Thursday, March 19, 2009

Things Seen 15

Traveling through east Texas on my way back home Sunday, I saw this image on a Navajo Trucking rig.

I just could not believe those eyes, y'all, just could not. Now, I don't know how much of the rest of the image is authentic (her headdress and the coils around her neck, for example), but I am skeptical.

As I stared at that image, I wondered why in the world the company portrayed a Navajo woman with blue eyes. It occured to me later that it is for the same reasons PoC are encouraged to take on, or prized for being born with, "European" features IRL.

In theory, such features bring us closer to a standard of beauty that most people of European descent can't even achieve. They make us "stand out," "more beautiful," "different."

But I wasn't thinking of any of those descriptors as that truck rolled by me. I was thinking, "How sad." It isn't enough that Navajo Trucking appropriated names and images of a people to "represent" their company. They altered those images to conform to a certain aesthetic, perpetuating a long-standing pattern of trying to own and control the bodies of WoC and how our bodies will be represented.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say thank-you for the comment at my blog. I also wanted to assure you that neither the comment nor my blog post were directed at you, or Shakesville, but in response to the overwhelming feeling I got when I read the comments. Your post handled the topic so well.

Thank-you for taking the time to respond. I appreciated it more than I can say.

elle said...

posted this at your place too:

No, you were very clear, here and at shksvl, that the issue wasn’t with my OP! Still, I wanted to let you know that I saw your comment and took it to heart, that I thought you made an excellent point, and that I should’ve acknowledged it–at the very least to show support and respect.

Someone said...

In response to your post to the Navajo trucking image, the image of the woman on the side of the truck is authentic and though the eyes are a little color enhanced, her eyes are in fact blue. The image is not a "representation" of the company, it is a picture of the company owner's daughter. The company's name in every way is appropriate, for the fact that the family is of Navajo descent. And the choice that they made to proudly display their daughter as an image on their trucks is a decision of their own, and in no way is "sad" and is not at all an attempt to conform to any standard of beauty.

Rob said...

Being of Navajo descent doesn't make you Navajo. Moreover, the headband, feather, braids, and choker have nothing to do with the Navajo. They're pure stereotypes and offensive to many Native people.

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