Every year, the masterminds at Victoria’s Secret stage a televised fashion show, complete with supermodels, pop stars and other token celebrities, in order to show America the true meaning of the word “sexy”. But somewhere along the line in this year’s planning stages something went awry: instead of sexy they went with culturally offensive, sending supermodel Karlie Kloss down the catwalk in a Native American headdress and a teensy bikini.
Unsurprisingly, the backlash was swift. A Navajo Nation spokesman, Erny Zah, told the Associated Press, “We have gone through the atrocities to survive and ensure our way of life continues. Any mockery, whether it’s Halloween, Victoria’s Secret — they are spitting on us. They are spitting on our culture, and it’s upsetting.”
(A brief lesson in cultural and historical sensitivity: the most commonly depicted Native American headdresses, like the one Kloss sported, are those of the Plains tribes and worn by chiefs and honored warriors. They also often have spiritual significance.)
Victoria’s Secret was quick to apologize following the incident, as well as to announce that the offending segment would be edited out for the show’s Dec. 4 broadcast. Kloss also tweeted her apologies.
Problem solved? Sort of. As NewsFeed has pointed out in the past, these sorts of offensive stunts take place quite often in the fashion world. And as BuzzFeed points out, Victoria’s Secret has been known to feature questionable outfits in their catalogues as well. The lingerie’s company mea culpa might seem like a step in the right direction, but until the fashion industry lays off the racist and derogatory stunts, we’re going to remain turned off.