October 29, 2011

Spirit Halloween's Indian costumes

Adrienne Keene gives examples of the Halloween costumes she criticized in Racist Costumes = White Privilege.

Halloween Costume Shopping:  A sampling of the racism for saleTo state my case, I wandered to the Spirit Halloween website. I did a simple one word search: Indian. I got 56 results, all Native-themed.A typical example:

Put the wow back in pow-wow when you go native in this very sexy Tribal Trouble Indian adult women's costume. They may need to break out the peace pipe because the other squaws will want to torch your teepee when their menfolk see you in this foxy costume!Keene's response:I hope these can serve as examples as to why I'm so pissed off. The dripping misogyny and stereotyping is so blatant, it almost reads like satire. But these are real products, for sale on websites and in thousands of Spirit stores nationwide. Thousands of people are seeing, reading and internalizing these messages.

These costumes are hurtful and dangerous because they present a false and stereotyped image of Native people. The public sees these images, and it erases our current existence, so the larger, contemporary issues in Indian Country then cease to exist as well. When everyone only thinks Indians are fantasy characters put in the same category as pirates, princesses, and cartoon characters, it erases our humanity. Have fun thinking through that one.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Fake Indians in West Hollywood and "We're a Culture, Not a Costume."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That doesn't even look accurate. Of course, accurate would be less provocative. Must keep the fanservice.

By the way, "sexy" anything and Halloween don't belong together. Ever. Sexy cat/mouse/rabbit/fox makes us all think of furries, and it just goes downhill from there.