Re: Cultural Appropriation.
I must admit that up until early last year (as this picture shows) I was really into the wearing of bindis as I’d never really considered it to be offensive before. I’d heard of cultural appropriation and did think it was wrong, so was completely against people wearing Native American headdresses as fancy dress because as people from European descent we’d once completely oppressed and killed of a people and were now using it for our own amusement. I hadn’t really given that much thought to bindis being the same though.
I’d really liked them since a young age, I guess I quite liked the look of them both on Hindu women and Gwen Stefani circa 90s when they were quite popular and wanted to emulate that. I went through a stage when I was 17 when I wore them to school every day, it was ridiculous. I’m not really sure why I thought I could get away with it. I think partly because I lived in such a white area so nobody really cared and the South Asian people I had come across had reacted positively to it and one guy even smiled and said I ‘reminded him of the girls from his country’.
I think part of me thought I could get away with it because unless someone knew me personally nobody could have said to me that I definitely have no Asian roots and probably could pass for mixed with a number of ethnicities because I have such dark hair and eyes and have olive skin. At the same time I think it made me feel a bit uncomfortable that I wasn’t blonde and super fair when wearing them as I felt guilty for people mistaking me of being from their culture when I was not. So either way looking back I can see why it really was not appropriate for me to be wearing one whether I could pass as part South Asian or not.
I think the final night I wore a bindi was the night this picture was taken. We were going to a party in Manchester, I thought I was in a cool 90s get up with my big fur jacket, top knot and bindi. I was going more for Gwen Stefani than Hindu woman if I’m honest and thought I looked really cool. I got to the party and there were so many Asian people there that I felt really uncomfortable for having worn one and realised that it definitely wasn’t appropriate for me to wear them at all if I wasn’t from a Hindu background as a fashion accessory. It probably shouldn’t have taken me that long to realise it but it was definitely the last straw.
At the end of the day, whilst I know that most people don’t wear bindis to mock and wear them because they’re pretty it’s still not appropriate. Whilst some Hindu’s might think it’s nice that white people think that bindis are beautiful and want to wear them it’s clear that some people will just see it as a triviliasation of their culture which they fight every day to be accepted and keep into just a fashion accessory that teenage girls wear and that’s not right.
I do think it’s hard perhaps to draw the line at what’s cultural appropriation and what’s not as there are so many influences in our culture from other cultures and I don’t think it’s wrong to be inspired by other cultures and us all interchanging fashion and ideas. However, I think when something can clearly be identified as something a particular people do / wear and is fundamentally part of their culture (especially cultures that white people have oppressed) one should really think good and hard about whether they should wear that thing.
I’m not saying I don’t feel sad that I can’t wear bindis anymore, because a silly part of me does because I used to love them so much and I really like this picture of me. That being said, I think everyone has to deal with a bit of personal annoyance if it means not offending a whole culture or even just one person of that culture whose whole belief systems goes far deeper and affects far more of their life than a fashion accessory.
I hope I haven’t been really offensive in this post, anybody feel free to correct me on anything I’ve said.
This is important
Seriously, it kills me when I see people hold scientists up as pinnacles of logic and reason.
Because one time the professor I was interning for got punched in the face by another professor, because mine got the funding, and told the other professor his theory was stupid.
This same professor told me to throw rocks to scare the “stupid fucking crabs” into moving so we could count them properly.
this is one of the best comments this post has recieved
I have witnessed:
Two professors hiding around a corner and snickering, “Shhh, here she comes!” While a female professor approached and, when she finally found them, she proceeded to scream while pointing from one to the other, “You! I called your office but you weren’t there! So I tried to call YOUR office to figure out where HE was but YOU weren’t there!”
Two grad students standing outside a closed and locked door yelling, “Come out of the damn office. You haven’t left for days. If you didn’t have a couch in there I’d be concerned as to where you were sleeping!”
A religious studies professor apologizing for being late to class because, “security stopped me because I’m dressed like a hobbit”
Watched a professor snort the results of my experiment to determine if I had the right final compound.
Two archeology professors toss priceless fossilized teeth back and forth in an attempt to figure out who is smarter by “guessing the type of tooth and species of animal before it lands”
Multiple fully degreed individuals throw dry ice at one another in an attempt to be first to use the lab/get that piece of equipment/or change the iPod song.
A genetics professor build furniture out of stacks of paper and planks of wood because she is that far behind in grading papers/responding. One of the impromptu furniture pieces housed a fish tank.
I could go on but I think that covers the larger portion of the insanity…
And I thought that Big Bang Theory was just an exaggeration made for comedic purposes…
Oh it is, just not the the bit about where they work.
Publicity done right in an anti-rape campaign: double-page spread, pages glued to one another. After the reader forcefully separates them, the image above is revealed with the caption “if you have to use force, it’s rape”.
THIS IS BRILLIANT