Demand an Apology from Victoria’s Secret for Inappropriately Representing Native American Culture

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Target: Sharen Turney, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Megabrand and Intimate Apparel

Goal: To have a public apology issued for the inappropriate use of a Native American headdress

Fashion companies often stop at nothing to find the next successful trend. These companies are known for making an occasional faux pas in the process. In the aftermath of its 2012 fashion show, Victoria’s Secret has offended many for inappropriately using a Native American headdress during the fashion show.

The use of warbonnets and warpaint in the media has had an extremely negative impact on the Native American community. The media’s incorrect use of these sacred regalia stereotypes Native Americans and reduces their culture to nothing more than a costume. What we frequently see as “typical” Native American attire does not represent the entire Native American community as a whole; there are several Native American tribes, but the media generalizes and portrays Native Americans as a monolithic entity. By using a headdress in its fashion show, Victoria’s Secret is perpetuating ignorance of Native American culture.

It is foolish to believe that an individual’s culture is a fashion statement. To view one’s culture merely as the latest fashion trend is extremely disrespectful. The Native American headdress has a deep spiritual meaning for Native Americans; the headdress is reserved for Native American men who have attained great honor throughout the course of their lives. Victoria’s Secret has mocked and diminished the value of Native American culture by taking such a sacred and significant cultural symbol and placing it on models. Something so sacred and precious should not be reduced to a fashion accessory.

In addition to incorrectly representing Native American culture, Victoria’s Secret also sexualized Native American women by using the headdress in the fashion show. The headdress was used as a manifestation of savagery and animalistic tendencies often associated with “typical” Native American women found in the media. This representation of Native American women is completely inaccurate and dangerous. Native American women are already frequent victims of rape and assault due to legal conflicts between opposing local jurisdictions. These women need to be protected and do not need to be sexualized any further by the media.

Help end the vicious cycle of ignorance that Native American culture goes through. Sign the petition below to demand that Victoria’s Secret apologize for incorrectly using and representing Native American culture.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms.Turney,

Culture is not a fashion statement. Using a Native American headdress in your 2012 fashion show was extremely distasteful and offensive. I understand that your company is just trying to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, but the use of such sacred regalia demonstrates insensitivity towards the Native American culture. By incorrectly using the headdress, your company has contributed to the endless amounts of ignorance surrounding Native American culture.

In addition to undermining the sacred practices and traditions of Native Americans, your company has also sexualized the women of this particular culture. This is extremely dangerous, considering the fact that these women are already victims of frequent rape and assaults due to legal disputes between opposing local jurisdictions.

I am urging you to acknowledge the faux pas your company has made during your fashion show. Make amends with the Native American community and let them know their culture is so much more than a fashion statement or accessory. Please take action to issue a public apology for incorrectly representing Native American culture.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com

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