Cultural appropriation might just be actual appreciation?
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
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