Culture and Fashion Essay

Culture and Fashion Essay

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Many pop stars, such as Selena Gomez, Iggy Azalea, Katy Perry, and more, have been pictured wearing a bindi. Most people see this as a unique fashion choice, an accessory that adds depth to an outfit. However, this is a situation where someone has pushed cultural appreciation too far. In modern society, people blur the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation; which produces negative side effects such as the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes and degradation of a sacred tradition.
Cultural appropriation has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Appropriation, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, is the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. When someone appropriates a culture, they are taking an item from that culture and using it without the permission of those people. But keep in mind that just because one person of a culture isn’t offended by appropriation doesn’t mean that other people of that culture aren’t. There are an infinite number of examples of cultural appropriation that can be seen today. Some appropriated items that are more popular today include kimonos, from Japanese culture; saris, from Indian culture; and even dreadlocks and "twerking" from African-American culture. Bindis and headdresses are just two examples of items that are being appropriated on a large scale today. Most often, these items are worn for the aesthetic, meaning that the person appropriating them is wearing them for fashion purposes. Bindis, from Hindu culture, have almost been completely reduced to a fashion accessory; stripping them of all the significance that they truly have in Hindu culture (Bhuiyan). Appropriation of the headdress, from Native Americ...


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...twear Through the Ages. Ed. Sara Pendergast, et al. 2nd ed. Vol. 2: Early Cultures Across the Globe. Detroit: UXL, 2013. 351-357. Student Resources in Context. Web. 24 April 2014.
"Hinduism." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear Through the Ages. Ed. Sara Pendergast, et al. 2nd ed. Vol. 6: Modern World Part III: 2000 to 2012 and Religious Vestments. Detroit: UXL, 2013. 1227-1241. Student Resources in Context. Web. 24 April 2014.
"HINDUS URGE SELENA GOMEZ TO APOLOGISE FOR BINDI ERROR." World Entertainment News Network 15 Apr. 2013. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 24 April 2014.
Keene, Adrienne. "But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?" Native Appropriations. Adrienne Keene, 27 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 April 2014.
Paterek, Josephine. "Northwest Coast." Encyclopedia of American Indian Costume. New York: Norton, 1996. 315. Print.

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