April 21, 2010

Horn-Miller on TIME Canada cover

Some comments about this on Facebook:That's Waneek Horn-Miller from Kahnawake when she was on the Canadian national water-polo team...a few years ago. Yes, it was a real cover!

@ Taiaiake, she's insanely beautiful, stunning really! But, I'm curious (perhaps you can proffer some insight): If this cover had come out in the U.S. I'm guessing there would have been a tiny-but-mighty uproar &, generally speaking, it just would not have "flown"...is there some divide between the U.S. and Canada in this regard? I mean, I'm good with, like, the entire cover (with a tiny-but-mighty caveat, that we might discuss later) EXCEPT for the feather. I mean, what's THAT about?

Someone once said to me "if there are going to be stereotypes then let it be the ones you want." This version of "naked savage" is one that I can tolerate. It shows us as the beautiful people we are. I know, I know, the women argue that there are no men like this but frankly they're aren't any Native men's butts that are that shapely. :-P

There was a bit of grumbling about playing to stereotype, etc., and she did a LOT of news shows to explain her motives and view on what it accomplished. I agree: she was looking good and it reflected on Mohawks well in spite of breaching pol. correctness. But to your question...I think that Canada is less Protestant than the US culturally, and there is the French/European influence in the culture as well, so that's why this sort of thing isn't as big a deal.
Comment:  The feather is to prove she's Native, obviously.

I'd say this is more of a sexy princess stereotype than a naked savage stereotype. It's borderline acceptable since the pose emphasizes her athleticism rather than her body parts. By altering the pose slightly, the image could've veered into unacceptable territory pretty easily.

For more on Horn-Miller, see Marriage or Mohawk Membership?


Athletic Couch Potato said...

Personally, I do not see her representing her skills here as an athlete, but a beauty queen more calendar worthy than to take serious as a talented female. She is very beautiful and I would pin her on my wall anyday, but this may not be accepted from our native sisters.

There is something I notice when it comes to sex and racism regarding Indian women in that they are completely angered at nude "white-women" but do not apply this to nude white males, why is that? As a native male, I think all nude females are sexy.

m. said...

The addition of the feather is actually pointless. If anything, it only furthers stereotypes while 'clarifying' her background for ignorant readers. How come the same would never be done for individuals like Colin Powell, Rashida Jones, Mariah Carey, etc.? Their backgrounds could easily fly under the radar (and for years one passed as white while I'm sure many still believe one is). I'd like to see some symbol of 'blackness' pinned on them in the future, okay, glossy publications?

Rob said...

Nude men don't have a history of being sex objects like nude women, ACP. Therefore, a picture of a nude man isn't comparable to a picture of a nude woman.

Good idea, M. Next time blacks like Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, or Colin Powell appear on a magazine cover, we'll give them a watermelon so we can tell they're black.

m. said...

Who knows why it was done, but the thought of the director of this shoot wanting to include a feather with the idea that it would racialize her as a Real Indian (tm)...well, that bothers me. If she wanted it, though, that's totally different. Regardless, I definitely think the pose emphasizes her athleticism. She looks confident and poised - I love the way she is holding her head and catching the eye of the viewer!

Athletic Couch Potato:
There is no reason for anyone to not take a woman seriously as a 'talented female' because of her looks or the way she presents herself...however it may be.