September 22, 2011

Sexy "Indian" in New Girl

In the new TV series New Girl, three slacker guys live with a goofy gal. In the pilot, Schmidt (no relation) is desperate to attend the annual Wild Wild West Charity Auction for Poverty. Why? Because "it reminds me that I'm still a man, and I can still motorboat a hot girl, who is also a member of the Cherokee Nation, which is not racist because it is for a good cause."

He and his buddies end up going. Schmidt and Nick are dressed as cowboys, but "Coach" wears a tank top, shorts, and a single feather in a cap. "What kind of an Indian wears bike shorts?" asks Schmidt.

Indeed, almost everyone in line is dressed in cowboy gear, but Schmidt is tempted by by an "Indian princess" in a buckskin halter top, mini-skirt, braids, and a feather in her hair. She jumps and waves, her breasts bouncing to show how sexy she is, but Schmidt has to go rescue the "new girl."

The show was okay until that last bit. Even if the woman is an enrolled Cherokee, she's still stereotyping Native women as sexy princesses. And she looks like every starlet who claims to be Native, not an actual Indian. You know, like the vast majority of Native women who aren't sex objects.

Once again, Hollywood gives us someone dressing up as a phony Indian. People would be outraged if it were blackface or yellowface, but no one thinks twice about redface. Caricaturing Indians as primitive people of the past is the last acceptable racism.

As for the rest of New Girl, it was decent. It's basically Happy Endings, a good comedy from last season, with Zooey Deschanel. I don't know if I'll keep watching it, but I'll give it another chance.

For more on Indian princesses, see Tribalism Is Trendy and Khloe Kardashian Thinks She's Native.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, a lot of Cherokee, even (perhaps especially?) those who had an issue with the Freedmen, don't look like Indians.

That said, I doubt anyone in Hollywood understands that.

What Indian wears a mini-skirt or bike shorts? To use Lakota clothing, since in Hollywood everyone is Lakota, let's see:

Men: Loincloth, moccasins, shirt, and leggings, with a few accessories. Usually discarded in the reverse of that order in summer.

Women: Dresses. Many of them are sleeveless, but not in a fanservicey way, à la Pocahontas. Women might wear leggings. Women are far less likely to discard clothing, due to modesty.