Innapropriate cultural appropriation

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I'm seeing more and more use of Native American headdresses and face paint on Pixoto (primarily on Indonesian models). The models are beautiful, the technique is excellent. HOWEVER the use of the headdress and paint in this manner is inappropriate cultural appropriation that is extremely disrespectful and offensive to Native Americans. With these images Pixoto is allowing a cultural and racial imagery slur that is akin to posting images of black faced anglo models. I don't believe that Pixoto would allow black faced models and I fail to understand why you allow this. An actual Native American in costume for something like a dance competition would be fine, but what I'm seeing is not. - Ron Meyers (Creek-Muscogee)
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Ron

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Posted 5 years ago

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Jasenka, Official Rep

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Thank you Ron for pointing this out, I will forward it to the management.
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Andy Morgan

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I do not think that the images are inappropriately racial. I think that the are done in admiration of the beauty of another cultural. They are not depicting anything rude or obscene. I would be proud to have another cultural admire my cultural so much that they dress like mine. I love this quote "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" by Charles Caleb Colton. Not saying that this quote is true all the time but in this case I would. This kind of racial art is only racism when you look at things negatively.
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Ron

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Andy, you twisted my use of the word "Anglo" as a point to justify your argument because I didn't use the word Caucasian or White. Really? Just for info Webster defines Anglo as "a white person who lives in the U.S. and is not Hispanic".

You question whether I have an issue with Asians. While this is clearly an attempt to draw attention away from the issue at hand and deflect it back at me I will answer your question. I am lucky to have a number of good friends who are from various Asian cultures of which I admire and respect. The difference is that if I wanted to show my admiration of their culture through the "art" of photography I would attempt to do it in a more authentic and respectful manner. If I were informed that I wasn't doing so I would discontinue whatever it was I was doing that was offensive.

You make a good point about the amount of time it's taken me to complain. Yes, it's taken me a long time to speak up. Much too long. You see just because people are silent about something doesn't mean it's right. And telling people they are being overly sensitive and taking it too personal (because it is personal) doesn't make you right. And hiding racial in-sensitivities behind a label of "it's art" is just flat wrong.
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Andy Morgan

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Frist you used the word anglo not capitalized, that does mean what I stated in my last post. Second Anglo capitalized means a white American of non-Hispanic descent, as distinguished especially from an American of Spanish descent. Third the word Anglo in Latin is a prefix meaning English. You misused the word anglo for Caucasians. Not all Caucasians are white Americans. Now you using it to single out whites that live in U.S. As if they all are and the only ones that are racist in that way. If anything your twisting you own words to defend yourself. As for bringing up Asians. I was not attempting to draw attention away from the issue at hand but to show that you can be racially offensive and not even know it. The issue at hand is people being racially offensive right. You brought up Asians in your response to Ralph before anyone, You have single out four deferent groups now in a negative way. These four, Indonesian, Caucasians, Asians and whites in the U.S. I wish you would have used deferent words so not to single out certain groups as being racial. Next, as for someone showing their admiration for another through art its kind of hard to figure out what's right and wrong when some say it ok and other do not. My guess(opinion) though is that they didn't research the matter before using it, just like you did not research the word anglo. I never said I was right about you being to sensitive its was my opinion. I'm going to stay with my opinion. In conclusion I'm sorry that it offends you to see non Native Americans in headdress. But do not think it should. I say that because things like your statement " but this is not about a snapshot of kids playing cowboys and Indians". If its ok for kids to wear headdresses, its ok for anyone. If not, Why is ok then to teach kids that it ok? Everyone has racism in them if they know it or not. We are all taught it.
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Ron

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Andy again you make another valiant attempt to deflect from the main issue by making inferences and extrapolating it into something much larger than it is.

There is a huge difference between mentioning people by race in a descriptive manner. That in itself is not racism. Racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races (in short stereotyping).

To be perfectly clear and succinct the issue is that these images extend a stereotype that is based on historical racism. It is offensive to Native Americans and disrespectful if doing so (or defending it) when you are aware that it is offensive and why.

The use of models who are not Native American and cultural artifacts such as fake headdresses, war paint, ect. only serve to build on that stereotype in a way that negatively reflects on Native Americans. Make no mistake Native Americans are proud of their heritage. We just don't like to see it abused.
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Andy Morgan

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Frist I was taking the issue to light, now making to big. That's ironic. Next in your Frist post your describing three of the races indelicately as being racist. In most regions of the world being racist makes one inferior. So does that make the racial art your taking about make you the inferior or superior? I'm going to assume you think your the inferior one. But your being superior. You need to stop living in the past. Forgive and move to the future. History is history things have changed. The reason I'm defending this racial art are. I'm trying not living in the past. I truly believe that this art was done in admiration. I found your post to be very hypocritical. Do not see anything in this art that is depicting anything rude or obscene if anything it shows the beauty of the Native American cultural. As I said before racial art is only racism if you look at it negatively. If your so against racism stop being superior and stop claiming to be inferior.
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Woodstock

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Personally I would like to believe it was done in admiration of the culture, but sadly I don't. Secondly I would be very cautious about suggesting someone "stop living in the past" and making the statement *history is history things have changed* The reason things have changed is because people continue to stand up for what they believe is right. Ron has made very valid points - he is not being confrontational, he is simply explaining why he feels the way he does, and backing it up with historical data which seems perfectly sensible. There are no claims on superiority, nor does it come across that way - in fact he has argued his point quite respectfully....
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Lenore

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Ron, I agree with you. I have been uncomfortable with those images too, but could never seem to find the right words to explain why. I think you've expressed yourself very well.
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Ralph Harvey

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Well i think they have gone out to a fancy dress shop bought a head dress and worn it, just as any person "dressing up" would
We can read too much into a situation for the wrong reasons if we try hard enough the point is why are we trying to look for the wrong

if my kids wore it and i took a picture of them playing would that be offensive ?

And as for the subject of " cultural appropriation for the purpose of winning awards" i notice there are several what might be called genuine versions in the head dress challenge, i suppose they are ok because they are worn by the correct people ?
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Ron

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Ralph, I don't have to look for wrong when it's staring me in the face.

I'm not trying to be a politically correct pain in the arse but this is not about a snapshot of kids playing cowboys and indians. Neither is it about the cultural ignorance and insensitivity of a photographer "innocently" picking up a headdress in a shop.

Authentically dressed Native Americans is a completely different story. They own the birthright to proudly display their heritage in what is hopefully an intelligent and respectful manner. Photographers who capture these images should likewise be respectful in their capture and use. Some tribes vehemently oppose photography at ceremonial events.

These photos which are posted daily on Pixoto depict faux Native Americans in a stereotypically negative way that is disrespectful and offensive.

Are you really surprised to hear that a Native American is offended seeing an Asian model in a cheap knockoff headdress sometimes with warpaint on her face?
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Joyce Andersen

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for what it is worth, I also agree with Ron Meyers. this is disrespectful of the People and their culture.
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Ralph Harvey

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If its so offensive then ban all use of Tribal head wear so there is no bias towards one culture over another.
But then we would have to ban all cultural head wear in case we offend some one ? and maybe we should also ban cultural uniform and dress in case it offends........ but what about religious uniform or wear dreadlocks are part of a rastafarian religion but not all people who wear them are rastafarian, and servicemen/women, the firemen and police who have such pride in there uniform and what it means to them so may be we need to ban any one dressing in there uniform or head wear ?????

Sorry Ron i dont mean to be offensive and sorry if it seems like i am but the point is just how far do you take a point before it offends all
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Woodstock

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I totally agree - the way that they are used on models (for want of a better word) is offensive, and cheesy - I usually skip these duels because they are completely cringe-worthy. The images depict these women in a very negative light.

Pictures of pouting doe-eyed young women in headdresses, head-scarves and posing for studio shots need their own category imho - just like flowers have theirs.......
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Ralph Harvey

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For that reason i agree but that is not a cultural reason there is too much as you put it "doe-eyed young women in headdresses, head-scarves and posing for studio shots"
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Woodstock

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But you don't see the site flooded with images of people caressing bibles and rosaries now, do you????? Or monks fiddling suggestively with their crucifixes for that matter..........
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I do not disagree that the images could be considered to be inappropriate or offensive, and Ron, I'm very sorry that you find content on Pixoto offensive.

That said - we do not have a policy against offensive images. Some of the greatest art in history has been offensive to many people and we do not feel that we should sensor art unless it is absolutely necessary. We will remove images that promote hate (i.e. non-newsworthy images of the KKK or Nazis) or illegal practices (i.e. cock fighting) or are pornographic. However - I do not feel that it is the intention of these photographers to promote racism or hate and therefore we will not remove them. You are more than welcome however to let the photographers know that you are offending by commenting on the images.

I hope this helps.
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After Oz

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Here's the first photo you should comment on since it is in the top 10 photos of all time:
http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...
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Ron

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Thanks After Oz.
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Ralph Harvey

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Now that is a great image and well deserving its place in the top 10.................only shame is that as it almost certainly one a cash prize for 1st in the week it breaks the " cultural appropriation for the purpose of winning awards" rule that was banded at the start of this discussion !
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After Oz

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That great image is of an Indonesian man in a Native American headdress and those Americans who made nice comments on the picture might have been rather taken aback had they seen where the photo came from. You're right it is a darned good photo but in my opinion, through anonymity, the tog won based on the North American's belief that the Native Americans are due an enormous amount of respect. In other words, he scammed his way to the top based on Americans intense respect for heroes in our country. Would you in ethical retrospect feel at all good about abusing another culture's beliefs in order to gain monetarily.
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After Oz

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Deleted the above comment because I accidentally posted twice. Sorry.
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After Oz

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We could go one step further and say that the challenge wherein the only requirement is that it be the backside of a woman (I think it's called "best female butt") is just as offensive. Cheesy nudity (there are some very nice nude images out there - I'm talking those cheesy shots), fake Indians, the use of cultural props by a different culture, all in an attempt to sway the vote are all offensive. It isn't ART - it is commercialism at its very worst. But as Jason said, those type of photos aren't internationally frowned upon and I'm hoping that the minority of thoughtful and respectful people will come out of the closet on this site and rule Pixoto some day!!
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Woodstock

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Well I did comment on that challenge - and I got a rude response posted on one of my images!!!!!
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After Oz

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The butt challenge? Oh, man, I hope they didn't comment on your butt!
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Woodstock

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Hahaha! No - he wrote on one of my pictures of a cat *This is pointless and boring" What a t*sser....
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Garces & Garces

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If you are too sensitive to your cultural background, then you have no place in Photography. Those images were not offensive nor disrespectful based on our current norm as an interconnected society. We're no longer in the old ages. Pixoto is doing the right thing.
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Garces & Garces

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The problem is, what you're pointing as disrespectful images are really not because the one imputing malice is you. We can debate all day long on what's appropriate or not but at the end of the day, what is accepted by the norm is what it is. Nudity is something that is accepted in the west but not in the east, but that doesn't mean those images were disrespectful to eastern cultures.
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Lenore

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What about a nude woman wearing a hijab? Or a woman wearing a burqa, lifted up to expose her nude body?

Do you not think that both the woman and the photographer (and likely Pixoto as well) would be thought of as being highly disrespectful?
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Ron

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The images are disrespectful because they display a negative stereotype which is based on historically racist viewpoints of the Native American culture. Native Americans were called "savages" up until the 1920's. They were the last minority in the USA to gain the right to vote. Stereotype images only serve to keep Native Americans in that place. For this reason faux imagery of Native Americans in headdresses, war paint and bows and arrows is not viewed by NDN culture as "art". It is viewed as deliberately hurtful especially when the offending party has been made aware of the issue. Also for your information your way of thinking it is NOT accepted by the "norm". That is a premise that a few pretentious people would like to believe to justify their being inconsiderate of some one else and the things that are a part of their heritage.
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Garces & Garces

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If that is under nudes & boudoir category, then there's nothing wrong with that. How's that differ from one wearing only underwear with american flag design? Will it offend Muslims? Of course because that is nudity! Even the slightest of exposed skin from a woman is offensive to them!
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Woodstock

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My guess is that any decent photography worth his/her salt would not even begin the entertain the thought of posting an image of a model, in Islamic garb, exposing her flesh - because it's offensive. As I said before - you don't see the site flooded with images of people caressing bibles and rosaries, or monks fiddling suggestively with their crucifixes - because it's offensive. Claiming that these images of women posing as Native American women is not offensive, is culturally ignorant ..............
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Lenore

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There isn't one person here who can tell somebody what they should or shouldn't find offensive or disrespectful; we are all free to have our own beliefs and we also have the right to express them.

Pixoto's owners have the right to approve or disapprove the images that appear on this site, but neither they nor anyone else can tell somebody how they should think or run their life. We can share our opinons but once we start telling others that they are wrong if they don't think exactly like we do, we've crossed a line.....history has shown that to be a very scary line.

Yes, we are a multicultural society now. Funny, but I thought that meant we had more respect for each other, not less.
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Garces & Garces

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So telling others that their images were offensive because it's doesn't conform to someone else's cultural beliefs or practices is actually also crossing the line? I agree that we can't tell others on what they should or shouldn't find offensive because it's their right, but we can't also tell others on what is appropriate and what is not based on our cultural preferences. Restricting one's imagination has no room in photography -- much more cultural accommodations.
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Ron

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Thanks for pointing out that I'm in the minority. Nothing new there. Also, this is not about one "fun" image it is hundreds of images posted by at least eight different photographers.
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Joyce Andersen

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you have others standing with you Ron... whole heartedly and unified. your responses have been eloquent and calm, but blind people can not see. It is a WASP here that is standing with you. White, Anglo, Saxon, Pagan. capitalized or not. And I am also offended by those particular images.
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Lenore

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Ron, you are in the right here.

There is nothing wrong with art making people feel uncomfortable. Nothing at all. But there is a difference between art and exploitation, and encouraging the continuation of exploitation by hiding behind the "but it's art" statement is shameful. That is the language used by those who peddle pornographic images of children and try to defend their actions -- "it's only art".
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Ron

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Thank you Joyce and Lenore.
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Woodstock

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Ron - let's not forget - for many people - ignorance is bliss ;-)
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Garces & Garces

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Selective cultural insensitivity just to prove your point is bias. If you depict a rennaissance man as someone barbaric or evil is more offensive (but I don't think it is) than a woman wearing an indian head dress. Wake up! Look around your images first before you look on other's work.

http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...
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Garces & Garces

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hahaha...actors are no different from the images that you're referring to as offensive...If you think that's not offensive because it's from a rennaisance fair, then how can you say that the images of woman with indian head dress is offensive because it's not from some kind of fair? Wake up! If you find some images offensive then don't vote or appreciate those images but please don't impose your kind of culture upon others because this is not the site to be. It's also the same with us, if we find an image offensive to our culture, then we don't appreciate it but we likewise don't tell others what we want in an image. That's what we call respect. Pixoto has seen your views, and they don't agree because this isn't the United Nations where they will arbitrate on what is offensive or not to a certain culture!
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Lenore

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Actually, Jason did agree with Ron that the images could very well be offensive. It's right up at the top if you'd care to look. "I do not disagree that the images could be considered to be inappropriate or offensive" -- the difference is that Jason has stated that he will allow offensive art on Pixoto because the images do not, in his opinion, promote hate.
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Garces & Garces

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And that's exactly how this site should be. As long as it's doesn't promote hate, illegal activities or pornography, then it should be allowed. Because if they do impose restrictions based on cultural preferences, then this site will become bias. And if that happens then don't be surprised if someone will claim "lilies" as sacred and it should not be presented in other colors other than violet. :P
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Ron

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Lenore, thank you for pointing out Jason's comments. It's obvious there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. I had hoped that common sense would prevail and that people would see the hurt these images do to propagate stereotypes of Native Americans. I should have realized that in the words of Will Rogers, “Common sense ain't common.”

I'm really not the type of person that will argue a point for the sake of arguing. I've presented my case as well as I am able. If people don't understand or want to understand then no amount of arguing will change their opinion. I pray that as people we will one day find a way to be respectful of one another's culture and heritage.

I'm signing off this thread. Goodnight.
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Lenore

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You're welcome, Ron. I think this thread has probably run its course.
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Cheryl Goldschmidt Korotky

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My opinion is that they only use the headdress to win...because they almost always do...I personally, will always vote for the other picture when the duels present themselves to me. And I do find it offensive...Just for the record. Also, the photographers who submit these images are generally Asian, as well as the models, and generally are the ones that seem to have several accounts with all the same models (yes, most of us legitimate submitters realize this goes on all the time on here)...go figure. Personally, I've cut way back on my pixoto because after being here a couple of years I realize all the cheating that goes on...and it pisses me off constantly. I was a Pixoto addict...really...but now I'm so busy with actual paid work I've cut way back. Anyway, back to the original point-I find the headdresses offensive...and I am 1/4th native American, although it doesn't show in my face....at least I don't think so...

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