What's With the Hipster Headdress?

by douglas reeser on 6.30.2010

The summer is festival season in the U.S., and a disturbing trend can be found this year among many of the young hipster festival-goers. We're not sure where the trend started, or why, but it appears to be happening nationwide. We're talking about the hipster headdress outfit. Both men and women (or should it be boys and girls) don these traditional native american feather-adorned headdresses seemingly as a fashion statement. When questioned, a common response is that they are worn out of respect or in solidarity. Some invoke the spiritualism of "We're all one... man". Whatever the reason, many in the Native American community take issue with this co-optation of a sacred vestment, which is why we've decided to bring it up here. When hipsters wear the headdress, it calls to mind the many stereotypical visions of the Native American, and carries a number of assumptions about appropriateness and solidarity. We came across this banner (not sure what to call it really) that we know was created by a Native American, we're just not sure who. While we can't give proper credit, we feel that it puts the issue into perspective for those who may be wondering what we're talking about and why it's even an issue. Take a look:

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  1. Anonymous2:06 PM

    Great illustration. I haven't yet had the uncomfortableness of seeing a hipster in a headdress, but I'm not at all surprised that the "style" is being co-opted.

  2. Wow...this is disturbing. I haven't been privy to seeing this "trend" yet but I wonder how I will react when I see it. Usually I am not inclined to say anything to hipsters, they have their style and that is fine, but when it concerns stylizing someone else's sacred vestment that I have a problem with. Aside from that are this hipsters wearing these things to shows? How the heck do the people behind them see what is going on?

  3. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I saw the girl on the Real World wearing the hipster headdress - when asked why, she said: "Like Pocahontas dude" or something like that.

  4. Anonymous7:37 PM

    While I agree whole-heartedly with calling people out on cultural appropriation (wearing headdresses and dressing as 'sexy Pocahontas' for parties is absolutely disrespectful), I do take issue with "it's not like your ancestors killed them all or anything".

    My ancestors didn't come to the U.S. until 1920, so no, my ancestors had nothing to do with the horrific genocide that went on in this country up until the 19th century. Pointing at a white girl in a headdress and accusing her ancestors of killing Native Americans is judging someone based on the color of their skin...which is something we're trying to steer clear of in the 21st century. Accusing me of 'my ancestors' being murderers is akin to accusing a black man of being a rapist gangster thug because of the color of his skin, or a Muslim of being a terrorist.

    If we're going to stop being racist, starting with cultural appropriation is a good start, but we need to give equality to all races. Attacking 'privileged' races is just as bad as appropriating from or attacking non-privileged races. Because if you attack one, single person for their race, you've lost the entire racial equality battle.


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