Cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion might just be ac­tual ap­pre­ci­a­tion?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Pr­erna Gauba pr­erna.gauba@htlive.com

Re­cently, when a UK-based fash­ion web­site put up tra­di­tional In­dian maangtikas for sale, call­ing them “chan­de­lier hair clips”, many in­fu­ri­ated Twit­ter users called it “ap­pro­pri­a­tion of the his­tor­i­cal ac­ces­sory”. The web­site re­moved the ar­ti­cle later. A few months ago, the same site had drawn flak for la­bel­ing a range of bindis as Hal­loween items.

More re­cently, two celebs were ac­cused of cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion at the Coachella Val­ley Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val in Colorado, US. While singer Vanessa Hud­gens was ac­cused of cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion by Ne­ti­zens for sport­ing a bindi, model Shan­ina Shaik was crit­i­cised for “be­ing white and sup­port­ing braids”. Singer Katy Perry was also re­cently trolled, when she posted an im­age of Hindu de­ity Kali with the cap­tion, “cur­rent mood.”

Cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion is a phrase which has been splashed all over the news lately. But do most of us know what it ac­tu­ally means? One ex­pla­na­tion is that it means a sit­u­a­tion in which “one sub­group in our so­ci­ety uses the story of another group to cre­ate some­thing new,” in­di­cat­ing that such an ac­tion can re­sult in stereo­typ­ing. Yet, these in­stances which have been cited, are they ap­pro­pri­a­tion or sim­ple ap­pre­ci­a­tion? “I get in­spired by things all over the world. How can some­one tell me that a cer­tain thing is not mine?” says designer Anupama Dayal. How­ever designer Ku­nal Anil Tanna says, “When one is bor­row­ing an el­e­ment from a dif­fer­ent cul­ture, it al­ways makes sense to be well-in­formed about its sig­nif­i­cance. We should rep­re­sent it ap­pro­pri­ately.”

CUL­TURE DOESN’T BE­LONG TO ANY­ONE. PEO­PLE CAN GET IN­SPIRED BY THINGS ALL OVER THE WORLD, SAYS DESIGNER ANUPAMA DAYAL

PHOTO: IN­STA­GRAM/ SHANINAMSHAIK PHOTO: IN­STA­GRAM/ VANESSAHUDGENS

Model Shan­ina Shaik was crit­i­cised for her braids Above: Vanessa Hud­gens was ac­cused of cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion as she sported a bindi Left: A model wear­ing mang tika

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