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Ruth Hopkins: Actress shows up in 'Redface' on magazine cover

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: media, racism, ruth hopkins, stereotypes

Ruth Hopkins takes on yet another example of cultural appropriation:
Now I've really seen it all. Michelle Williams is on the cover of AnOther Magazine, in apparent Redface. Michelle burst into the spotlight when she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Later, she was nominated for Oscars for her work in Blue Valentine (2010) and Marilyn (2011). She is now starring as Glinda The Good Witch in Oz: The Great and Powerful (now in theaters).

Dressed in a braided wig, dull beads, and turkey feathers while sporting a decidedly stoic expression, AnOther Magazine and company ups the ante by putting Michelle in a flannel shirt, jeans, and what appears to be some sort of academic or legal robe. I smell an attempt to portray reservation nobility. Are they endeavoring to capture the spirit of the American Indian Movement (AIM) circa 1973? Is this an ad for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) or the American Indian College Fund (AICF)? Nope. It's a 33 year old white actress hyping her latest Hollywood project by wearing a cheap costume designed to make her look like she's the member of another race.

Am I glad that unlike most racist, stereotypical caricatures of American Indians in pop culture today (Victoria's Secret's Racist Garbage Is Just Asking for a Boycott), Michelle is not practically naked? Yes — but just as Blackface is never okay, Redface is never okay. Ever.

Get the Story:
Ruth Hopkins: Why Is Michelle Williams in Redface? (Jezebel 3/12)

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