i am perfectly fine with having other people sit on my lap but i can’t sit on other people’s laps because i’m always paranoid that i’d crush them and they’d diE
A white girl wore a bindi at Coachella. And, then my social media feeds went berserk. Hashtagging the term “cultural appropriation” follows the outrage and seems to justify it at the same time. Except that it doesn’t.
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of a specific part of one culture by another cultural group. As I (an Indian) sit here, eating my sushi dinner (Japanese) and drinking tea (Chinese), wearing denim jeans (American), and overhearing Brahm’s Lullaby (German) from the baby’s room, I can’t help but think what’s the big deal?
The big deal with cultural appropriation is when the new adoption is void of the significance that it was supposed to have — it strips the religious, historical and cultural context of something and makes it mass-marketable. That’s pretty offensive. The truth is, I wouldn’t be on this side of the debate if we were talking about Native American headdresses, or tattoos of Polynesian tribal iconography, Chinese characters or Celtic bands.
Why shouldn’t the bindi warrant the same kind of response as the other cultural symbols I’ve listed, you ask? Because most South Asians won’t be able to tell you the religious significance of a bindi. Of my informal survey of 50 Hindu women, not one could accurately explain it’s history, religious or spiritual significance. I had to Google it myself, and I’ve been wearing one since before I could walk.
We can’t accuse non-Hindus of turning the bindi into a fashion accessory with little religious meaning because, well, we’ve already done that. We did it long before Vanessa Hudgens in Coachella 2014, long before Selena Gomez at the MTV Awards in 2013, and even before Gwen Stefani in the mid-90s.
Indian statesman Rajan Zed justifies the opposing view as he explains, “[The bindi] is an auspicious religious and spiritual symbol… It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory…” If us Indians had preserved the sanctity and holiness of the bindi, Zed’s argument for cultural appropriation would have been airtight. But, the reality is, we haven’t.
The 5,000 year old tradition of adorning my forehead with kumkum just doesn’t seem to align with the current bindi collection in my dresser — the 10-pack, crystal-encrusted, multi-colored stick-on bindis that have been designed to perfectly compliment my outfit. I didn’t happen to pick up these modern-day bindis at a hyper-hipster spot near my new home in California. No. This lot was brought from the motherland itself.
And, that’s just it. Culture evolves. Indians appreciated the beauty of a bindi and brought it into the world of fashion several decades ago. The single red dot that once was, transformed into a multitude of colors and shapes embellished with all the glitz and glamor that is inherent in Bollywood. I don’t recall an uproar when Indian actress Madhuri Dixit’s bindi was no longer a traditional one. Hindus accepted the evolution of this cultural symbol then. And, as the bindi makes it’s way to the foreheads of non-South Asians, we should accept — even celebrate — the continued evolution of this cultural symbol. Not only has it managed to transcend religion and class in a sea of one-billion brown faces, it will now adorn the faces of many more races. And that’s nothing short of amazing.
So, you won’t find this Hindu posting a flaming tweet accusing a white girl of #culturalappropriation. I will say that I’m glad you find this aspect of my culture beautiful. I do too."
Victoria Siemer, also know as Witchoria, is a graphic designer hailing from Brooklyn, New York. Human Error is a series of nostalgic polaroids that depict the broken heart as a computerized error that may or may not be restored in a few mouseclicks.
do action movies know they can have more than one female character
Disneyworld needs to make a rollercoaster based off of the ride Yzma and Kronk take to the lair. When the ride starts, Yzma’s voice yells “pull the lever, Kronk!” and the ride starts to move backwards so she yells “wrong lever!” and it shoots you forward.
WHY IS THIS NOT HAPPENING?!
#100happydays 26: running home to let my locked-out roommate back in counts as a good deed, right? :)
So I wrote a midterm about female representation in film, and I referenced the Bechdel Test, right?
I then watched my professor speak to a “Women in Focus” panel about women in the film industry last week, where she told the audience that “one of her student’s midterms” had taught her about “a test [she] had never heard of - how many of you have heard of the Bechdel Test?”
AND JUST NOW SHE TOLD OUR CLASS ABOUT IT.
But for my grade, she marked me down for “not understanding the test fully”.
PRETENTIOUS BITCH I AM YOUR EDUCATOR I WILL MARK YOU DOWN.
Neither Courage Wolf nor Calming Manatee were doing much to help my anxiety, but I knew they were both on to something.
So, I created Calmage Wolfatee.
I’M SO INSPIRED
I saw these this morning and proceeded to have a FANTASTIC DAY. I cannot help but think this is not coincidence.
‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’
what if i cut off your left leg
would that make you stronger
*mobile blogs in front of computer*
you could kill a man in any of these dresses, and pretty sure no jury would convict you. those are killing-men dresses, that’s what i’m saying