Thursday, April 22, 2010

Multi-culturalism and Feminism

I saw this article on neo-lib groups/people appropriating cultures (particularly that of Native Americans or American Indians) as a fashion sense in Bitch Magazine. Given everything that we've discussed in class from Keating to hooks and more, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this "phenomenon" and the blog author's response.


  1. Thank you Jessica for sharing the article with us, it doesn't surprise me (yet it's still very disturbing to read about) that neo-lib groups/people would be willing to "play indian" and disrespect the integrity and dignity of Native American/American Indian culture for economic profit because of the historical capitalistic exploitation of those groups. I think it's only appropriate for NA/AI groups to get a portion of the profits. We've been learning in the course about the ways in which indigenous knowledge(ex. environmentalism, organic living) have been devalued or ignored in academia because of dominant perspectives about what is "real" knowledge which is based on white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal narratives, and it makes me angry that it has become fashionable to ignore the real contributions of NA/AI. The apathy to do research and and seek out knowledge about NA/AI cultures, shows us how normalized it has become for people to consume without critically thinking about popular culture.
    I completely agree with one of the responses in the comment section...
    "I'd side more with Jessica on this one. I don't think she's trying to shame people into feeling like they don't know how to participate in the dialogue so much as she is saying, stop trying to make money by appropriating our culture. Her frustration might be uncomfortable for some people to hear, but it's necessary. If people don't come out of their comfort zones, they will never humble themselves enough to show respect for what they don't know."

  2. I think it is bizarre (and fitting) that many of the people took offense to the article considering how painful it can be when we are called out on our privilege. In Donedey's article white students in a women's studies grad seminar had difficulty accepting the ways in which gender, race, and class intersect to inform their privilege. But pain is not always a bad thing, and taking risks leads to growth.

    It worries me that so many of the comments were responses of denial, or simply demanded that Native peoples "get over it. they're only clothes."
    Laura's right, the commodification of NA/AI culture is a long time US tradition that needs to be recognized and stopped. It seems that people are so brainwashed by consumer capitalism to begin to think about how what we buy and who we buy it from ties in very nicely with patters of capitalist exploitation of marginalized groups, not only those Native Americans and their cultural heritage, but also the suffering endured by Haitian, South American, and Asian women who work in the factories that make the clothes. How do you all think this applies specifically to women (consumers and workers, in the US and elsewhere) and what is the significance of Jessica's article, about hipster and hippie women, appearing on a media site aimed at (liberal?) women??