August 30, 2015

Los Angeles Magazine's "Going Native"

ICYMI: “Fall Fashion: Your Guide to Going Native”: Los Angeles Magazine Celebrates Cultural Misappropriation

By Kelly HolmesTwo days ago, Los Angeles Magazine posted an article sharing what’s trending this fall with a headline that certainly rang cultural appropriation.

The style article, which was posted under the magazine’s ‘The Clutch‘ column, displayed the apparent Native-inspired trend craze set for fall with the initial title “Fall Fashion: Your Guide to Going Native.”

The article claimed “Feathers aren’t going anywhere; fringe continues to swing. Designers look once again to the American West for inspiration,” accompanied by a Boticca feather necklace, Burberry fringe clutch, and DSquared2 sandals.

As the post came to light, Los Angeles Magazine received backlash for the offensive headline and article.

Concepción Lara @lowsell
"Going Native" implies Indigeneity is 1) chosen and 2) temporary. Utilizing Cher's photo furthers the erasure of Native people. @LA_mag

In response, the magazine changed their headline to “Fall Fashion: Feathers and Fringe” with the explanation “An earlier version of this story had a poorly phrased headline. We apologize.”

However, they did not address or remove the photo of Cher dressed as the stereotypical “Pocahottie” nor did they address their glorification of cultural misappropriation. Despite their claim of “We’ve heard your feedback, and you’re right,” they missed the point of the initial backlash, which did not escape the notice of Twitter.

Mariana @MarianaThinks
@LA_mag oh no. Take the whole article down. Why not support authentic Native American designers? Not overpriced and fake products.
Comment:  The tweets above are just examples of the criticism the magazine received.

Using Cher was kind of silly since the photo was 40-50 years. It may have represented the concept of "going Native," since Cher has tried to pass as Native over the years. But it didn't represent "fall fashion" unless they meant some fall in the late 1960s.

And yes, using Cher as a "Pocahottie" only furthers the sexualization of Native women. No real Native women dress this way, so it's not "going Native" so much as "going stereotypical." It's nothing more than a white man's (or woman's) fantasy of Native fashion.

For more on Cher, see Cher in a Headdress, Again.

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