Victoria's Secret Controversy Hits Red River Valley - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Victoria's Secret Controversy Hits Red River Valley

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Holiday shopping season is underway for many. But Victoria's Secret may not be getting business from some folks here in the Red River Valley.

That's after the company sent a model down the runway at its recent fashion show wearing a Native American war bonnet -- a nd very little else.

The outfit -- part of their annual fashion show set to air next month -- created a lot of controversy across the nation among people with American Indian heritage.

Local members of the American Indian community, including members of the Lakota Sioux tribe, from which the war bonnet comes, are expressing displeasure, but no surprise. The outfit -- called "Thanksgiving" by Victoria's Secret -- is like so many other stereotypical racial images they say they see around Thanksgiving every year.

The problem with this particular image is twofold, however, as the people we talked to pointed out.

It's not just the fact that one of their major cultural artifacts -- not to mention a garment that's still worn in ceremonies and celebrations -- has been turned into a an accessory for a costume. It's also that it's been highly sexualized.

NDSU student Abigale BlackCloud points out that women on the reservation suffer very high rates of sexual violence as it is. Some studies say one in three women will be a sex crime victim. That, she says, makes it all the more thoughtless an image.

"I don't think it's really the headdress that's the problem itself," says BlackCloud. "It's that the only time people get upset is over things like this, this headdress controversy, when really what we need to be paying attention to are the issues that are on the reservation. It's not just about a headdress."

The company -- and the model who wore it -- have since apologized for the images. Victoria's Secret has promised to pull that segment from the airing of the fashion show on December fourth. Because of that, BlackCloud says, she won't be boycotting the company.

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