Generally the rule of thumb is you can dress up as a person, but not a people. It’s really that easy.
I hear what you’re saying BUT HOW IS THIS OK? THIS IS RACIST GARBAGE :
You are right, this is racist rubbish, because these people are all dressed up as over age old…
Not slamming, just a question. What if you’re dressing up for Pocahontas for Halloween because you like the Disney movie and she’s your favorite princess?
I’m honestly curious.
I like many many little white children of the 90s loved me some disney’s Pocahontas. I had those sweet 6 inch action figures of her and her tribe that were the same size as all my other action figures and her and batman just painted with the colors of the wind. Then one day in school we learned her real story.
Lemme preface the rest of this post with saying I am obviously not native American and am no authority on anything.
Ok back to the story. Out of all the disney princesses we loved so much growing up only one was a real and true human being. I don’t think that in itself is bad but disney decided to used no facts from her real life and instead used the plot of the play ‘the indian princess’ which is a bunch of racist garbage. Real Pocahontas (real name Matoaka) was a little girl when old ass dude john smith crashed his ass on our shores and no romance was to be had. It’s only in john smith’s later tellings of his life (aka making up bullshit to impress fuckers) did he concoct the whole she saved my life” business but he never even said they had any romantic feelings.
The disney movie chose to not only age her up but to make her a love interest in a very inaccurate love story, but they also chose to design her as a very long thin miniskirted pouty lipped sexy lady. Who makes out with a white dude. This troubled take on her life is made worse by the history of native american women who were often raped and abused by white
invaders settles no i had it right, invaders who were forcefully taken as wives and had their children never learn about their culture. The real woman herself was taken captive where she converted to Christianity and married a white dude (which disney also fucks up in the sequel).
So even if we, you and I, really like that disney movie we have to admit it’s problematic as hell and all those problems are magnified because she and her tribe were real flesh and blood humans. Personally I leave the movie behind me in my sweet ignorant bliss of childhood. I didn’t know better. I still think the message of ‘colors of the wind’ is pretty solid buuuut…. Would I show it any of my nieces and nephews knowing what I know?nope. Do I hope that disney will make a animated movie that much better shows kids about native american peoples? yep.
Personally I would not dress up as her. Compared to say, mulan who is totally fictional and whose costumes arn’t embarrassingly off, We don’t know exactly how real Pocahontas dressed, almost all the historical images we have of her tribe were from sensationalized white folk sources. To dress up as Disney’s Pocahontas is to essentially dress as a caricature of the native american woman. That is how people are going to see you.
It would be my hope that if you really did adore her, and she really was your favorite princess that you would reach out to the real woman through history and read about her life and her struggles and then think about if you really want to reduce her to just that disney movie. I would stick by my original advice as maybe go as one of the more verified paintings of the real lady. While Mulan and Jasmine are neither 100% historically accurate fashion wise they don’t represent real human beings so dressing up as those fairytale people are a little harder to argue against for me even if their movies were a little less then perfect when it comes to depicting cultures.