Nike yanks Samoan-inspired tattoo tights
The footwear and apparel giant thought intricate, painful marks used for centuries as a male rite of passage would make great leggings.
According to TVNZ news, Nike has pulled its black-and-white women's Pro Tattoo Tech tights (pictured) after petitioners pointed out that not only was the company ripping off the Samoan Pe'a pattern that's rarely seen on folks who aren't Samoan, but it used the pattern on women's clothing when it's only applied to men.
The pants first appeared on late July and received the following shout-out on Nike's blog: "The NTM (Nike Tight of the Moment) gets all fancy pants again, this time looking to the tattoos of Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand for the latest head-turning design, the Nike Pro Tattoo Tech tights (and sports bra and bodysuit)." Even if the company didn't know that the word tattoo stems from the Samoan "tatau," it's tough to feign complete ignorance after making a statement like that.
The reaction to the stretch pants in question was particularly hostile on a Change.org petition launched on Aug. 2 to protest their sale. "I am 100% Samoan and I find Nike's blatant disrespect and profit over my culture's way of life shameless and irreverent," one comment read. "The tatau is thousands of years old with a tradition of honor and you have reduced it to $80 Spanx. Remove at once!"
Given the tradition and the sheer amount of pain involved in applying Pe'a, the outcry is understandable. PBS dates back the practice nearly 2,000 years and notes that Pe'a can take days to months to complete. It's a rite of passage that's supposed to symbolize courage and commitment to cultural tradition -- both of which are prerequisites for receiving markings that are still applied with sharpened pieces of turtle shell and boar's teeth.
Nike sent this statement to MSN moneyNOW about the issue: "The Nike tattoo tech tights were inspired by tattoo graphics," the company said. "We apologize to anyone who views this design as insensitive to any specific culture. No offense was intended. The tights were of a limited run and no additional tights will be sold."
Nike has goofed before in trying to mix cultural references with apparel sales. Just last year, it introduced a special pair of "Black and Tan" training sneakers for St. Patrick's Day, but had to slink away from those when it discovered that "Black and Tans" weren't Guinness-based drinks that some bartender concocted, but an incredibly malicious British paramilitary unit best known for committing various atrocities against the Irish.
It's not particularly adept at making those connections in the U.S., either. About a month ago, it had to pull a shirt for the NFL's Carolina Panthers when it put a picture of South Carolina on the garment in question. The team plays in Charlotte, which is decidedly in North Carolina. There was far less to chuckle about in April, when Nike pulled T-shirts featuring the blood-splattered words "Boston Massacre" from stores in days after the Boston Marathon was bombed.
I think Mae West said it best!
"Those who are easily offended should be offended more often."
Being easily offended has become an industry in this country, if you don’t like them don’t buy and wear them, if you don’t like seeing them don’t look at me wearing them!
Quit being such over-sensitive gits.
Really tired of the overly sensitive! And if you are overly sensitive, keep it to yourself and go home and scream about it, to yourself! Those leggings look great.
I think whats more offensive is the fact that leggins as pants is an ever growing trend. I wish with all my heart that it will stop hahaha. Having my nieces and nephews ask me "Whats camel toe aunty" is getting too much lol.
Aloha everyone =)
Of all the truly dire, pressing things to be concerned about in this world - war, famine, global warming, government corruption and unrest - this is the DUMBEST thing I've seen in some time. As someone else said - they're PANTS, fer cryin' out loud!! To all offended Samoans out there: Last time I checked, you have WAY bigger things to be worried about. GET OVER IT!!
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