This adventure is a accord between AJ and High Country News.
Three weeks ago, I was threatened with arrest for presenting a abode with added than 14,000 signatures on it to a Halloween-costume maker. Yandy, a Phoenix, Arizona-based lingerie distributor, sells about 40 altered styles of Native American-themed costumes. Best of them are for women, and best are ualized.
It’s accomplished time to allege up about America’s abhorrence to abode the racism and bigotry directed at Indigenous people, decidedly women.
A accumulation of Native women accumulate to beef at Yandy‘s Phoenix address in 2017.
In September, Yandy angled to criticism over its “y” Handmaid’s Tale apparel — a mini-skirted adaptation of the apparel beat by the agent disciplinarian in the hit Hulu appearance — and removed the account from its website. It took abandoned a few hours for online abuse to force the aggregation to cull the apparel and affair an apology. “It has become accessible that our ‘Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume’ is actuality apparent as a attribute of women’s oppression, rather than an announcement of women’s empowerment,” the aggregation wrote in a statement. “This is unfortunate, as it was not our ambition on any level.”
And yet the aggregation continues to advertise apparel that abuse Native women and abate us to animal objects, admitting protests from Indigenous communities nationwide. A aggregation agent approved to absolve this, cogent the Phoenix New Times that “the apparel are afflicted by able appearance elements acquired from the ability and are advised to pay admiration to the Native American community, not to apish or offend.”
Last year, Yandy CEO Jeff Watton told Cosmopolitan annual that he had no ambition of affairs the band of Native-themed costumes, unless backfire resulted in “significant demonstrations” or accomplished a point of contentiousness “along the curve of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Watton said. “Then it’s become too hot of an issue.” It’s accessible to see why the aggregation wants to abide affairs racist costumes: Sales of the band totaled $150,000 in 2016 alone.
When Blackhorse presented Yandy CEO Jeff Watton with the petition, he threatened to alarm the police.
In added words, the apparel are still for sale.
This fall, aback it discontinued the adult Handmaid’s costume, Yandy accepted the women who wore non-ualized Handmaid’s Tale apparel to beef the arrangement of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in September. But the company’s abutment of changeable empowerment has its limits: Instead of alert to Indigenous women, Watton has called to aish our choir and alarm for our arrest.
Four canicule afterwards the adult Handmaid apparel came down, a abode created by Choctaw activist Zoe Dejecacion to stop Yandy from affairs Native-themed apparel went up on Change.org. Within aloof a few days, there were added than 14,000 signatures. But aback I brought the abode to aggregation headquarters, Watton afresh threatened to alarm the police. “I bethink you from aftermost year; you’re not accustomed here,” he told me. So far, there are added than 22,000 signatures on the petition, yet Watton has banned to comment.
Historically, Indigenous women accept consistently been targets of violence. Native women are 2.5 times added acceptable to be raped or ually assaulted than white women. Added than bisected of us accept had absolute acquaintance with animal violence, while assassination is the third arch account of afterlife for Native women. In Canada, Indigenous women are 12 times added acceptable to be murdered or missing than their white counterparts. As acknowledged academic Sarah Deer notes: This is not a abrupt epidemic. Abandon adjoin Native women has been accident for centuries, and it is abiding in abuse and colonial violence. By ualizing and stereotyping Native women, Yandy perpetuates abuse in apparel form.
Yandy diminishes our cultures, strips abroad our humanity, and remakes us in the angel it desires. Yandy erases who we are, alike as it pays lip account to women’s rights and changeable empowerment. And clashing those who protested the adult Handmaid’s costume, we are not alike afforded the appropriate to be offended. To Yandy, we are annihilation added than apparel and mascots — a anatomy of ball and a antecedent of profit.
This week, I will go aback to Yandy with added Native women and appeal that the aggregation abandon its band of abhorrent Native-themed costumes. The aggregation needs to be answerable to the actual bodies it claims to honor. Stop affairs those abhorrent costumes, Mr. Watton. It’s accomplished time.
Amanda Blackhorse (Diné) is a amusing worker, mother and apostle for Native people.
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