I know that a lot of women and men from different ethnicities were waiting for this particular topic and believe me, it took me a while to post this as it is a very sensitive topic.
🌼 Cultural Appropriation: is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. Cultural appropriation, often framed as cultural misappropriation, is sometimes portrayed as harmful and is claimed to be a violation of the collective intellectual property rights of the originating culture. Often unavoidable when multiple cultures come together, cultural appropriation can include using other cultures’ traditions, food, fashion, symbols, technology, language, and cultural songs without permission. According to critics of the practice, cultural (mis)appropriation differs from acculturation, assimilation, or cultural exchange in that the “appropriation” or “misappropriation” refers to the adoption of these cultural elements in a colonial manner: elements are copied from a minority culture by members of a dominant culture, and these elements are used outside of their original cultural context—sometimes even against the expressly stated wishes of representatives of the originating culture.
The cultural appropriation topic has been very popular in the past recent years due to many changes in the fashion industry. A few celebrities and other public figures have been criticised for using foreign cultures as a fashion-statement. For instance, these could be hairstyles, facial characteristics, body shapes, clothing, and customs. This creates a culture misappropriation which causes a negative impact to the society.
In order to understand why there are certain boundaries for cultural appropriation, we have to take in mind the different background histories of when some people were oppressed and are still suffering from oppression. I don’t think many individuals are aware that by using a foreign culture for fashion, it can cause a negative impact and disrespect to the culture itself.
Culture is something that is used to represent ourselves therefore, it is a very personal thing that should be taken into consideration before using it for anything.
You might be thinking “but what happened to people being allowed to wear whatever they want and being able to express their own individuality?” Well, the answer is simple. Expressing our own individuality means showing who we are as a person, using someone else’s culture to represent who you are is just pathetic when you know nothing about that culture nor did you experience the culture itself.
I do not mind if someone who took their time to learn other cultures and really appreciate it but for those that use it in fashion, for festivals or just to mock one’s culture, it is just out of order.
The hypocrisy of mocking one’s culture, then copying that same individual
I don’t know how many of you have heard of Blackface, but it is a a form of theatrical makeup used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a black person. This is in fact mocking people with dark complexion. There is no need to paint your skin black and lips red to make the lips look bigger. This is an insensitive way to represent a black person and in my opinion, it should be banned or have serious consequences if someone proceeded with this as this is racism at its best.
Not respecting the fact that some things cannot be copied
Using one’s culture while they are still being victimised by their oppressor is controversial specially if you are the oppressor or your ancestors are part of that oppression to other ethnicities. I have seen many cases in which a racist person has the audacity to copy someone else’s culture yet they talk badly and make racist comments regarding people from that particular culture. This just shows how humans can be so hypocrite and insensitive.
The audacity to claim something that it is not rightfully yours
I believe that learning each other’s culture is vital as it brings everyone closer and help us understand why certain people from different countries act a certain way but, it is not acceptable to misuse each other’s culture. It is not right to use a culture for the wrong intentions like for example, black face, to me it is very disrespectful because I have a dark skin and the way it is represented it is very wrong as my face features do not resemble the way black face shows.
Also, you see all the brands and celebrities claiming to start a trend which has already been part of someone else’s culture since the beginning of time! For example, the Kardashians love stealing black culture to gain further fame and profiting from it and never acknowledging where they get their ideas from, instead they claim it theirs.
My thoughts for this case are very personal and I certainly agree that there should be that moral boundaries in which people should adhere to as this is a serious matter that not only disrespects others but it is also upsetting that some don’t value other people’s culture.