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."
Why a Bindi Is NOT an Example of Culture Appropriation
by Anjali Joshi
because anime causes faux transgenderism and autism
solution: kill all the animes
The whole concept of feminism is soiled by angry cyber-warriors who stick the feminism label on their personal hatred of men.
Feminism should be about women fighting to have EQUALITY with men in society, not about crazed women crying misogyny at every single trivial thing.
The sad thing is, if…
This is so one-sided and narrow visioned, it borders on being hilarious.
- Let’s tackle gif one…the magazines, um so do the video makers not think men see magazines and wish they had the bodies of the guys on them? Because let me assure you, this DOES happen. Men may not protest or complain about it as vocally as women do, but it does sit in their minds and they do dwell on their “imperfect” physical prowesses. If they didn’t, would you really see so many guys hitting up the gym or casually mentioning how they want to get a six-pack? Buff muscle bound actors, musicians, model men are plastered across all sorts of women’s and men’s magazines. Men get to see the burly adonis-like physiques of people like Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt (well…back in the day), David Beckham, Zac Efron, Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, etc, front and center on the magazine aisles right next to the women who are shown just the same.
The only reason men are less vocal in this insecurity is they are taught not to complain, that complaining will do nothing, so they have to either just give up and distress about it or hit the gym constantly, or….learn to be okay and happy with the bodies they have, but I can assure you, even if it isn’t vocally expressed, the third option is not the norm, sadly.
- Gif two…Superhero movies are predominantly male power centered, I get that so I concede that much. But the TV shows, reverse versions of King of Queens, Family Guy, Still Standing, shows where an overweight man has somehow scored a relatively bombshell fit/thin wife. But the problem the video makers intentionally fail to mention is that in those shows, the men suffer from being made to look utterly and appallingly idiotic. These men may have scored a hot wife, but not only is she hot, she is almost always portrayed as the voice of reason and sensibility, the smart one, the true heroine to all the man’s blundering stupidity. So these men may have scored a hot wife, but it always comes at the cost of their blithering lack of intelligence.
So really who is the sexism against here? Is it sexist to say that men despite their physical appearance can still get a very attractive spouse? Or is it more sexist and quite fat-shaming to portray these obese men as having no redeeming qualities, to make a stereotyped trope of the idiotic fat husband? I’d say the latter is farrrrr more sexist and disgusting a trope than simply the hot wife being the smart, reasonable, praised one who happens to be married to a guy that is physically “out of her league”. You can whine about “benevolent sexism”, but really….? Portraying the men as idiotic, slobbish, fat guys is tons more sexist and fat-shaming, overall it is much worse than the role of the women in these shows. End of story.
- Gif three…So the video makers are trying to say that men just don’t experience catcalls, wolf whistles, and being objectified? Try again. This happens quite as much as it happens to women. Guys just vocally express their uncomfortability with it, less. And many guys just simply try to take it as a compliment. But men face these things too, stop trying to make it all “if men were women hurr durr durr then they’d deal with this stuff and be so uncomfy and they’d KNOW what women have to deal with, it’s so hard for women”. But men ALREADY DO face these scenarios. Next!
- Gif four…People saying “it’s hard to find a funny woman”, are sexist assholes, point blank. But this IS NOT the majority opinion, this is an INDIVIDUAL opinion. Stop trying to make this opinion seem as if it is something mainstream, it isn’t. If it was, I Love Lucy, which is quite possibly the most successful television show of the 1950s, and maybe even the 60s, would never have had so much success. The demographic of those who watched the show were equal in sex, the show came on in the primetime hours, it was a family show and families would sit around and watch it together and laugh TOGETHER. People, MEN and women, thought the antics of Lucille Ball and her comedy show were the height of hilarity. So men on the whole DO find women funny, because the aspect of what they find funny on the whole has nothing to do with the sex of the person delivering the humour. Like I said, this opinion of “you’re funny for a girl” does circulate, indeed, but it is on an individual basis, not a societal mainstream basis.
- The last gif…I think we can all concede that seeing a good woman president in office would be very refreshing on terms of gender opportunities having occupied the Oval Office. But just because there hasn’t been a woman president does not mean that women aren’t allowed to be president. The track for the presidency is open to anyone who is qualified for it, there is no statute which bars the presidency from a candidate based on their sex or gender. Women might feel discouraged from pursuing the presidency as this gif is trying to portray, but it is inherently misleading that this gif doesn’t bother to show the milestones and paved paths that soon enough a woman president is a strong possibility.
Times have changed a lot, we see more and more women in political positions, positions which signify power, responsibility, and the leadership and representation of the people. Women like Condoleeza Rice, Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin (even if I and most people don’t like her, she still showed some headway for women in pursuit of those executive political positions), Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Madeleine Albright, Janet Reno, Margaret Thatcher (for leadership potential in general for the world-through, yes I know she isn’t American), Wendy Davis, and so on and so on. So the gif is being intentionally misguiding in painting the future as if women will never become president, when signs are pointing so strongly to the future being bright and more and more welcoming for a woman president.
It’s so sad to see how people have swallowed this down in reblogs with a clear lack of critical thinking. These gifs are a clear-cut case of the video makers painting issues how they want other to perceive them, not how things really are, or that an equal or close equivalent is almost always at hand on the other side.
LIST OF COMMON INVALID EXCUSES:
- "I was having a panic attack and lashed out!"
- "I wasn’t thinking!"
- "They triggered me!"
- "They’re a bad person!"
EXPLANATION ≠ EXCUSE
EXPLAINING WHY YOU TOLD SOMEONE TO KILL THEMSELVES IS NOT AN EXCUSE. OWN UP TO YOUR MISTAKE AND APOLOGIZE.
SUICIDE AND DEATH ARE SERIOUS THINGS THAT REALLY, ACTUALLY HAPPEN. STOP ENCOURAGING IT BECAUSE YOU’RE UPSET.
The instructors a cunt who deliberately went out of her way to belittle every student she could find an excuse for. People of all races do that. Racism exists, and its not exclusive to any people.
I don’t know where the fuck you people keep getting the notion that I think there is no racism. I’m saying all racism is wrong. And that includes when people to it to white people. Because even if the statistics are lower, that doesn’t make those people above any less fucking dead.
WHITE DRAGON TATTOO, Stockport.
the lines are shaky, the black isn’t solid, the font is.. odd.
good job professing your love for man hating, though.
I don’t know, I kind of like the style.
Imagine people like this in Congress.
Why. Why would you get that tattooed on you in the first place. Much less in huge lettering on your damn forearm.
Y’know what? Fuck it. I’m glad she got the tattoo—-I don’t want people like her in the workforce anyway. Christ.
BUT that doesn’t apply everywhere. Like the Mugabe situation is different because that’s in a country where white people aren’t the majority or really in control. I meant just in the western world and our communities. Also Mugabe is just kind of horrible in general to his own race as well, anyway…
Well, no. Not really. The flaw in your argument there is that racism is universally tied with oppression, when that isn’t the case. There is racism, and then there’s institutionalized racism. In a country like America, you’re dead right: whites are the majority, and there isn’t really any solid institutionalized racism against white people here.
However, that doesn’t detract from the fact that white people can still experience racism. All that racism is, is prejudice based on race. That’s it. There’s no power involved with simple racism—-anyone can be racist against anyone else.
Take somewhere like the UK, or the United States, for example. Predominantly white, yes? Theoretically, because of that, there should be no racism against white people, because they hold the position of power…
These are but a few examples of a rampant problem. And these attacks did not occur in a predominantly non-white country—-these articles come from the UK, or from the United States.
While yes, Mugabe is a shitty person and this isn’t the first type of thing he’s done (to any race, really), that doesn’t deny the fact that what he’s doing is oppressing whites. Simply in a country where A) they are the minority, and therefore B) he can get away with it.
*(Shoutout to Jafar over at disneyvillainsforrealjustice for all of the sources)*