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Feminist Intersection: Ke$ha and the ongoing cultural appropriation and sexualization of Native women

I talked about this on Racialicious this week and I'd also like to talk about it here.

ke_sha.jpg
Photo courtesy of my friend Angel Bigstone

Several of you saw the ultra cultural appropriation performance of performances from Ke$ha on American Idol last Wednesday night - who decided in all her infinite wisdom to come out half-way through her "blah, blah, blah" song in a headdress and her version of "war paint" (I think).

It's obviously racist, ignorant, and beyond silly, but it's also an interesting statement (that I definitely won't give Ke$ha credit for knowing) about mainstream society's imagery of Native women. Not that it's her first time donning Native gear - apparently it's something she does on the regular with different pieces.

In 2008 I wrote about Juliette Lewis and her continued decision to "dress up like an Indian" with her band and what this means in her attempt to appear strong, raw, and yes even "savage" with her music. There are some particular intersections to address when we see women dressed up like this - and it has nothing to do with the fact that these people are of course getting our actual culture, traditions, and teachings all wrong.

Some folks in the Native community have said that it's good that at least they are interested in us while others, many of them women, have said that it's extremely insulting never mind the headdress and face makeup itself, but the song that Ke$ha was singing.

Case in point from my good friend Gloria Larocque:

Listen to the song for what she and the men for that matter, are saying in the song. She is suggesting that there doesn't need to be a whole lot of discussion to get her in the back seat of his car,in fact, too much blah blah blah wont' get her in the backseat at all. Throw in a headdress, she is making a targeted statement to Native American/First Nations women's sexual practices of getting into the back seat of any man who doesn't care for them (meaning they will sleep with anybody).

Now like I said I wouldn't give Ke$ha credit for knowing this – but it doesn't make it any less true in reality for Native women or any less of an offensive performance. And at what point does willful ignorance have no social responsibility attached to it? (particularly when you are a public figure?) I'm saying willful ignorance as well because it's not like Ke$ha or her entourage had no means to do some damn research before deciding that a headdress would be part of her American Idol number.

There is a whole bunch of wrong going on with Ke$ha, with Juliette Lewis, and since I'm on a roll I'll say it, Twilight and Avatar even, when we talk about the specifics of sexualization and how Native women are represented (anyone have any thoughts about Emily in Twilight: New Moon? And to quote Sandra Hale Shulman from News from Indian Country "would the Na'vi have been doomed if their women had been ugly and unsexual?")

I've also heard a lot of people in the Native community ask why these types of things are getting so much attention when we have real live issues within the community like no running water and extreme poverty going on that people aren't paying half as much attention to. But when millions of people are watching a supposed "reference" to your culture/ethnicity/race that is totally wrong - there is a bit of erasure of our people to address when they continually do it to the most insulting of extremes (sports mascots, anyone?)

What do you think?

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Comments

36 comments have been made. Post a comment.

oh dear

I am a white, single mother on welfare, feminist. I experience privilege for being white ... so this is where I am coming from.

This was the first time I heard of Ke$ha doing this. I am certainly not a fan of her music (it seems to be all about getting wasted from what I've heard). Sadly, I am not surprised she did this. This reminds me of the head-dress one of the "partiers" is wearing in Lady Gaga's video, "Just Dance."

I have not seen Twilight or Avatar, but a friend of mine saw Avatar and pointed out how the white person (maybe people) save the "poor" indigenous people. So I would not be surprised of the sexualization of the female-bodied and womyn people in that movie.

A little off-topic, but you mentioned sports mascots. I go to a university in which the logo is the "Fighting Sioux." It has been an on-going debate FOREVER about whether to get rid of it or not. The school board will go back and forth on extending the deadline, then the supporters of the logo will find indigenous people who support the logo to do speeches. Then indigenous people on campus will get threats if there is a leaning toward getting rid of the logo. Will anyone do anything about it? Fuck no. It's a bullshit political game. Ralph Englestad put ton of money into a stadium and pulled money he was going to give to the university because of the "threat" of getting rid of the logo. He used that money to put the racist logo on every seat in the stadium, in marble on the floor, and so on. Before he died, he threatened to get faculty fired if they spoke out against the logo.

So this goes what you have heard people in Native communities speak about the extreme poverty issues going on. I've wondered that myself. I wonder if part of the reason why not pays attention to those types of issues is because it is so normalized. Extreme poverty is everywhere, it's on the news, and no one is given any tools to deconstruct it or question it. I've been in classes in which a speaker from a Native community will come and no one says anything, except for me and maybe the couple of graduate students in the class (if there even are any).

Personally, I think it is important to point out cultural appropriation and people's privileges. The fact that Ke$ha is wearing that without any clue to cultural appropriation, is completely playing on her privilege. She can wear that without any question and Native people are the ones who will realize how fucked up it is. Part of Ke$ha's privilege is to not even question what she is doing. Completely blind to it.

As a white person, I was blind to that stuff (and still am) and have been called out on my white privilege (which has been a wonderful learning experience). I can completely understand the thought of why the focus sometimes is on that stuff and not on the extreme poverty. But I also thinking calling out cultural appropriation can lead to people being way more aware of it and passing that onto others (as I have, myself). Perhaps these two issues can interlock, like speaking about cultural appropriation and the extreme poverty and lack of resources people of color have when compared to whites.

Blah, Blah, Blah is similar

Blah, Blah, Blah is similar to the social commentaries Lady Gaga tries to make - Only she doesn't try to drill it into everyone's heads that she's a genius/creative artist--She sends the message out and let's the harsh interpretations prove her points for her.
Point being: The song is about how guys are often praised for the behavior mentioned in the song, but a girl who does it is labeled as a trashy, slutty party girl.
It is flipping gender stereotypes on their heads.

Ke$ha says her lyrics aren't meant to be taken literally.

Also, I think this article has it backwards--She's not applying the noble savage stereotype, but if it's anything conscious, she's actually bending it. Why else would she appear around dancing televisions, wearing ripped jeans and rapping (it is not singing, this song, it is rap-speak)? She is meshing grunge and hip hop and an indigenous symbol together, making a performance from elements of different genres.
Perhaps this isn't conscious, but I'm pretty sure she's at least aware that she's making a performance out of different styles. Even her music style is a mix of rap, hip-hop, alternative, "scene," and text-culture and pop-culture subject matter all rolled together. Check out her leak "Sunday Morning" and you might be inclined to agree she is flexible, rather than monoculturally insensitive.
She doesn't have a huge creative team/PR team like Lady Gaga would--But she also isn't claiming that everything people can assert to her videos is self-intentioned and the work of her own. She's a real person and she lets people think she parades around drunk all the time because what good does it do to fight? I think it's such a shame nobody will give her a chance because they are judging her (she barely holds appearances or gives interviews, and despite her reputation hasn't had more drunken stories than your average popstar). She isn't stupid, she had near perfect SAT scores and used to attend college lectures while she was in highschool purely because she was interested in learning.
On the converse, while Lady Gaga takes credit for pushing boundaries and being a real artist (while a producer and a different cowriter/bassist have come forward saying she has taken credit for their work and failed to pay loyalties), she is actually stereotyping transexuals as all having deep voices and being brutish, lesbians as being violent sadomasochists, and women in general as being more violent criminals, while at the same time promoting individuality through a manifesto of Little Monster followers--a contradiction in itself. She is about the money and following, but most people do not want to consider reading her (team's work) beyond face value.

Ke$ha doesn't get the same opportunity, on the other hand, though she never claims to be pushing boundaries and even says she never expected fame, and still now doesn't expect to be more than a one-hit wonder--She just wants to entertain people.

Feminism needs to promote individuality among people, and not degrade it. Feminism and individuality in general will be moving backwards if we continue to parade a woman who falls into stereotypes but is consistently seen as groundbreaking and artistic for the greater good, and trash the girl who wants people to just live their lives as they are. We currently have it backwards.

Do you work for Ke$hit or

Do you work for Ke$hit or smth?

This argument is weak sauce.

"Point being: The song is about how guys are often praised for the behavior mentioned in the song, but a girl who does it is labeled as a trashy, slutty party girl.
It is flipping gender stereotypes on their heads."

I am all kinds of tired of this type of argument. We're at our worst when we're trying to get women the right do whatever is the worst of men's behavior. This reflects such a gross misunderstanding of the fight for gender equality. If it's wrong for men to exploit women, then its wrong for women to exploit men. We're not trying to switch places with the boys, we're trying to eliminate the structures that keep us in our places. Instead of flipping gender stereotypes, maybe we should get rid of them. Not withstanding that we're also at our worst when we're ignoring the intersection of race and class privledge, and trying to give a women a free pass because she's supposedly trying to make a statement about gender. Weak sauce.

..Sorry, this was meant as a

..Sorry, this was meant as a reply to the article, not this comment! :(

it's still lame

dandelionwine, your argument is still lame whether it's intended as a direct reply to the article or to the first comment. seriously, is that the best you think feminism can do - ape all of the worst behaviours of men while relying on race and class privilege for protection? Besides, this is not about comparing Ke$ha and Lady Gaga and which one is the better racist or not. Obviously, some people just don't get it.

Kinda like how you don't get

Kinda like how you don't get that using the word lame in a negative way is really insulting to disabled people?

Raising issues re: Ke$ha's complicity is not a personal attack

Hey dandelionwine, I think the issues around intersectionality you raise are important, but I feel that this article is talking about rascist cultural appropration first and foremost, and that there are some crossed/confused wires within your argument, in terms of how you have framed your response. It sounds to me as though you're saying something like 'Go easy on her, she's only trying', and I don't think that's good enough, or even relevant.

I think it is important to remember that raising the issue of someone's cultural appropriation is not a personal attack; it is addressing an important issue that the protagonist - in this case Ke$ha - is complicit in whether she is aware of it or not, and regardless of her intention.

Also, five fingers I agree with you that use of the word 'lame' in that context is inappropriate, but thinking about that got me round to thinking that I don't have anything against apes either.

Has anyone seen the

Has anyone seen the documentary, "Open Season" about domestic violence against American Indian women and the blind eye the law turns to it?

The marginalization of women of color in general, but especially of Native women, by the media and pop culture sources is obviously a massive problem -- not only socially. As long as we perpetuate and endorse such a trivialized image of American Indian culture and ignore the facts at hand, we continue to perpetuate and endorse violence against these women.

I'm currently in high school, and I have to say that for all of the repetitive years of American History we're required to take, we always gloss over American Indian issues (maybe, for example, genocide) -- but the bigger crime is how there is NO mention of how these issues have remained prevalent TODAY!

We should be changing the entire system. Obviously history should be more closely examined in order for change to take place today, but we're only just beginning to view history from perspectives other than those entrenched in imperialism/white male privilege-- and even then, just barely. But if we don't start to connect history to things going on currently, we can't learn from it.

Have you ever been on

Have you ever been on American Apparel's website lately? There's a white girl wearing an Indian headdress with an American Apparel dress on. Seems like it's more about pedaling the apparent exoticism of Native people.

If you knew anything about

If you knew anything about Ke$ha, you'd know that the Native American headdress is a symbol of her album Animal. Her hopes for the album were that people would let go of convention and give into their animal instincts, even if just for the 53 minutes of the album. She holds Native Americans of the past in high regard because of the fact that they were much more in-tune with their animal instincts than other people of their day or even today.

Next time do some research. Thank you, and goodnight.

?

I fail to understand how any of this makes the appropriation less offensive.
In fact, "She holds Native Americans of the past in high regard because of the fact that they were much more in-tune with their animal instincts?" Er...that seems to be more than a bit of a racially problematic statement.

I'm actually not sure those

I'm actually not sure those were her intentions?
She made the album to give people dance music, to be happy party animals.
I do not recall her saying anything about Natives of the past, and a google search didn't return anything.

Keyword - PAST

It doesn't mean anything if she may holds Native Americans of the past in high regards, because that's just it - we Native Americans aren't those people that she was led to believe we are. We are not "in-tune" with our animals instincts, we're just as intelligent as women of other races, but it's stereotypes such as this one that hold a few of us back by leading certain women of our race to believe these images or beliefs about ourselves, as well as the rest of society.
So I'm sorry Ke$ha believes that we Native Americans are the same people we were before 1491, but I'm even sorrier she's projecting this belief in romanticism of Native American people onto her fans.

Sorry, that was actually a

Sorry, that was actually a reply to Travis' statement, not yours.

Consider this.

If you knew anything about history, you would recognize that Aboriginal peoples have commonly been associated with animal imagery in an attempt to degrade, devalue and delegitimize them. Saying that "Native Americans" are more in touch with nature and their animal instincts is hugely ignorant and racist. It is also homogenizing as not all Aboriginal people identify as spiritual or can claim to be in touch with their "animal instincts". Look at how you've described the situation. Aboriginal identity as animalistic and spiritual/in touch with nature and a white woman like Ke$ha who can then choose/have the privilege of deciding to go exotic?The headdress has symbolic and spiritual value. Appropriating someone else's identity and cultural gear is violent and hurtful to those who claim that identity. Having white people decide that they can decide to be "Native" for a day ignores historical injustice and the privilege and power they hold in society. She's obviously not holding them in high regard if she's tokenizing them or appropriating their identity.
Next time do some research, learn your history and recognize that just showcasing Aboriginal culture doesn't mean that you're supporting them. A lot of times it means you're tokenizing and commodifying someone else's identity.

it's not her symbol

Next time, Travis, think about what you're saying. Your statements are just so wrong in ways i'm sure you don't understand. First, it's not her symbol whether she used it on her album or not. She doesn't get to appropriate it, apply her own meaning, and then pretend that she 'holds Native Americans of the past in high regard'. Secondly, both you and Ke$ha are grossly stereotyping "Native Americans of the past". How do you know they were "much more in tune with their animal instincts"? What an offensive load of tripe your entire post is. Trite and frankly, moronic. Like Ke$ha's performance.

"....In tune with their

"....In tune with their Animal Instincts"??? is that what Ke$ha is honoring??? she is perpetuating a very strong stereotype..thats all..there is NO honor in that.

so native people are ANIMALS?

so native people are ANIMALS? if you said this about any other group of people you would be booed off the stage. you fail.
native =/= "more in tune with nature". don't defend kesha against something you know nothing about.

Let me see if I've got this right:

She's likening Native Americans to animals... and somehow this is complimentary to them?

Co-opting Indigenous icons

Tokenism from folks that have already been tokenized.

I don't like J CREW

My god, besides her music being unlistenable (and causing 8 year olds to make Youtube videos where they pantomime brushing their teeth with Jack Daniels) this image she's foisting right now is a complete creation of others. When she was first being devealoped, it was an alt-country Taylor Swift kind of thing. Upon learning there was already an ultra-sucessful one of those, they did this whole raunchy rap worldly party girl thing and she sucks at it.

About the headdress though... it has been utilized for hipster fashion countless times in the recent past. Perhaps it's partially an attempt to co-opt some native image, but I think it's more about the fact that it looks really, really awesome. I mean c'mon. Plus, the barn door is pretty much beyond open on this one. White people have been wearing them since the Buffalo Bill Show, where they actually came of dead natives. And while the headdress is especially ceremonial, etc, what about the less, um, showy pieces of wearable culture? What about moccasins? What about saris and kilts and those kids that stretch their earlobes out like nomadic tribesmen? Because if you tell me that as a white anglo saxon chick I have to wear pea coats and khakis and J Crew for the rest of my life I'll strangle you with this Burberry scarf. (kidding, obviously, don't send internet police)

doesn't make it right

Just because White people have been behaving like jackasses for centuries, doesn't make it right and what effing b.s. it is to tell us as Native people that we should be quiet about it. As a white anglo saxon chick you should wear a dress, apron, and bonnet and only bathe once a year. But don't worry, your White privilege will still shine through, even above the stench. After all, it does now - Burberry scarf or not.

ignorance is bliss

haha, youre right, it is BS. As white people, our privilege allows us to mindlessly appropriate aspects of people's cultures that we find "exotic" or more "colorful" to both resist certain aspects of traditional "white culture" (puritanism, for example) and to attempt to create our own identities where we feel we have lack a unifying, communal identity. The reason why ke$ha's, juliette lewis', and several other musical artists' use of Native imagery is so important is not because of their individual intentions behind doing so, but because representation in popular culture MATTERS. It influences how we think about cultures and it reinforces stereotypes. It also misinterprets and often ignores the cultural significance of Native dress, for example with the headdress. No, i dont want to wear JCrew or a bonnet :P, but that doesnt mean Im entitled to be ignorant.

J Crew ain't so bad.

Native "fashion" may be rad and all, but slapping on a meaningful cultural symbol and expecting it to be nothing more than fabulous is not just disrespectful but totally lazy. If you don't want to call it cultural theft, at least be an honorable hipster and see it for the art plagiarism it is. People are always talking about Natasha Khan's "exotic" style, but they're hard-pressed to do anything but wave their hands and drool over her Pashtun "background." Why? Because she manages to take whatever her influences are and spin them into an original (am I right?) style. That takes a lot more vision and creativity than slapping on some blacklight paint and pretending to be Aboriginal for 4 minutes.

I feel like you must be

I feel like you must be kidding.

"White people have been wearing them since the Buffalo Bill Show, where they actually came of dead natives."

This is what makes it ok? Because AT LEAST KE$HA DIDN'T KILL ANY NATIVES BEFORE APPROPRIATING THEIR CULTURES? Dude. This is like the worst ever way of using precedence as validation.

So, I just watched a video

So, I just watched a video of that American Idol performance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN1mPXBIvwQ). While I don't feel that that is actually the message it conveyed, it seems she wore the headdress just to be outrageous. Also, doing dumb and insensitive stuff gets you in the news; it's free publicity. I agree with the aritcle that Native American costuming by White people is put on without much thought or sensitivity for the people it is objectifying, and this is a very good example of just that. It seems like she thought it would be fun and wild, but didn't consider the social rammifications for Aboriginal people in general, and Aboriginal women in particular.

Another recent example is the Russian ice dance pair's Australian Aborigine-based routine at the Olympics. They apparently consulted with Vancouver-region (read: Canadian) aboriginal leaders that gave them the go-ahead so they thought they were in the clear, which is another demonstration of their ignorance. From the dark-skinned costumes, to the messy hair and war paint, it ended up just being a racist charicature flaunted all over the world stage. I encourage you to look it up. I was just baffled at how they could think that was even close to appropriate.

oh give me a break. and if

oh give me a break. and if white kids wear clothing modeled after Ice Cube or Eazy E, does that mean they're mocking urban black culture? if non japanese girls wear kimonos, does that mean they're mocking geishas? anyone remember that bjork alexander mcqueen album cover? pretty sure she's from ICELAND, and i'm pretty sure she's just wearing clothes that make her feel cool. you people are fucking OLD, bottom line.

Age has nothing to do with it.

Appropriating another culture in the manner Ke$ha has chosen to (without any apparent thought or reason) is offensive and racist. It has nothing to do with how "fucking OLD" people are.

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Hey, Olivia.

If the descendents of the people who murdered your ancestors were wearing cheap-assed versions of what your ancestors wore, I think you'd be pissed off as well. Let me guess: you're white, right? You must be, because you're ignorant as shit about the feelings of anybody who isn't white.

Hey as one upper-middle-class

Hey as one upper-middle-class white chick to another, honey, you should probably google "white privilege."

It's really rad and swell that you've never had to think about this before, so your knee-jerk reaction is to tell everyone to chill and listen to your whitesplanation for why it's ok for anyone to appropriate someone else's sacred items. And if you really want to bring age into this, maybe the reason that people who are older than 16 years old understand what is going on is because with age comes a wider range of experiences. So I get that right now you're coming from a place of ignorance, and you're not intentionally being a racist jerk, but you really need to think about what's being discussed here, put aside your instinct to be defensive, and react in a critical and intelligent way.

Good luck!

As a black person who has

As a black person who has read through a bunch of these arguments comparing the donning of the headdress to wearing blackface, I must say that while pointing out these appropriations and misrepresentations is helpful, it'd probably be more helpful for the Native community to come out with appropriate representations for the general public. Not that it's easy to do - especially when a minority is trying to establish a voice. But I have an example - my school put on a program called "tunnel of oppression" and we had to go through it as a group of people who didn't know each other before the experience so that we could discuss the program from different viewpoints. A girl there from a Native organization on campus made a comment about the fact that there was no one representing the Native community in the program, but my boss - who had put together the program - commented on how he and his team sent out an invitation to the Native organizations on campus to see if they wanted to participate in the program and he heard nothing from them. How is he, a White male, supposed to tell a story from the Native point of view? All of the monologues were gathered from students on campus one year, and written by the participants/ "actors (If you could call them that bc they were telling their real stories)" the next year. The girl didn't refute that statement so I'm only assuming it's true, but she argued that it was his responsibility to keep pushing them until someone did come forward to tell their story.

I respectfully disagree.

As someone from a minority group who has been and is still oppressed by the dominant group in the United States (but one that has made a lot of progress), I have got to say that the Native people have to find a way to assert their voice on their own. No, they shouldn't have to do that. It isn't fair to put the burden on the victim. But reality is that's the only way you'll be heard or seen in this country, right or wrong. Sure, I heard about these appropriation issues and what not, but that's because I'm a recent college graduate with hipster friends of different ethnicities and races and of course all they want to talk about is how mainstream culture(s) are SO oppressive to the less dominant groups in around them. That's true and all, but sitting here and complaining about it isn't really making any difference. And making White people aware of it isn't really making that much of a difference either. I think it's because that whole "ignorance" thing is a load of crap sometimes. "Oh, I didn't know!" It's mindblowing to me how some of the things that people do aren't obviously really messed up hateful things to do to another person.

ANYWAY, back on task. It's also interesting to me how some people in the Native community can feel one way about a portrayal and others from the Native community feel the total opposite. I met people from the Native community in a Public Health program at my university over the summer - we were all fellows in this program - and these young women were SO hype about Twilight and the fact that there was any sort of Native presence AT ALL, but then I read your article and you're complaining about it (not that you shouldn't). Maybe a little unification in the community could do a little good?

Anyway, my point is that while it's good to see articles and such in places like Bitch magazine and other little indie and/or hipster/ non-mainstream media locations about appropriation and misrepresentations of the Native culture, WE NEED TO SEE SOME ACCURATE REPRESENTATIONS OF NATIVE CULTURE IN THE MAINSTREAM BY NATIVE PEOPLE. The White man isn't going to tell your story for you even if he wanted to because he can't. You have to do it yourself. And it's not easy to do but someone from the community has to stand up and say "I'm going to be a accurate representation of my community for the world." And if it's just one person, it will be an accurate representation of that person's community. And we'll need another and another and another until the Native community as a whole feels adequately represented.

'white girls' wearing headdresses

As I realize this is late in commenting as I just came upon this article (thank you Jessica Yee), and I never comment or speak energy on such topics, but the above written commentary I am so honored to have such a young being such as yourself in this existence, your intellect an insight and wonderful educational ventures are inspiring (I swear I am not being sarcastic, this is true from heart), sadly in some of my surroundings I've only had the pleasure of closed minded complacent ass monkeys.

As a member of the Tsimshian tribe, people of the Skeena river, I must say to say that "WE NEED TO SEE SOME ACCURATE REPRESENTATIONS OF NATIVE CULTURE IN THE MAINSTREAM BY NATIVE PEOPLE"; mainstream is a reality created by the blue eyes ('Americans, white people', wording of your choice here), we know the truth and honor and respect in ourselves and our people so needing to represent to a race that has done more then its share of the darkest movements upon my people is not relevant to us. We teach our children the truth, we teach those willing to come forth whom are eager or simply curious to learn.

I myself always see many people talk of this subject and I often times find it less to be someone of a different culture and race, which is passionate and wonderful.

There are concerns with larger things in this existence then 'white girls' wearing headdresses, mascot figures, cartoon/movie figures.

An there have been many upon a many warriors that have come forth for years to 'represent' and educate 'Americans' and speak for many tribes and our people in a whole. American Indian Movement founded in '68, Sacheen Little Feather, Leonard Peltier, Adam Fortunate Eagle, Richard McKenzie, Mark Martinez, Garfield Spotted Elk, Walter Means, Allen Cottier, Adam Beach, Waawaate Fobister, Graham Greene, and Chief Dan George, just to name a few.

And every tribe, every person, is different, as in any race. So we each have our own individual will and opinion on our own tribes and our own people. An this is mine and how I live and see as is those in my tribe around me.

I pity and give hope to the blue eyes in there lost journey. My point in a whole being we as a nation have a more important purpose then condoning a proper educational politically correct figure to the American public.

I ought to declare my

I ought to declare my position - upper middle-class male, white, feminist and not American.

'Blah Blah Blah' seems to me to be a song about sex, to the extent that it is about anything. Ke$ha is fun and I don't think she takes herself too seriously but if she has tried to inject any profound messages into her songs then they have gone over my head. As far as I can tell from the lyrics, she wants to have sex with a man and he wont shut the fuck up and bang her. This does not strike me as a slutty or trashy thing to say but rather a fairly simple assertion of sexual desire. If Ke$ha was trying to make any point with the costume (which I doubt) then it was more likely to have been that Native women are strong and assertive. Certainly this would fit in with my own stereotype of a native American though I am not, as I say, American myself.

Appropriation is fucked up,

Appropriation is fucked up, particularly when what you're appropriating is used so incorrectly.
What the song is about is frankly irrelevant.

why isn't the hijab being

why isn't the hijab being appropriated?