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Victoria's Secret: Bikini War Bonnet Disaster

Society & Culture  (tags: americans, ethics, fashion, Native American, rights, sadness, society, usa )

- 2024 days ago -
In September, the Native community sprang into action voicing our collective outrage after we were assailed by Paul Frank's 'neon pow-wow' Fashion night, complete with war-painted employees and C-list celebrities donning feather headbands, Continued....

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RosemaryRannes HusbandNeedsPrayers (650)
Thursday November 8, 2012, 8:46 pm
Not again!?!

In September, the Native community sprang into action voicing our collective outrage after we were assailed by Paul Frank’s ‘neon pow-wow’ Fashion night, complete with war-painted employees and C-list celebrities donning feather headbands, armed with plastic tomahawks. In response, Paul Frank apologized, and the company pulled all Native imagery from their stores as well as online. They also announced that they will be hiring a Native designer to create a new line, with earnings going toward a Native charity.

Yet the barrage of attacks against Native American culture and identity continues to escalate. The usual parade of offensive Native American ‘costumes’ we’re typically forced to endure every Halloween was even more pronounced this year, as were the insults and racial epithets aimed at Natives who dared to demand respect for their Native identity, spiritual beliefs, and culture.

Just last week, No Doubt released a video for it’s latest single,’Looking Hot.’ To our dismay, the video turned out to be little more than a Native appropriation extravaganza, paying homage to cheap, inaccurate, stereotypical Dime Store turkey feather accoutrements and the hypersexualization of Native women. Natives once again stepped up to the plate to defend their cultural dignity, and No Doubt apologized, pulling the video from circulation.

Now, Victoria’s Secret has upped the ante. Wednesday night, their fashion show featured model Karlie Kloss in a leopard print bikini accessorized with turquoise jewelry and fringe covered heels, strutting down the catwalk in a floor-length, feathered war bonnet.

As a Victoria’s Secret customer, I am livid. After years of patronage and loyalty to the Victoria’s Secret brand, I am repaid with the mean-spirited, disrespectful trivialization of my blood ancestry and the attempted degradation of the proud Native identity I work hard to instill in my children. Well I’ve got news for you, Victoria’s Secret. Consider yourself boycotted. Perhaps it’s time for us to resume the feminist practice of bra burning. Regardless, this Native girl is ready to go commando.

What is it going to take before the fashion industry, and mainstream society in general, realizes that making a mockery of Native identity is unacceptable?

Why is this practice offensive to Natives? Let’s peel away the layers of this tacky, racist onion. For one, Ms. Kloss has no business wearing a war bonnet at all. Not only is she not Native, she hasn’t earned the honor. Among my people, the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux), war bonnets are exclusively worn by men, and each feather within a war bonnet is symbolic of a brave act of valor accomplished by that man. Not just any Tom, Dick or Harry had the privilege of wearing a war bonnet. Who wears a war bonnet? Tatanka Iyotanka, Sitting Bull. Not a no-account waif paid to prance around on stage in her underwear. This brings me to my next point: the hypersexualization of Native women. Unfortunately, these days, if you search under ‘war bonnet’ or even ‘Native’ on the internet, you’re likely to come across dozens of pictures of naked, or nearly naked, white women wearing headdresses. Given the epidemic levels of sexual violence Native women and girls are faced with in the United States, why can they not see how incredibly insensitive and inappropriate it is to equate Native womanhood as little more than a sexual fetish?

Also, we’re a people, not a trend. We don’t wear costumes. We dress in regalia, and every single piece means something special. Our beadwork, leatherwork, and quillwork- every piece is a work of Art, unique onto itself and created by skilled Native craftsman. War paint is also evocative, with colors and patterns that are meaningful. They tell a story. It’s not finger paint.

Time and time again I’ve heard the defenders of Native appropriation racism say we should ‘get over it.’ We will not be bullied. Our identity, our culture, and our ways don’t belong to you; you can’t have them. They were passed down to us from our ancestors who dreamed them millennia ago. We will never stop fighting to protect it, nor demanding that you respect it, and in turn, us.

Another retort commonly expounded upon is that there are Natives who either voice approval for acts of Native appropriation, or claim not to care. I don’t know their hearts. Perhaps they were never taught what it means to wear a war bonnet, or are unaware of the atrocious rates of sexual assault committed against Native women every year. Maybe they simply want acceptance from the mainstream. They may suffer from self-hatred, and thus couldn’t care less about our ancestor’s cultural legacy. Maybe they really don’t care. Or maybe they’re afraid to take a stand against the ignorant (and arrogant) hoard. Nonetheless, what happened to common courtesy, i.e. if someone doesn’t want to be made fun of, you cease the offensive behavior? Red face is just as offensive as black face.

Even if there are some Natives who don’t mind being mocked, there are plenty who do, and who will continue to protest the assault taking place against Native identity and culture. There are also a whole lot of non-Natives who are open-minded enough to understand why Native appropriation is wrong, and are standing with us in solidarity to defeat this racist, disrespectful, archaic practice. Whether deliberate or not, we hereby put those who commit ignorant, offensive acts of Native appropriation on warning. We’ve protested loudly, and long enough, where your using ignorance as an excuse is wearing thin. We will not relient. See it our way, or face the consequences- and the boycotts.

Make your voice known. Contact Victoria’s Secret on Facebook and Twitter and let them know just how wrong putting Karlie Kloss in a headdress was. You can also contact them at:

Sign the petition: Victoria's Secret: Apologize for using a Native American Headdress in their 2012 Fashion Show

Please everyone sign & share this petition with your friends= with everyone!
This kind of disrespect must not be allowed to continue!
I could go on ... but I'll let YOU do the talking !


Sheryl G (360)
Friday November 9, 2012, 5:02 pm
I certainly signed and left a personal message. I will forward this as well. Thank you Rosemary for posting this. This is no acceptable, never was, but people need to learn and understand what is offensive to the native people just as they have learned about other nationalities and races. I have nothing further to add as it was well said in the post above mine.

Barb K (1688)
Friday November 9, 2012, 9:30 pm
Signed and noted. Thank you Rosemary.

MmAway M (506)
Friday November 9, 2012, 9:35 pm
Thank you dearest Rosemary, I feel truly ill! Signed and shared, not around much, but had to take care of this #!#!

Lydia S (155)
Friday November 9, 2012, 9:50 pm
Pretty darn stupid of VS !
Signed on .

RosemaryRannes HusbandNeedsPrayers (650)
Friday November 9, 2012, 10:04 pm
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to GONE because you have done so within the last week.

RosemaryRannes HusbandNeedsPrayers (650)
Friday November 9, 2012, 10:08 pm
Thank you so much for your comments & to everyone who has signed i am honored to walk beside you in humility and Truth. Mitakuye Oyasin. We are One.

Susanne R (235)
Friday November 9, 2012, 10:50 pm
Signed and noted! Thanks for posting this, Rosemary!

Alexandra Rodda (180)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 2:44 am
Thank you Rosemary. signed and noted.

Diane B (275)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 2:47 am
off course I signed dear and shared as much as I can

Jocelyn Koopmann (56)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 2:59 am
Noted, signed, shared & posted on Face Book. This bimbo has nothing between her ears. Sad but true. Thanks Rosemary. Hugs Siber Sis Lyn.

ParsifalAWAY S (99)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 3:02 am

Thank you Rosemary and Zora for sharing. won't let me ever sign - sorry for that

Naoko i (264)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 3:18 am
Noted and of course signed. And invited some FB friends to also sign.

Michela M (3964)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 3:18 am

Barbara K (60)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 5:10 am
I think it is time to stop degrading the American Natives. Boycott Victoria's Secret.

naomi cohen (55)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 5:59 am
not surprised, just disgusted.thanks.

Lone W (1428)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 6:12 am

Aletta Kraan (146)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 6:16 am
Most certainly signed , thanks !

Nancy C (806)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 6:32 am
2711th. Thanx buddy. This is a sign of stupidity and tastelessness on the part of VS. The folks that made the call to use the headdress are probably under the impression that it would be beautified. Wrong...

Terrie Williams (798)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 6:41 am
Sooooooooooo signed, notyed and shared. Even though I am weening myself off, I signed this one and emailed it privately. This has to stop and stop NOW.

TOM TREE (246)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 8:07 am
Signed and Shared. Thank you Rosemary & Zora !!

Richard Zane Smith (81)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 8:13 am
I think perpetrators of such racist and derogatory imagery need some serious study, likely MUCH psychological help and a real education. Its evidence of a kind of societal sickness. What goes on in a persons mind to not only design such offensive imagery but to actually get models to wear such things with no indication of embarrasment or shame? maybe we could measure their brains when they die? as scientists have done to us?
I have to my own embarressment, I think some of us tribal members have contributed to the stereotype imagery ourselves. Commercial Competition CA$H PRIZE pow-wows have contributed to perpetuate a myth that all Indians dance the same and are "decorated" the same way - all about winning attention and awards. When we commercialize ourselves, its not long till we have copycats who figure they might make some $$$ using Indian Imagery as well.

Sue McGuey (106)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 8:19 am
Noted & signed!~ Posted to Facebook!~ Absolutely PATHETIC!!!!:((((((((((

Pamylle G (461)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 10:39 am
Utterly obnoxious & disrespectful - signed !

Sinikka Away (183)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 10:55 am
Noted & signed. Thanks Rosemary.

Yvonne White (229)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 11:26 am
This happens & will continue to happen because there isn't enough Education about real American History. It is 99.9 % White American History beginning with Columbus or the Pilgrims, with NO accounting of the multitude of tribes & Language groups, mythology & religious beliefs, governments & alliances.. We are Americans do in NO Small Part to our forefathers alliances with certain tribes, their mis-use of other tribes, and the lack of Native immunity to our diseases & inability to unite diverse tribes against us. Technology & biological warfare triumphed over the indigenous people, but we should NOT revel in it or Continue Exploitation for "kicks"!:(

Richard Zane Smith (81)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 11:44 am
Yvonne, you're very insightful saying,
"We are not to revel in it or continue exploitation for kicks"
Conquerors enjoys making a spectacle of brave resisters it overpowers by force.
It happens the same way to big game animals conquered... like mounting a grizzly bear, or a tigers head
and hanging it in your living room. its a badge of conquest...see what I did?
Col. Chivington ( once a Methodist missionary to the Wyandots) ordered his men to mutilate all the women and childrens bodies he butchered at Sand Creek, trophies of war. Men wore the hacked off sexual parts of women on their saddle horns and made "leather" pouches from their breasts.

Today thats to dirty for US conquerors today, but there are other ways to belittle and show trophies of war.

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 11:47 am
Signed gladly.

Ruth C (87)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 12:37 pm

Yvonne White (229)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 12:47 pm
I actually don't think these companies are purposely denigrating Native Americans for a racist agenda - I'm sincerely worried that Americans are becoming Too Stupid to Know the difference between "immitation as a form of flattery" & a vicious undermining of racial identity. Bu$h Leaguers made Ignorance an art form, wallowing in stupidity & eroding Education so badly I wonder if the movie IDIOCRACY is a documentary..*heavy sigh* and then you get these "fashion" gurus trying to sell sex without a thought of what Else that sale costs. No Education, No SALE!

Liliana D (125)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 12:57 pm

Vicky P (476)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 1:00 pm
noted and signed, they seem to always get in trouble for not being culturally sensitive

Vivien Green (153)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 1:24 pm
Noted and signed

Bartlomiej T (296)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 1:30 pm
Petition signed. Thank you, Rosemary!

Suzanne L (99)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 1:46 pm
TY Rosemary. Noted and signed. So disrespectful.

Florence Eaise (132)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 1:47 pm
WOW Rosemary thats mindblowing thanks so much for posting and telling me im PISSED this is both racist and offensive my daughters are part Native American from their Daddy's side so it really gets to me but even if my daughters didnt have any Native American blood in them i would STILL be pissed i cant and wont tolerate ANY racism or biggotry theres just NOO place for it in a civiliized world! Petition signed shared tweeted and g+ and of course noted i cant forward though beecause my care2 account is messed up still im waiting for them to fix it i can only receive messages but i cant send them

Sara Williams (8)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 2:33 pm
This is just really tasteless and shocking. Signed.

danny m (1)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 3:53 pm
I am sorry but I think people are just too sensitive and get worked up too easily over these things. I am Irish and often see them depicted as falling down drunk. I could care less. I am sick of political correctness. You can't say or do anything thing without offending someone. Sometimes you just need to grow a thicker skin and not worry about what other people do.

danny m (1)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 4:12 pm
I am sorry but I think people are just too sensitive and get worked up too easily over these things. I am Irish and often see them depicted as falling down drunk. I could care less. I am sick of political correctness. You can't say or do anything thing without offending someone. Sometimes you just need to grow a thicker skin and not worry so much about what other people do.

Judy C (97)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 4:23 pm
The petition apparently reached 3,000, and was closed:

Bree Herne
by Bree Herne
Petition Organizer

Victoria's Secret has not only posted an apology, but they have agreed not to use it in the broadcast, or promotional materials."

This is good news. Thanks Rosemary, my friend. We can't let travesties like this fashion show slide on by.

Sheryl G (360)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 5:47 pm
UPDATE ON VICTORIA'S SECRET: Just received the following apology from Tammy Robert Meyers, a spokesperson for Limited Brands:

"We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way."


Cam V (417)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 6:21 pm
Welllll, I kinda like the pictures all right ..... but I digress. It IS disrespectful and I am glad you got an apology from them.

Mary T (178)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 6:58 pm
Thanks Rosemary signed and shared.

Laurie S (73)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 7:40 pm
Signed! Thanks for sharing, Barbcat

Christine Stewart (134)
Saturday November 10, 2012, 7:54 pm
Signed! But I don't know why anyone would want to buy anything from Victoria's secret anyway- their half-starved models with huge bosoms in microscopic undergarments are offensive, and I don't care what race or nationality is involved.

Rose Becke (141)
Sunday November 11, 2012, 2:37 am

Amitav Dash (87)
Sunday November 11, 2012, 4:28 am
And, of course, lest we forget they buy cotton picked by child slave labour... scratch the surface when you find one story about a company doing something stupid or evil, and chances are you'll find a lot of other things beneath that carefully managed exterior...

Vicynthia Tjahjadi (57)
Sunday November 11, 2012, 6:37 am
Signed. Thanks for the update, Dandelion. Hope they could keep the promise not to use it elsewhere...

Elsie Au (259)
Sunday November 11, 2012, 8:33 am
Signed. Thanks Judy and Dandalion for the update. This is disgusting! Didn't they understand the meaning of RESPECT?

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday November 11, 2012, 9:14 am
Noted, signed & Twittered.

Ellen m (215)
Sunday November 11, 2012, 2:45 pm
I find the photo tacky and ridiculously stupid and unappealing..and that's before even getting to the other reasons that make it distasteful!
Thanks for sharing Rosemary, and like Terrie I made amother exception and also signed on change...1love

LaurenBackSoon Kozen (173)
Monday November 12, 2012, 3:08 pm
Noted & Signed. Thanks Rosemary.

Jocelyn Koopmann (56)
Monday November 12, 2012, 6:31 pm
Hi Rosemary, I just saw this about the petition on Better than nothing I suppose. Hope it helps. Love me.

UPDATE ON VICTORIA'S SECRET: Just received the following apology from Tammy Robert Meyers, a spokesperson for Limited Brands:

"We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way."

Let's celebrate the fact they listened (though they may have to work on the "how to apologize" part). Amazing work mobilizing together everyone! I'm so proud of our community fighting together for what's right.


RosemaryRannes HusbandNeedsPrayers (650)
Monday November 12, 2012, 8:35 pm
YES !!!!!!!!!!
Their spokesperson offers a 'token' apology and we all know it's well after the fact !
VS is not only obscene but tacky too ! Their mindset is as shallow as their _______ let's just say complete lack of awareness.

Richard your comments are invaluable and I am grateful to you for your input.
Thanks also to my buddy Nancy,1loveEllen, Florence, Yvonne, Ancil and Judy C. for your comments.
NO THANKS to danny m. for an abnoxious comment to say the least.
Judy C. you said it !
Thank you Judy, Dandelion/Sheryl & Lynfor the update which I just saw tonight.
( I've been off resting my back.)

I have posted a new Action Alert on C2NN tonight related to Native American and indigenous rights >
Please note this news item and please sign this important petition Petitioning US Congress: "Native American Culture Day" to replace "Columbus Day"
Thank you so much .


Lisa Zarafonetis (168)
Tuesday November 13, 2012, 10:21 pm
Petition closed. Would've signed.

Betsy M (40)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 4:19 am
I am glad they apologized, but in this day and age their action shows a shocking level of ignorance. Milder infractions might be understandable, but there is a half dressed, very young, non-warrior wearing a full war bonnet. I am horrified. I have served with brave native warriors who would not dare wear such a glorious bonnet. Where is the Medal of Honor g-string? Purple-Heart Panties?
I was amused to read: "UPDATE: Victoria's Secret has closed their comments section on their facebook pages"

Carol H (229)
Thursday November 22, 2012, 12:04 pm
petition was closed, glad it was a success

Debbie S (53)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 7:02 am
This is one of the most disgusting, revolting, insulting, and degrading actions I have witnessed in a long time. It shows the ignorance on the part of Vic's Secret. Just another example of how our culture is used for profit. We are not relics of the past, and our cultures are not trinkets to be sold. Vic Secret could not have been more disrespectful toward Indigenous Peoples.
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