attractive?

    Stephen said...

    Also why do they think there's a market for this stuff? I mean people can download real porn for free, this isn't 1988.

    Rob said...

    Some of the URLs in your comments weren't valid, Kat. Here's what they're supposed to be:

    I wouldn't have figured Ashley for a law school student or animal rights activist. But she seems to be reasonably well-spoken. How odd that she doesn't realize she's perpetuating stereotypes rather than fighting them.

    Yeah, she's really pushing the envelope...not. The source page for Coed Magazine's "Poca-Hotness" has something like 80 pictures of sexy models dressed as Indians. Ashley overturned our preconceptions and revolutionized the field with the 81st such photo.

    An Indian woman as a sex object?! Holy paradigm shift, Batman! Next you'll be telling us that Indians weren't all lazy bums...that some of them were warriors!!

    I believe I questioned Redskin Magazine's business model in previous postings. For one thing, it's a bad time to start magazines in general. For another, the Internet has decimated "lad" mags featuring half-naked models. An "adult" publication focused on 1% of the population is about the last thing I'd invest in.

    I'm still wondering if anyone has ever beheld a physical issue of Redskin. Because I haven't. For all I know, the magazine is published exclusively on the Web. Its cover images may be mockups that have never seen print.

    For more on the subject of Indian women as pinup girls, see The Rez Dog Calendar:  Role Models or Sex Objects?

    Kat said...

    I don't know why this webpage added to all urls in the links I posted (?). Oh well, thanks for posting the correct links, Rob.

    While looking for that "stereotype-busting" headdress pic of hers, I stumbled on this thread:

    Is there such thing as a hot Indian chick (native)?

    Maybe Ashley IS on to something after all... This is so depressing- you have to actually reach page 16 to get a non-offensive comment. It's also strange to me since in my high school, the boys traded pics of hot Navajo girls...yes, in Europe! (They got hooked after a school project on contemporary Native Americans)

    Funnily enough, when I moved to Canada (close to several reserves, mind you), First Nations (other than historically) were not at all on my (private) school's curriculum. The only way Indians featured in anyone's (White) conversations was either "annoying" roadblocks or comments reminiscing of how "annoying" Oka had been...I will never forget when a teacher in the subway pointed directly at a Cree family and whispered "Look, they are Eskimos from up North." (WTF????!!!!) Strangely enough they didn't even seem angry for being pointed at. They just corrected her calmly.

    But I doubt Ashley will change the negative perceptions and racism expressed in the thread- she seriously has to lay off the plastic surgery; she has had her boobs, lips, chin and nose done.

    Kat said...

    PS: I checked out the RSM page and their concerts look pretty cool. If I WAS their target group, I would go (lol, quite schizophrenic as a statement).