Queer Eye is being called out for using the term “spirit animal” in season 3
18 March 2019, 13:53 | Updated: 18 March 2019, 16:27
In season 3, the Fab Five repeatedly use the term "spirit animal"...
Queer Eye is being called out for its use of the term 'spirit animal' in season 3.
Queer Eye is back and many critics are calling it the best season yet. Jonathan, Karamo, Bobby, Tan and Antoni are all at the top of their respective games as they carry out eight heartwarming makeovers. However, the new season has received some backlash. In 'Sloth to Slay', the Fab Five repeatedly use the term 'spirit animal' and many fans have taken to social media to call out Queer Eye for being offensive to Native American communities.
In 'Sloth to Slay', the Fab Five meet Thomas. Thomas is a 21-year-old college student and IT specialist, who spends most of his time indoors and struggles to socialise. In the episode, Thomas reveals that he was nicknamed a 'sloth' at school and he has since taken it on as his 'spirit animal'. The Fab Five then makeover Tom and help him identify with a more positive 'spirit animal'.
To rub salt in the wound, The Fab Five also go on to reveal what they consider each of their spirit animals to be at the end of the episode. Understandably, fans are upset. It has been widely documented that, 'spirit animal' is a culturally appropriative term that simplifies indigenous culture. If you've not grown up in a culture with 'spirit animals', it is not your term to use.
Not only that but The Fab Five has also been called out for using the term 'tribe'.
Here are just a few of the reactions.
It is mind boggling to me that nobody on the entire #QueerEye crew let them know that people who are not indigenous or first peoples talking about their “spirit animal” is wildly racist pic.twitter.com/ZRbOcsiu1n— lemon squeezy (@bropiates) March 16, 2019
My dearest @QueerEye I love you so so much but the “spirit animal” thing in S3E7 is super disrespectful to the Native nations and traditions that concept comes from.— Dr. Adrienne Keene (@NativeApprops) March 18, 2019
ok @QueerEye ily but NO y’all do not have “spirit animals,” and clearly you also don’t have any indigenous peoples looking at your episodes and telling you NO SPIRIT ANIMAL BS, which probably means you need a more diverse staff 🙃— ace tilton ratcliff ♿️ (@MortuaryReport) March 17, 2019
it’s wild to me that the queer eye dudes will put such care into their approach and then do like four spirit animal bits in one episode— muad'dab (@Leask) March 16, 2019
I am disappointed that #QueerEye is using the terms spirit animal and tribe.— Suzanne Rent (@Suzanne_Rent) March 17, 2019
Y’all know I love Queer Eye, but can we talk about how problematic it is for non-Native Americans to use the term “spirit animal” & “tribe”?— Cat 🍀 (@hufflebuff16) March 16, 2019
Of course, we have no doubt that Queer Eye meant no harm at all but that doesn't take away from the fact that the show's use of the terms 'spirit animal' and 'tribe' is problematic. It is also shocking that no one on their team picked up on it.
As it stands Netflix and the Queer Eye team are yet to respond to the backlash. We shall update you if they do.