November 08, 2012

Crystle Lightning in a headdress

Cree model/actress Crystle Lightning apparently tweeted the following note and photo:Sneak peak of my photoshoot with @jazzifay xo #Cree #Nativeamerican #Aboriginal #nativepride #headdress #Winnipeg #LightningCloud

This led to a discussion with the person who alerted me to this:Rob have you seen the disappointing photo that Crystle Lightning has up? So sad. I talked to Georgina [Crystle's mother] about it but of course she calls it artistic expression and says because the headdress is fake and Crystle is Native, it's okay...heavy sigh.No, I haven't seen it. What is it...Crystle in a fake headdress?

I criticized Q'orianka Kilcher and Kiowa Gordon for wearing headdresses inappropriately. I'd criticize Crystle too.I am the same matter how I feel about a person--family or not--I'm gonna comment when they do stupid shit like this...

Ugh I'm so mad.
"Artistic expression" is what No Doubt, the Gap, Paul Frank, and every other stereotyping hipster says. If it's invalid for them, it's invalid for Crystle.

"Crystle is Native" ignores the concept of sacred feathers, bestowing headdresses as a traditional honor, and not bestowing them on women. So that "reasoning" fails too.I just got an heated message from Georgina telling me that my comment was all ego based and that I don't understand the "movement" that is being created by the photo?

I tried to called Crystle I couldn't get ahold of her. I called Georgina...Georgina was defensive and told me to read all the comments before I came up with an opinion.
A movement created by the umpteenth hipster in a headdress? I didn't know stereotyping was a movement.

Did the comments contain any valid intellectual arguments we haven't heard before? Because this isn't a popularity contest. It's right or wrong based on the issues, not on how many people say "Cool!" or "Love it!"A movement isn't a movement when it's self proclaimed.Right. And "Crystle climbing to fame on the backs of her ancestors" isn't what I'd call a movement.

Here's what one Native woman might say to Crystle:

Victoria's Secret: Bikini War Bonnet Disaster

By Ruth HopkinsAnother retort commonly expounded upon is that there are Natives who either voice approval for acts of Native appropriation, or claim not to care. I don’t know their hearts. Perhaps they were never taught what it means to wear a war bonnet, or are unaware of the atrocious rates of sexual assault committed against Native women every year. Maybe they simply want acceptance from the mainstream. They may suffer from self-hatred, and thus couldn’t care less about our ancestor’s cultural legacy. Maybe they really don’t care. Or maybe they’re afraid to take a stand against the ignorant (and arrogant) horde. Nonetheless, what happened to common courtesy, i.e. if someone doesn’t want to be made fun of, you cease the offensive behavior? Red face is just as offensive as black face.For more on the subject, see Boutique Lookbook's Stereotypical Fashions and What's Wrong with No Doubt's Video.

P.S. As usual, I've corrected the spelling and capitalization for the sake of readability.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What, some native women not measuring up to your “make-believe” standards? Who wrote these rules for us natives? You; a white man who has nothing better to do than blog about a race that he is not apart of and never will understand regardless how many modern-day white wanna-be shaman books you read…