I don’t feel very feminine these days and so I am wondering if it would be disrespectful for a woman to wear a ribbon shirt as opposed to a ribbon skirt? I’m sure other folks might also wonder about the reverse. Would you have to identify as Two-spirit?

Hi there,

Thanks for writing in! For these types of questions, I want to be transparent in that I may not provide a traditional, straightforward answer, but instead be here as support and validation in you coming to that answer yourself. 🙂 When it comes to these types of things, I believe the answer is unique to each individual and not always easily administered by other’s input. It’s something you have to explore within yourself… just be aware that it might be a learning process that is also dynamic! Journaling might come in handy with these types of things. 🙂

Anyways, I will preface with this: what we wear can be a form of expression. You have every right to express yourself in whatever way you choose to. And, it’s okay to experiment… sometimes things fit with how we want to express ourselves and sometimes they don’t and that can change at any time! So please do what you need to take care. <3

That being said, let’s get into your question! When it comes to cultural clothes (especially ribbon work), there’s so much that goes into it – good medicine, love, creativity, etc. In my mind, the intent with these pieces are meant to make the wearer feel whole, plus represent Indigeneity in all of our depth and power. I’ve seen sooo many cool ribbon skirts and shirts from ones that incorporate Star Wars and Hello Kitty to 2SLGBTQ+ and MMIW. Ribbon work is about you, us, our people, and who we are.

With that, let’s talk about what this may mean to you 🙂 What do you feel fits with you when it comes to ribbon work? I encourage you to sit strong with yourself, and dive deep down into your heart. Does the power and meaning held within a ribbon shirt align with who you are? If so, then it would seem to me as if that’s what matters.

I trust you and your heart to do what feels right and is respectful; to both yourself and the meaning behind ribbon wear.

If you need more insight or support, check out this article by Vogue that highlights a Two Spirit relative and Ribbon wear:

I hope this helps!

Take care,

Cousin Asia

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Topics: 2SLGBTQ|Culture and Language|Identity