for more on native appropriation: http://mycultureisnotatrend.tumblr.com/
first off, i’d like to say i completely agree with the image and disgusting appropriation of other cultures for cheap laughs and entertainment.
when i was a kid (like, five or six) i absolutely loved pocahontas, because i thought she looked like me. we both had long black hair and we both had (at least what i thought) the same skin color. so, one year, my mum made me a pocahontas halloween costume and i even had the necklace and arm tattoo (but as an arm band). i collected the toys and even had the soundtrack.
i’m older now and i have a little more sense in me to know that i am not native american. i am portuguese. we are not the same. and dressing up as a native american, even if it was a fictional character, was probably not the best choice.
but that’s in my past. at the time, i was just happy to have someone i thought looked like me. my mom probably didn’t think much of it either since i doubt she was reading articles or books on cultural appropriation (my parents can read enough to get by, but they really don’t like reading particularly in english for obvious reasons. it’s been almost twenty years and i still get asked how to spell or say certain words). parents today though—if you are able and know better, then you shouldn’t be dressing up your kids as native americans or banditos or gypsies. and i wish i could send this message up to corporate too, but i doubt they give two fucks what i think.
ugh word this. I definitely dressed as her as a kid because she was my favorite Disney character, and her ideals were something I looked up to as a kid. But still, that wasn’t the proper thing to do. And while I won’t defend my mother’s ignorance, I also understand it isn’t something her generation thought of (hell she’s ignorant in a lot of ways that I think were a product of how she was raised/grew up), but it’s important to think of these things, and to also learn that hey, these are real people and we shouldn’t be doing this.
dressing up as a character isn’t the same as dressing up as a race. while dressing “like a native american” is wrong, i don’t think dressing up “like your favorite character” is quite the same. it’s a small technicality, but i think it’s important.
What Katya said. <3
By these people’s arguments, dressing your child up like Tiana would be appropriating African Americans, dressing your child up like Rapunzel would be appropriating Germans, dressing your child up like Belle would be appropriating the French, where does it end? So children shouldn’t be allowed to dress up in costumes unless they are representing their own culture? If so, how is that even a costume? Are children not allowed to pretend and dream anymore? Geez guys.
I would also like to say that “Cowboy” is a style in clothing stores, but you don’t see any of them complaining that they’re not being taken seriously as a people.
Aright, I’m going to address some of the concerns brought up as best I can.
Dressing up as a character ISN’T the same as dressing up as a race. But, quite accurately as the above pointed out, it is a SMALL technicality in this case because Pocahontas is seen by mainstream white culture *to be a representative of all native americans.* Therefore, if she does not accurately represent some, let alone all, native americans (which she does not), then she is a problematic character to costume up as.
Dressing your child up as Tiana is not appropriating African Americans (at least, not that I’m aware) because she is not assumed to stand for all African Americans. When children dress up as Tiana, they are putting on a dress, a normal dress, and not an inaccruate version of what Disney thought a native american female would wear.
Rapunzel, Tiana, and Belle’s movies had little to nothing to do with their perceived/implied cultures and didn’t really do anything to misrepresent them to their young audiences. Pocahontas’ movie and character had everything to do with the white, majority culture’s perception of Native American culture. Therefore, these situations are inherently different.
Also, there is no underlying assumption in American culture that German, African american, or french culture is something we can take and use for ourselves (for the most part). There is no underlying assumption that all “real” versions of this culture only exist historically and not present day. German and French cultures also have a lot of privilege in and outside of the United States that Native cultures do not have (obviously, african americans do not hold as much systemic privilege as these groups). So again, these characters are not the same and cannot be held to the same standards of what is “acceptable,” because their cultures and portrayal of said cultures are not the same.
Trust me, there are tons of costumes out there that children can wear that don’t involve disrespecting, mocking, or stereotyping another culture. You can find one if you look hard enough through the approximately 5,000 options kids have in stores nowadays.
The cowboy point was not really a good one, unless you’re going to make a point that “cowboy culture” has been similarly treated by white culture as native culture has been. That would be patently false and offensive. Cowboys have long been held up as “hero figures” and are not really a culture by themselves- you can maybe say it’s a subculture based upon an OCCUPATION, but that’s what it was: a job. Just because a bunch of old movies portray “cowboy v. Indians” does not mean they’re equivalent cultural groups.
Also, remind me of the times that Cowboys were long historically abused by the culture that overtook them. Tell me about the cowboy Trail of Tears. Look up for me the time America redacted on its treaties and didn’t pay the cowboys for the land it strongholded from them. Remind me of all the times America portrayed cowboys as brutal savages in its movies and books. Let me know how many cowboys are still alive today, stuck on reservations of shitty land the government has allotted them after taking all the good parts. Leave me a link detailing how European culture forcibly oppressed/killed/eliminated many parts of cowboy culture. No- that never happened, so once again, “cowboy” style being in clothing stores or worn as costume is not the same as native american appropriation.