Michelle Williams appeared in a magazine ostensibly dressed as a Native American. Oh boy.
Cue the collar-loosening. The spring/summer issue of British fashion magazine AnOther is out, and its cover feature is an interview and fashion spread with America’s sweetheart Michelle Williams dressed in a series of fun vintage looks, including long, black, braided hair with a feather in it, and makeup that makes her eyes look sunken and somber. And for the pièce de résistance, as Ruth Hopkins puts it in the inevitable diatribe against said image, “what appears to be some sort of academic or legal robe.” (Wait… that’s not part of a stereotype, right?)
Native American activists like Hopkins have already expressed their anger and disappointment over the shoot. The Native American Journalists Association issued a statement, which, though vague, urged journalists to “think about the artistic value” of images depicting members of a given cultural group. And a number of non-Native American people have very carefully offered their support (e.g. “We’re not so sure how to feel,” “The feather-in-braids look is potentially offensive to Native Americans”) in order to express that, while not Native Americans themselves, they are still offended—though not as offended as, say, Native Americans might be.
Meanwhile, AnOther has released a statement to say that “the image in question in no way intends to mimic, trivialize, or stereotype any particular ethnic group.”
Stop there! Stop there!
Furthermore (uh oh), the photo was actually one “in a series of eight different imaginary characters” (emphasis ours).
Cue the collar-loosening. [via Entertainment Weekly]