Do you think it is wrong for Native American headdresses to be used in fashion?

I have been hearing about this topic quite a bit and it seems like some people have strong views about it. Some people think it's offensive towards Native Americans while others think it's okay and say that anything is allowed in fashion. So, do you think it is wrong for people in the fashion industry to wear Native American headdresses, especially if they are not Native American themselves? Do you consider this to be cultural appropriation? What is your opinion?

Some examples:

Do you think it is wrong for Native American headdresses to be used in fashion?





  • I think it's fine, it's not a big deal.
    38% (15)50% (12)43% (27)Vote
  • I think it's wrong and offensive
    46% (18)21% (5)37% (23)Vote
  • I don't have an opinion/see results
    16% (6)29% (7)20% (13)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I think that while culture acceptance and integration of Native American culture would be a great thing for Americans to do, as it would create an environment where American and Native Americans could understand each other better, I think that we must respect the traditions of the Native Americans when they confer a significant meaning. The frivolity of fashion should not be a place where we integrate Native American themes into our society, especially when taking a symbol of respect and leadership and turning it into a show piece. That'd be like making a carnival ride out of the Lincoln Memorial.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • It IS cultural appropriation AND offensive no matter how you look at it. No exceptions. Those who say it's not are highly ignorant and clearly don't care about the Native Americans they disrespect so easily. The headdress is a sacred object worn only by those who have done great things for/in their tribe, and nowadays it's mostly worn during ceremonies. If you are not Native American and if you haven't earned it, you are not allowed to wear a headdress. Even if it's some knockoff from China that you bought on ebay. It's seen as highly inappropriate and Native Americans have requested that people don't wear them, since it's something that means a lot to them and you are ruining its meaning by turning it into some fashionable/trendy/cool thing to wear at a rave or photo shoot. Respect the wishes of the people it really belongs to. Please accept that it is not an object meant for you to wear. It is not cool. It is not trendy. It is not fashionable. It's cultural appropriation and it's wrong.

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    • Who are you referring to when you say "you" in your response? I would never wear one although I do have Native American ancestry. I just wanted to get other people's opinions. Lol

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    • "But just because some people aren't offended by it, it doesn't make it any less wrong really"
      Doesn't make it any less wrong in your opinion and the opinions of others. In my opinion and the opinions of others, it isn't wrong. I am not automatically wowed when I hear people are offended by something.

      If you could demonstrate to me that a majority of Native Americans are offended, I might take it into consideration (although it's still the opinion of the majority). However, I don't know that it's a majority. As I said, they weren't sacred to every tribe.

      In the cases where headdresses were given to trappers, they were being used as currency. How on earth is that sacred? I don't think the headdresses I saw being hawked on the roadsides in the Desert Southwest were an attempt at educating people about their culture, given that most tribes in the Desert Southwest didn't wear them.

      "So it heavily depends on the context."
      No, it depends on the OPINION of the person.

    • You, and many like you, are of the opinion that it's wrong. You have every right to your opinion.

      My sister, and many like her, are of the opinion that it's not wrong. And they have just as much right to that opinion as you do.

What Guys Said 18

  • I find it strange how selectively offended people are by things. A Native American headdress is used in religious ceremonies and is a sacred object to many who still practice their religions. I feel like if someone wore a sexy priest or nun outfit people would be wayyyy more offended simply due to the fact that Christianity is more mainstream in America. There have been people who have been kicked out of school or threatened for wearing a mocking Jesus outfit for Halloween yet it's totally cool to make a mockery out of Native American religious figures and artifacts? Things like this make me realize how hypocritical most people are. We should either be universally offended or not offended at all and just let everything fly. People think so inwardly that we only care when things blaspheme against our own beliefs or convictions but will turn around and easily do it to others. I don't understand humanity I really don't.

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    • Yeah, I agree with you. Like, I'm a Christian but I don't think it's right to mock ANY religion. Some people only find it offensive when people mock their own beliefs but they have no problems mocking other people's values/beliefs which I don't agree with.

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    • "People think so inwardly that we only care when things blaspheme against our own beliefs or convictions but will turn around and easily do it to others."
      Actually, I've noticed that if it offends non-white or third world people, Americans automatically give respect to the offended party. Hence we are careful to call what was once known as Burma, "Miyanmar." We are careful to call what was once known as Peking, "Beijing." We are careful to give respect to African masks, but happily soak a crucifix in urine (and even give the artist a government grant). We still call Germany "Germany," in spite of the fact Germans don't call it that. We call Japan "Japan," in spite of the fact that Japanese don't call it that. We call Native Americans "Native Americans" even though technically anyone born in America is a Native American, and that which we call "Native Americans" never called themselves that prior to the foundation of the United States.

    • @bluemax okay my initial analogy may have some flaws but my point still stands regardless: if you're the type of person who gets offended when people mock or insult your beliefs then you should feel equal outrage as it applies to others. If you're the type of person who doesn't get offended by that then by all means express yourself however you wish but be prepared for some backlash. At least people aren't being hypocrites with either of those views. That was my whole point to begin with. I'm the latter so it was difficult for me to come up with something to back up the selective outrage side of things.

  • 1. These girls sure make the gear seem far more sexier & beautiful for sure :D <3
    2. I have always been of the opinion that the native American head dress is very regal
    3. Isn't it ironic that the very people's ancestors who decimated the native Americans are talking about the usage being offensive. It's probably some sort of insecurity than anything else.
    4. I personally think it's a tribute to the native Americans if it's worn with respect, maybe you should have added vote 'D' for this point :)

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  • i dont think its wrong i just dont think it looks good at all. i can see how a native American could find it offensive though

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  • I go back and forth on it. I've come up with this answer.

    Some Native Americans (and by the way, I go back and forth on whether or not we should call them "Native Americans" or "Indians") are offended, to which I answer they have every right to be offended. It's important, by the way, to note that it's only SOME Native Americans.

    On the other hand, people have every right to wear them and not care if someone is offended.

    By the way, why is this just a woman's fashion trend?

    By the way, nice shades, xHoneyxBeex

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    • Oh, it's interesting how you can offend Christians (The Book of Mormon musical, Piss Christ) and not only do relatively few people seem to care, you actually get a government grant. Why is that?

    • Lol thank you! And yeah, I definitely see your viewpoint and I agree. I can see this issue both ways.

  • I think it's fine, except in one case.
    What I think about are Scottish tartans... some families have their own tartan and I would find it rude if one of those would be stolen and used commercially.
    So if there are specific styles or color patterns of headdress that are specific to certain groups of native Americans, I would be against commercial use of them.
    In all other cases, I suppose it's fine though they should not make the headdresses look ridiculous. Like in Halloween costumes or so :-(

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    • way to go Hans. Just mentioned the Scots wear now. That represents much more than just clothing attire.

  • I would definitely consider it cultural appropriation

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  • Look its a headdress. Nobody actually wears this thing to work, only at some Rave concert or something, and thats like once a year anyway. Everyone is always finding new ways to be offended about something. -_- its a headdress, not a swastika

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  • It's cultural appropriation. Just as offensive as the whole "trans-racial" bullshit.

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  • I think its fine, no one seems to care about living on land that we took from them, so really taking their headdress pails in comparison

    if you think its wrong and offensive you should move back to Europe, asia, or africa, wherever your ancestors are from, and give the natives your property

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  • If they have approval from the tribe whose headdress it is

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  • I don't think it's offensive at all. I'm not a racist. I don't think that race should prescribe what people wear.

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  • Offensive is kind of a big word for me. It seems very... ignorant. And kind of brash, too.

    If a native American were to be offended by it, though, then I could understand it.

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  • It's a piece of friggin' clothing. Do I offend the courts of Europe by wearing a suit? What about having a pony tail, would that offend the Samurai?

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    • Suits and ponytails are not exclusive to only one culture though, so it's not the same thing.

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    • what about the Scottish kilt then? now we are headed closer to your culture British lad. What would the reaction of a Scot be if you were to tell him it is just a piece of friggin' clothing?
      Just a thought. . . .

    • If he was thick, he'd have a whiny tantrum. If he had any common sense, he'd realise it's a bit of coloured cloth.

  • Yes it should not be used for fashion, only serious matters.

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  • I always thought of them to be used for sacred cultural events... not to be used by just anyone.

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  • Its just clothes its not a big deal.

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  • WHO CARES. People need to get over all this crap.

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  • Well between the eagle feathers and the fact that the headdress actually means something with religious and cultural significance, It is also male only. I would say no. It would be like a nude model wearing a nuns habit

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What Girls Said 8

  • I think that it's wrong. These things have hugely important spiritual and cultural significance and they should be respected as such, not just treated casually like they're just elaborate pieces of fashion.

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  • It's like if some guy who had never served in the military was walking around with a purple heart or a medal of valor. It's just not right.

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  • I always thought it was meant to be a homage to their history... not a usage of it for a fashion statement... o. O

    SO I never saw it as an exploitation.

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  • It probably shouldn't be identical to a cheif hat and their outfit shouldn't look like a over the top costume, but for a modern tribal twist it looks really cool. I love the first and the third ones. The second is too costuming and would be annoying for me since its so long

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  • It's very wrong when those who design and wear the pieces don't know what the colors or symbols mean or represent. Native Americans (and other cultures such as African/Asian) have different meanings for specific colors and patterns than Western cultures.
    It's like: if you don't know what it means to wear this, then don't wear it.

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  • I think it's wrong. But you can wear what you want.

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  • I'm sick of all this cultural appropriation shit. Why does anyone care? I see no problem with it, go crazy. It just looks stupid.

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    • You're sick of it? Think about how the people that are affected by it are feeling. What if you made something, like a work of art that meant a lot to you. You put a lot of effort into it, it's something you're incredibly proud of. But then someone decides to steal your work of art and claim it as their own. Or, what if that person not only steals your work of art, but actually destroys it too. Burns it and throws it in the trash. All that hard work you put into it, gone. Ruined. And they do nothing but laugh in your face and tell you that it doesn't matter, that you shouldn't care, and what they did was completely justified. That's kind of what it feels like when other people's cultures get appropriated. That's what Native Americans feel like when people disrespect their sacred objects.

    • Sorry but I don't care. If something so idiotic bothers someone that much then they're going to have a hard life. I couldn't care less if someone wanted to walk around dressed in a kimono or whatever. People are way too sensitive. Besides it's not like it's an actual headdress used by their ancestors just some cheap knock off.

    • A lot of Japanese people have actually said that it's ok to wear a kimono if you wear it correctly and if you do it with the right intentions. Many non-Japanese people who have stayed with Japanese families have been given a kimono to wear. They like it when other people indulge in their culture because it interests/fascinates them.
      But you can't compare that to a Native American headdress. The headdress has a very specific meaning to it, certain criteria a person has to fill in order to be able to wear it. The kimono doesn't really have that kind of official criteria. And like I already said in my own opinion, it doesn't matter if it's some cheap knockoff bought on ebay. It still symbolizes something, and Native Americans have already expressed that they find it offensive and disrespectful. Why is it so hard for you to respect other people or cultures? You don't really have to understand WHY, you don't have to empathize with them, as long as you understand that it's unacceptable.

  • Not surprising. Fashion brands are known to be offensive to gain more attention.

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