Backlash over 'Pocahottie' and 'Fat Girl' Halloween costumes
Published Wednesday, October 29, 2014 2:12PM EDT
A Manitoba store is getting negative attention for selling several First Nations costumes that mimic traditional aboriginal regalia and clothing. The backlash comes days after Wal-Mart was slammed for calling a section of its retail website "Fat Girl Costumes."
The Winnipeg store Spirit Halloween sells several First Nations costumes with names like "Reservation Royalty," “Pow Wow Princess" and "Pocahottie.” Accompanying the costumes are photos of women wearing skimpy outfits.
Greg Monks, a professor of anthropology at the University of Manitoba, said the costumes stereotype aboriginal women.
"To sell or wear the costumes seems highly culturally insensitive and inappropriate," he told CTV Winnipeg. "How many aboriginal women are missing and brutalized, and yet we're depicting them as sexually objectified people by these costumes."
Customer Tracy Clegg told CTV Winnipeg that not only are the costumes are insulting, they’re also inaccurate.
"Naturally, that's not how (First Nations) wear them when they are in suit. They aren't short and skimpy little outfits that they wear," she said.
But not everyone feels that the costumes are offensive. Kerry Hogan, owner of the local store Gags Unlimited, said that while the costume names are "tacky," the costumes are actually celebrating First Nations culture.
"If I want to wear a Native American headdress, I want to wear it because it's nice," he said.
An employee at Spirit Halloween said the costumes are meant to reflect aboriginal culture in a positive way.
Wal-Mart under fire for 'Fat Girl Costumes'
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart came under fire this week because a section of its website selling plus-sized Halloween costumes was labelled "Fat Girl Costumes."
The company apologized for the insulting label, noting that it was not clear how the wording ended up online. The label has since been removed.
Jamie Newransky is the manager of Sue's, a women's clothing store that sells apparel in sizes ranging from 12 to 24. Newransky said she tries her hardest to avoid using the label "Plus Size," because labels are hurtful.
"Using a label such as fat, is generally derogatory in our society and it doesn't have to be, but certainly here we don't ascribe to labels in general," she said.