Thursday, May 8, 2014

the controversy over culture in fashion

Lots of fashion inspired by different cultures is very in right now, including the bindi, dreadlocks, and kimono. 

So, I'm currently in a tumblr fight over this. I saw a picture of a white girl with dreads, and someone commented that she was "racist." 

This prompted me to make a text post, basically saying how styles inspired by cultures are not owned by any one specific culture and anyone is entitled to wearing them. Soo that got me in a fight. 

Most people agreed with me, actually, but a few did not. A person is currently trying to prove to me that bindis are owned by the Indian culture because they originated there and anyone else wearing them without the same meaning is stealing. 

I mean, they made a valid point. 

But how does one define the owner of something that's been around for centuries?? Today, we have this thing called copyright, and if you make a piece of art you'd like to own you can be the legal owner and no one else is allowed to steal it. I don't know the history of the Indian culture, but bindis have perhaps been around for thousands of years. How do we really know where they came from? (The same thing applies to kimonos.) 

(As for dreadlocks, MANY cultures actual wore them throughout history. Scandinavian vikings wore them as well as Africans.)

Yes, bindis originated in the Indian culture and kimonos are of the Japanese. The Indians and Japanese wear them with meaning. But something so old and so simple can be manipulated to fit any type of person that likes the style. A bindi is a jewel and a kimono is a robe. Anyone is allowed to wear it if they like it. At this point, no culture owns a specific form of beauty and everything belongs to everyone. 

xx Signe


  1. First pic is soo great!

  2. Dreadlocks are generally claimed to be part of the hippie/bohemian/free spirit era that began gaining movement in the 70/60s as opposition to the vietnam war because dreadlocks were viewed as being anti-estabishment. Many people actually et dreadlocks out of pure convenience of not always having your hair in your face or having to wash it. Calling a white girl with dreadlocks "racist" is a completely ridiculous sentiment! I do somewhat understand the bindi controversy as it is part of certain heritage and culture. However, I would prefer to wear a bindi to show that I accept them than not wear one and stare at a person from a different culture who has one because it stands out as being alien. Co existing is so difficult if you steer away from certain cultural practises people view you as hostile to them but if you seek to adopt thm you're called a racist and accused of demeaning a certain culture's practises. All in all, you cannot win. I'm a firm believer in dressing exactly as you want so if I want to wear a bindi, go braless and dread my hair at the same time then I'll do it!

  3. Great post, and I honestly think that anyone should be able to wear what they want and not have to get rude comments like "racist", that's absolutely ridiculous!


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    Benish | Feminist Reflections