Race is a combination of one’s ethnic background, deriving from a family’s original place of origin. This form of categorization is often easily visible through appearance; black, white, Asian, Indian, etc. Unfortunately these categorizations also lead to many stereotypes based on their race. These stereotypes often emotionally hurt those involved, leaving hostility and resentment towards others.
Looking at the characters within Lee Marcle’s First Wives Club; Coast Salish Style we can see the hurt the aboriginal women feel being compared to the white’s. Women have a desire to be “sexy” or at least beautiful to men, however the character made a valid point; how often do you see an aboriginal women in a Victoria Secret commercial, or in a Cosmo magazine? Unfortunately I don’t think I ever have. She stated “First Nations people, particularly fifty-five plus women, are not billed as sexy anywhere by anyone; generally, coupling (pardon the pun) First Nations women with sex is done crudely, when it is done at all. There are no First Nations super models or sex icons out there, and procreative sex is spoken about without fanfare. There’s also a certain measure of disregard for the femininity and the beauty of the women being referenced” (Marcle. 2). This character recognizes and feels the rejection from which the media puts out; representing specific race’s over others. Just out of curiosity I went onto the Victoria’s Secret Website; I found that most of the models were white females with blonde hair, with the exception of some with brown hair… but very few black girls and no other races were shown. A very large company which is to make women feel beautiful only promotes certain races; not declaring that only these women are ‘sexy’ but subconsciously portraying that message. I also looked at the La Senza website and they had only one model representing their product that was white female with blonde hair. The stereotypical view of beauty is media based, creating a very narrow focus for the public eye.
She went on to say “Don Brunswick is a comic; he looks funny, and he has funny looks, so when he says “I saw a beautiful Ojibway woman, once” and makes a face, people laugh. When he follows that with “It could happen”” (Marcle. 2). These aboriginal women’s beauty is made out to be a joke, but do they really realize the impact their words could have on people? They are stereotyping a whole race’s beauty as “ugly” without considering the repercussions on the people. She stated “Underneath his joke is the disqualification of the sexiness of an entire nation of women” (Marcle. 2). These comments can emotionally hurt many people. What makes media portray white women as sexy and beautiful but no other races? Perhaps they are trying to provide for the masses instead of thinking about the bigger picture (which includes all women).
In the short segment “Laundry Basket” this aboriginal woman understands the stereotypical view of sexy. She writes stories and they are often rejected due to the content not being widespread enough. She writes “Romance among Indigenous people is so subtle that Canadians would not recognize a love story about us if they fell on it” (Marcle. 52). Like every culture, they have their own way of representing ‘sexy’ and romance however the media within the Western world is so dominant we forget how to accept other types. For a nation that is apparently so accepting of other cultures, we often act and think differently towards these other ideas.