Stereotypes or Bust(s): Will Redskin magazine help or hurt Natives?

by guest contributor Rob Schmidt, originally published at Newspaper Rock

The new magazine Redskin describes itself like this:

Redskin is an Indigenous owned and operated provocative publication penetrating the critical intersection of indigenous beauty, power, politics and art through the explosive forces of sexuality and humor…This adult oriented publication hopes to disrupt common stereotypes and barriers associated with our indigenous culture.

Wow, a magazine that finally reveals Natives in all their semi-naked glory. A magazine that shows us how men and especially women can have buffed, bodacious bodies and still be real people. Who would’ve thought of exploiting Native sexuality to engage readers and make a buck too? I’m amazed no one ever came up with this idea before.

Yep…as I said, a totally creative and innovative idea. Uh-huh, sure.

The real question isn’t whether Redskin will be “pornographic.” No mainstream magazine could do that and survive. The real question is how bare the women will be. Will they be nude, topless, or just scantily clad? Curiously, the editors don’t address this question, which seems like an obvious one to me.

I’d say there are more Native magazines for adults than there are for children. Of course, most of them do current affairs, the arts, and academic studies rather than popular culture. But for popular Native culture, you don’t need a magazine, since Newspaper Rock has it all. We cover more pop culture in a week than a typical magazine could cover in three months.

As for the “Redskin” title, guess my opinion on that and you’ll probably be right. A critique of the name practically writes itself. Why doesn’t someone do it for me so I don’t have to? ;-)

Anyway, I sure hope the sex-oriented Redskin magazine dispels the stereotype of Indians as sex objects and redskins. To dispel other Native stereotypes, maybe they’ll have a news section called Smoke Signals. A music section called Flutes & Drums. A money-management section called Wampum. A footwear section called Moccasins. A cosmetics section called Warpaint. A hair-styling section called Scalped. (I could go on.)

If Redskin is a success, they can spin off more stereotype-busting magazines. A women’s magazine called Squaw. A child-rearing magazine called Papoose. A home design magazine called Teepee. A fashion magazine called Buckskin. A sports magazine called Warriors. An executive magazine called Chief. (I could go on, and on.)

In short, let’s reclaim these derogatory and stereotypical terms from the dustbin of history. Let’s start saying them proudly and provocatively to show we’re not Uncle Tomahawks. Let’s make ourselves as naughty and notorious as the rappers who use “nigger.”

Ahem.

For a more serious take on the subject, see Indian Women as Sex Objects. For a case study on the subject, see The Rez Dog Calendar: Role Models or Sex Objects?

Speaking of Native sexuality, someone once claimed Natives used to engage in all sorts of Kinky Indian Sex. Check it out and tell me if he was right.