A still from Little Mix’s ’Salute’ video.
Photo: Little Mix’s Twitter
Little Mix’s Salute Tour kicks off in the UK next week and the girls have suggested that everyone come dressed as a “Salute Warrior.” They’re not the first musicians to request their audiences wear similar things–Lady Gaga had her swine-fest dress code–but Little Mix may be the first to actually compile inspirational images on a Pinterest board.
— Little Mix (@LittleMix) May 7, 2014
The band shared their outfits from their “Salute” video as inspiration–seeing them on hangers underscores how much leather and metal are involved in the looks. The group also pinned some unrelated looks that they deemed appropriate for warriors. There’s an elaborate mohawk braid, some armor from a runway show, and more. There are also some pop culture references like Xena: Warrior Princess and Wonder Woman. And unfortunately, there are also a number of pictures of feather headdresses, “warrior face paint,” and “tribal” nail art, which is problematic.
As MTV Act recently explained, wearing a headdress or feather crown is more than a fashion choice. Feathered headdresses, sometimes referred to as warbonnets, hold deep-rooted spiritual importance in Native American culture. While the ~war~ theme does tie nicely into “Salute” and its #GIRLPOWER message, the headdress carries immense cultural significance and is symbolic to the point where it’s often saved for special occasions. And no, I’m not talking about a Little Mix concert (as special an occasion as that might be). It’s not appropriate for any concert, because it isn’t a costume. Dressing as Xena: Warrior Princess—a fictional character–is not the same thing as dressing as a “Native American warrior princess.”
Concerts are fun, and if you want to, you should dress up! But you should also give thought to what you’re wearing and the implications of borrowing from another culture without fully understanding the reference you’re making. Our tip? Wear a heavy necklace, maybe even a leather harness, instead of a headdress, and you’ll be an appropriate Salute Warrior.