March 31, 2014

Heidi Klum's redface photo shoot

Heidi Klum Touts Indian-Themed Shoot for 'Germany's Next Top Model'As a judge on Project Runway, Heidi Klum had a lot of positive things to say about the work of designer Patricia Michaels, Taos Pueblo. Yet her appreciation of the Native designer's work in contemporary fashion does not seem to have been matched by an enlightened view of Native culture.

On Thursday, Klum, who is host of Germany's Next Top Model, posted a gallery on Facebook titled "Here are my beautiful GNTM girls!"

The gallery consists of 12 pictures of German models wearing feather headdress, facepaint, and fringed leather. Props include a peace pipe, tipi, and woven blanket.

Many Facebook users have expressed outrage at the images. Here are just a few of the many comments posted to the gallery.

Hanna LakotaHorse: "This is so frustrating and disheartening. And it keeps happening over and over again. Why do they think this is okay?!"

Daisy Salinas: ""This is reducing a culture (where over 10-20 million indigenous people were slaughtered) to a trendy marketable product that can be bought and sold. Not only that but Native American women are far more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other group of women in the U.S. Sexualizing and commodyifying Native American culture and aesthetics is not helping solve issues as these. You should publicly apologize for these terribly offensive photographs."

Nodwessioux Red Bear: "I will no longer support you Heidi K."

Angela Hardesty Manrique: "Unliking for life. How could you be so ignorant Heidi. This is every kind of wrong."

Heidi Klum’s Redface Photo Shoot

By Ruth HopkinsLast Thursday Ms. Thang posted a gallery on Facebook under the title, “Here are my Beautiful GNTM Girls!” Lo and behold, the spread was plum full of some of the most stereotypical, patently offensive photographs of pouty, half-naked white women posing ever-so seductively in war paint and headdresses that I’ve seen in well, months (what can I say, we’re currently plodding through an epidemic of society fetishizing Native women).

It felt like I’d just been stabbed in the back by my taller, skinnier, blonder, German big sister.

Twelve photos total featured German Fräuleins using ‘peace pipes,’ feathers, tipis, and Native blankets for props. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought that even the horse looked a little embarrassed.

One picture shows a model in war paint with a single tear streaming down her face. Could we get any more cliché? Now we’re appropriating pretendians? Iron Eyes Cody, the famous ‘crying Indian’ referenced by pop culture, wasn’t even Native. Apparently even appearing to be Native by association makes one fodder for exploitation.

Perhaps we should have expected this from a country full of hobbyists that like to dress up like Natives and ‘play Indian.’ No matter, both scenarios are offensive and objectionable.
The photo album in question:

Here Are My Beautiful GNTM Girls!

Comment:  For more on the subject, see Crystle Lightning = Maria Tallchief? and 13 Rock Stars in Headdresses.

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