The indian fashion show: Fighting Cultural Stereotypes with Gender

Nancy J. Parezo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Every American knows what an American Indian should look like. It is general American popular culture knowledge. But what most Americans in the 1930s through the 1950s "knew" was not reality, it was an iconic Indian seen through the lens of essentializing American stereotypes. Anthropologists have long considered it part of their moral agenda to replace the cultural misinformation and overgeneralizations that ground stereotypes with culturally accurate information in order to eliminate prejudice, discrimination, and assumptions. This paper constitutes a case study of one anthropologist's attempts to eliminate entrenched, negative racial, ethnic, and cultural stereotypes about American Indians through stereotype transference, respect for cultural variation, and content eradication, espousing gender as the critical universal commonality that will eliminate discrimination. Frederic Douglas's innovative living display, the Indian Fashion Show, is embedded within a theoretical discussion of stereotyping as a sociocultural process.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)317-346
    Number of pages30
    JournalJournal of Anthropological Research
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Clothing
    • Exhibits
    • Fashion
    • Gender
    • Representation
    • Stereotypes
    • Stereotyping

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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