Thursday, November 29, 2012

Looking through the non-PCness of Victoria's Secret - to something worse...

I stumbled upon the latest conflict in political correctness yesterday. Anybody who knows me well (not many people these days - they're mostly gone to the big wotnot in the sky) knows that I staunchly defended PC when it first appeared on the scene, many decades ago. Since then, because in certain circles it has been taken too far - farther than it was ever meant to be taken, "PC" has become, along with "socialist", a dirty word to some people.

This current conflict has arisen via a fashion parade by lingerie chain Victoria's Secret, and it's not for the first time something similar has occurred. The bone of contention this time is a Native American/American Indian War Bonnet worn, along with several items of turquoise jewellery of Native symbolism - and a leopard-skin patterned tiny bikini of no relevant symbolism at all. Native Americans have seen this display as being offensive and disrespectful of their culture. A similar thing happened on a previous occasion when Japanese Geisha garb was used, and fell under a similar barrage of accusations - of being offensive to Eastern culture.

I can't possibly feel as those of Native American bloodlines feel on this latest issue. I do, however, respect their hurt feelings and sensitivity. Vic's Secret say they took advice from cultural associations before going ahead with that particular costume in their fashion parade, and were given the go ahead. So there was no blatant disrespect intended - the matter was afforded some careful forethought. I understand they have now apologised and removed the image from any videos.

Lay aside the cultural aspect of this for a moment, the fact that the War Bonnet is a sacred symbol (see Wikipedia for information). Now...see Victoria's Secret's use of the costume as an affectionate, if clumsy, celebration of the beauty in Native American culture. Ask why would a war bonnet of whatever culture be celebrated?

War. War. War.

Killing. Of. Other. Humans. We are supposed to be trying to evolve, damn it! In which case celebrating something - anything - with any connection to killing, is not helpful or wise. War and battles are not to be celebrated, no matter how revered the symbols to any cultural set of humanity, ancient or modern, indigenous or invaders. I'm sorry if that point of view is offensive to Native Americans, but it is how I feel.....that is where this incident hits my own point of extreme sensitivity.


mike said...

Never know what's in the eye of the beholder now a days. The swastika is my fav...for thousands of years it was a symbol for spiritual, benefic intent, but now incites rage. In my early childhood, Christopher Columbus was revered as a heroic explorer, the USA even gave him a special day (second Monday in October), but now his exploits are seen as a disease carrying, slave trading tyrant.

There's minority awareness that was so PC several decades ago, but has reversed itself the past several years. Now, whites consider themselves the minority.

A recent hot button for me is underage male sexual assault. Too many females (usually teachers) have been arrested for this. It's socially considered vile, but the PC isn't quite there yet. I've seen quite a few late-night comedians poke fun at these situations. Gossip-talking assumes that the boy had to have enjoyed it...maybe. However, let it be an adult male assaulting an underage girl and it becomes very serious...absolutely no jokes.

Political correctness is sorta like fashion: in today, out's hard to keep up.

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

I find it odd that with so much we Could put our energy toward that would have positive benefits for ourselves and the world, that folks whittle away their time looking for something to point their righteous indignation at like a 44 magnum they keep handy in their pocket.
If all the energy folks wasted in a 24 hour period was spent on sending out positive, beneficial vibes, the world would soon be healed of much of its illness.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ "It's hard to keep up" - yes, indeed! There's always someone, somewhere who can and will be offended by something.

I support without question the original point of political correctness - it was really just a matter of courtesy, consideration of others, and good manners - not using racial slurs or hurtful descriptions of people with disabilities were two of the originals, as I recall. Those are pretty general categories we encounter every day, and PC on those is something with which very few reasonable people could disagree.

Now PC has spread to what I see as "specialities", uncommon items, and we are likely to be caught by them without even realising it.

Late night comedians and talk show hosts are guilty of many sins, the one you mention among them. My respect for them plummeted long ago.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~~ It does seem, at times, that some people deliberately see insult or hurt, when none was ever intended. The internet has opened the door wider than it has ever been before on that score. Though I can understand more or less where they're coming from, it seems to me that there'd be a nicer, more useful way to approach the issues involved than simply getting angry.

R J Adams said...

Ooops! You've attracted the spam boys again, Twilight. Not sure if they're marginally better than rent boys, or not! This whole political correctness thing bugs me to death. It's all gone crazy. Surely, it's not the words, nor the actions that should be considered offensive, but the intention. If it's not intended to insult, then don't be insulted. If it's not meant to hurt, then don't be so bloody sensitive as to be hurt by it. We're all going soft and the human race will eventually end up as seven billion blobs of jelly.

R J Adams said...

PS: Personally, I think she's rather gorgeous. She can war-dance around my tepee any time she likes.

Wisewebwoman said...

I wonder about these "PC" furores and how the resultant publicity can push sales of the product through the roof?


Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ We can't change our sensitivities easily - if they come naturally to us, and are not simply a way of attracting attention. sometimes that's at the core of some complaints.

There are certain things which bring out my own sensitivities.....

She's a good lookin' gal, yes - a bit on the skinny side but don't they say "you can never be too thin or too rich?" :-)

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ There's that - yep!
Somehow though, in this particular case I don't think so. I think they tried to make sure it wasn't offensive - and were advised wrongly it seems.

Vanilla Rose said...

In my childhood (okay, teenage years), I was taught about Australia being "discovered" (by white Europeans). I knew that was BS. Surely most American teenagers can see through the Columbus thing for themselves?

Or maybe not.

I'm surprised that Sonny has taken time out from sending out positive, beneficial vibes to lower himself (herself?) to snipe at this post. Jog on, enlightened one, nothing here to distract you from your important mission.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~ Hmmmm - not sure on the Columbus matter, but there is evidence, even as far inland as what is now Oklahoma that the Vikings were here before Chris C.

Re Sonny's comment, Vanilla, I didn't take it as a snipe at my post - not sure whether I was right or wrong on that - it hadn't struck me any other way, though. I thought the criticism was aimed at those elsewhere complaining about the Victoria's Secrets costume.

Vanilla Rose said...

I mean that Australia was there before the white Europeans arrived. Just as "America", existed before it was "discovered" by Columbus, Vikings or anyone else.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~ Ah! - I see what you're getting at.

I guess that the native people (at least in North America)actually did the discovering (as in finding) themselves - the land was always there, though perhaps not always exactly the same shape as it is now - and the various tribes found it by crossing over a then existing land bridge from Asia.

Not sure about the Native Australians' origin, but they probably also rue the day that Europeans found their land.