Wednesday, April 23, 2014

RANT: I got pissed off again..this time about coachella fashion!

Okay that's it, I have to say something. A lot of people are going on and on about the cultural appropriation that's been happening at all of these musical festivals by people like Vanessa Hudgens, and even in their videos by people like Selena Gomez. So here's my two cents. Or more like 20.  

I never saw the need to comment before, because well, it did piss me off, but I figure, these celebrities are so ignorant, it won't make a difference. I also thought, what if they really know about these cultures, or really are exploring them to learn more? (I often thought this when I would see people walking around with Lord Ganesha shirts, Aum signs, or people reblogging the crap out of things related to my religion [and others] on tumblr and other social media sites).

I started to draw the line when I saw Heidi Klum dress up as a Hindu Goddess (Kali) and a model that I followed on instagram, put up a picture of it, as if it were an inspiration for other cool halloween costumes. It was clear in her other posts that she enjoyed yoga, meditation etc, that's all well and good. BUT HOW IN THE HELL CAN YOU SUPPORT SOMEONE WEARING SOMEONE ELSE'S GOD AS A HALLOWEEN COSTUME?! Needless to say I commented, and after explaining that I wasn't hating on her (the model), just the cultural appropriation executed by Heidi Klum, I unfollowed. It was just too much negativity. 

Because here's the thing, if you enjoy our culture, that's awesome, we're all for sharing. But if you don't understand when you're exploring/learning/enjoying and when you're appropriating..then I don't want to have anything to do with you. It's ignorance, and if someone tries to politely explain to you that what you're doing is hurtful, and you still don't care, then I don't need that negativity in my life. 

And that's when it dawned on me. Half of these people wearing our gods on their shirts, or getting tattoos of our religious symbols, are probably the same people who can't even name the god on their shirt. I'm sure some people are not appropriating, but appreciating, so I'm not judging everyone. I'm judging those who do it, and are completely ignorant, wear it because it's "cool" and then would probably make fun of people from my culture for doing the same thing.

I did a bathing suit photo shoot once with the picture of Mary on the bottoms of the bathing suit. I remember thinking, "This is a little offensive..." But I did it anyways because my thought process was that people do that with my religion all the time. It was only until someone commented on the picture on my Facebook that I realized, you learn nothing from stooping to the level of other offenders. It was wrong and I shouldn't have worn it. I was angry with myself for making such a stupid mistake and that's what I'm trying to say, we all make mistakes. I get it, the celebrities probably don't even realize what they're doing just like I didn't realize what I was doing. When I did realize that I was doing I became a lot more conscious, and I started to see it everywhere. 

That's when my attitude began to shift and I got more and more pissed off. Do you see me wearing clothing with the cross on it? No. I'm not a Christian, but I find it severely disturbing to see people wearing crop tops, necklaces, earrings and short shorts with crosses on them. That's the symbol of someone's religion, of many of my friend's religion, and you're wearing it as a fashion statement? I'm not a Christian and I get offended even when I see that. And again, the same can be said here, if you are actually exploring the religion and learning to appreciate it, then that's great, but please don't dress up as Jesus for Halloween, that's fucking rude. 

I wasn't pushed to do a rant about this until miss Vanessa "CULTURAL APPROPRIATOR" Hudgens let out alllllllll the crazy during coachella this year. Like I said, I react pretty passively to the bindis, maybe an angry status here and there, but again these people just won't get it, and at the end of the day bindis in our culture are a fashion statement too. (Although it still of course irritated me that people from our culture get made fun of for wearing them). 

BUT THEN, OHHHH ARE YOU READY FOR IT? Not only does she get Hindu gods painted on her nails…SHE ALSO WEARS WHAT APPEARS TO BE A HIJAB TO THE FESTIVAL. Excuse me? WHAT?! Kendall Jenner wearing a South Asian style nose ring was enough to put a bad taste in my mouth for days..(and I actually like Kendall). BUT THAT..that made me want to vomit. How ignorant are you really? Gods..on your fucking nails? Look I understand this whole narrative of music festivals has to do with hippies and the 60s and musical festivals bringing about love, peace etc. I've been to them before and I enjoy them. Flower crowns are cool, no one is hating on your flower crowns. How did it turn into people taking minority cultures and sexualizing/appropriating them for the love of music? Like..I'm so confused. 

It's clear that Hinduism, Indigenous cultures, and yes Islam (you ignorant idiots) are all cultures and religions that exhibit and teach peace, love, community..all things associated with that "hippie" narrative of jamming out to your favourite music, feeling free BLAH BLAH BLAH. I get it. I see the lines, I can connect the dots. What I don't see is how they DON'T see how they're appropriating cultures and taking it way too damn far. You do not get to pick what you like from a minority and ignore the rest. 

No Vanessa Hudgens. No. You do not get to wear a hijab, while I have friends who wear them and get starred at, called names, and bullied for it. Not when people are persecuted on that and that alone. No, you don't. No Selena Gomez you don't get to wear a bindi (PS. She kept calling her song "tribal", it's not tribal you dumbass it's a sample of a tabla playing, yes just use our music in your songs and describe them while appropriating the wrong culture, it's cool, we're used to it.) when brown girls are afraid to do so for fear of people saying they're a "fob". Especially when elderly people in our communities still wear cultural dress and get flack for it. It's bullshit. And NO to all of these other imbeciles who wear feathers, head dressess and other native accessories. NO. You don't get to do that as a non-indian who does not experience the hardships indigenous communities experience on an every day basis. Not when our governments are the ones making it hard for them to live comfortably, or in some cases, to live at all. 

Do you get it now? Do you see how it's wrong to be able to wear something from another culture/religion as a fashion statement, when everywhere else, if someone FROM THAT ACTUAL CULTURE does it, they're bullied, victimized, stereotyped, etc? Do you? 

Listen, maybe Kendall Jenner has nothing against South Asians, and she liked the nose ring. Maybe she just wanted to wear something different that she thought expressed her freedom of fashion at an event like coachella. Hey, that would be okay, if we didn't live in this world. But unfortunately, we do, and before we make choices as fashion statements, people need to start taking the responsibility to think of the consequences of their actions. It makes me sick that magazines are now writing about bindis as a "summer" accessory, and of course with no mention of its cultural background. As someone who works in the fashion industry, among all the other downsides to our industry, this is one of them and it hits close to home. 

If we lived in a world where other cultures were appreciated (and I believe we're slowly getting there) and not stereotyped or made fun of, then this would be okay. This would be globalization and people learning to appreciate other culture's style and mix them in with their own. We'd all be citizens of the world. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Well it's not that way. And until it is, celebrities and festival-goers alike: THINK BEFORE YOU WEAR. Take it from a girl who once wore a pocahontas costume for halloween, and then realized what a horrible thing that was to do. I learned my lesson. Don't be ignorant. Help instead of hurt. It is NOT appreciation, it IS appropriation, and until you all understand that, this world remains a shitty place for minorities. 

That is all.

Twitter: @liveshiv
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