With regards to the previous reading, it is important to note that, even if the spectator is not male, white and heterosexual, the subject-position to which he or she is invited to identify is. However, there is another dimension that emerges from the calendar that addresses precisely the possibility of a critique of this racialised economy of desire. Appropriating and playing Amerindian-ness in portraits is, of course, a long-standing practice of white people, with many manifestations, contexts and historical and cultural meanings. Margarita Alvarado shows that it was common for upper-class women in late 19th-Century Chile to be photographed ‹playing Mapuche›, a practice also spread to Argentinian high society. [6] In many works, such as David Roediger’s study of blackface minstrelsy, racial cross-dressing by whites has been interpreted as a form of reinforcing domination and boundaries. [7]

However, for others, such as Marjorie Garber, the practice of cross-dressing in general (be it in terms of race, gender or class) has also the power to call into question established binary oppositions. Judith Butler offers a different perspective both critical of purely disavowing or celebratory conceptions of crossing. She challenges the idea that crossing is either subversive or regressive, arguing instead that it is very often the case that it works as a form of both questioning and reinforcing stereotypes. This is because cross-dressing «reflects the more general situation of being implicated in the regimes of power by which one is constituted and, hence, of being implicated in the very regimes of power that one opposes». [8] In other words, it reiterates dominant constructions of race and gender on the bodies of the performers themselves, but because there is a clear discontinuity between racial or gender appearance and reality, it also de-naturalises them, showing their constructedness.

Based on this, the calendar can be read as a complex site of ambivalence. Of course the problematic element in this case is that the crossing is not from a subaltern position to a dominant one, like the archetype of cross-dressing, the drag, but the other way around. As Gail Ching-Liang Low states, in racial passing by whites the cross-dresser can always reveal or revert to the whiteness underneath the native clothes, that is, go back to the privileged position without any penalties. [9] However, the calendar still has the potential to de-naturalise race since, in the photos, the incongruity between the representation of indigeneity and the white beautiful bodies of the models expose the performative dimension of racial identities. Richard Dyer argues that «whites do not represent themselves as raced, or even as white, but always as variously gendered, classed, sexualised and abled». [10] Therefore, by performing Amerindian-ness, the models ‹become› white for the spectator.

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