i was born in the right decade. the decade of the selfie and googling the answers to hard problems.
People being angry about ~dem gays~ on Target’s Facebook.
I just want to give my two cents on this and tell you a story.
A couple weeks ago, I was hired at Target. I have a job at Target. Not a big deal right?
It is a big deal because i’m a transman.
It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that it’s hard for me, my brothers, and sisters to get a job. There are legal restraints regarding the job and if you don’t pass, it’s hard to be taken seriously at a job interview.
Right on the application, it asks what your preferred name is. It also asks if there is anything that target should know. I put the fact that I am a transman, expecting not to get a call because usually when you put that down, people will throw out the application. I got TWO interviews.
At the interview, they asked me about it. I told them I am on hormones and they told me that they didn’t care. Not in the sense that they don’t emotionally care, but that it didn’t matter. I was male and that’s all that mattered. They also told me that they give sex same couples benefits in states that do not recognize them as a married couple.
At my job orientation, I was not misgendered once. Even my supervisors who weren’t sure of my gender avoided pronoun use, which I found only happens when you’ve had pronoun training. They gave me a name tag with my preferred name and didn’t ask questions. I felt safe and respected, which is huge for a trans* person.
TLDR: Target is amazing not just for the LGB, but also the T. Shop there for the rest of your life.
A white girl wore a bindi at Coachella. And, then my social media feeds went berserk. Hashtagging the term “cultural appropriation” follows the outrage and seems to justify it at the same time. Except that it doesn’t.
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of a specific part of one culture by another cultural group. As I (an Indian) sit here, eating my sushi dinner (Japanese) and drinking tea (Chinese), wearing denim jeans (American), and overhearing Brahm’s Lullaby (German) from the baby’s room, I can’t help but think what’s the big deal?
The big deal with cultural appropriation is when the new adoption is void of the significance that it was supposed to have — it strips the religious, historical and cultural context of something and makes it mass-marketable. That’s pretty offensive. The truth is, I wouldn’t be on this side of the debate if we were talking about Native American headdresses, or tattoos of Polynesian tribal iconography, Chinese characters or Celtic bands.
Why shouldn’t the bindi warrant the same kind of response as the other cultural symbols I’ve listed, you ask? Because most South Asians won’t be able to tell you the religious significance of a bindi. Of my informal survey of 50 Hindu women, not one could accurately explain it’s history, religious or spiritual significance. I had to Google it myself, and I’ve been wearing one since before I could walk.
We can’t accuse non-Hindus of turning the bindi into a fashion accessory with little religious meaning because, well, we’ve already done that. We did it long before Vanessa Hudgens in Coachella 2014, long before Selena Gomez at the MTV Awards in 2013, and even before Gwen Stefani in the mid-90s.
Indian statesman Rajan Zed justifies the opposing view as he explains, “[The bindi] is an auspicious religious and spiritual symbol… It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory…” If us Indians had preserved the sanctity and holiness of the bindi, Zed’s argument for cultural appropriation would have been airtight. But, the reality is, we haven’t.
The 5,000 year old tradition of adorning my forehead with kumkum just doesn’t seem to align with the current bindi collection in my dresser — the 10-pack, crystal-encrusted, multi-colored stick-on bindis that have been designed to perfectly compliment my outfit. I didn’t happen to pick up these modern-day bindis at a hyper-hipster spot near my new home in California. No. This lot was brought from the motherland itself.
And, that’s just it. Culture evolves. Indians appreciated the beauty of a bindi and brought it into the world of fashion several decades ago. The single red dot that once was, transformed into a multitude of colors and shapes embellished with all the glitz and glamor that is inherent in Bollywood. I don’t recall an uproar when Indian actress Madhuri Dixit’s bindi was no longer a traditional one. Hindus accepted the evolution of this cultural symbol then. And, as the bindi makes it’s way to the foreheads of non-South Asians, we should accept — even celebrate — the continued evolution of this cultural symbol. Not only has it managed to transcend religion and class in a sea of one-billion brown faces, it will now adorn the faces of many more races. And that’s nothing short of amazing.
So, you won’t find this Hindu posting a flaming tweet accusing a white girl of #culturalappropriation. I will say that I’m glad you find this aspect of my culture beautiful. I do too.❞
Why a Bindi Is NOT an Example of Culture Appropriation
by Anjali Joshi
Sooo I’ve finally started watching all the Star Wars with mah bae leftmagic and it’s a pretty good time so far.
There’s always the token ‘ask dumb questions about every god damn thing’ in each training course. Like GTFO mate you’re holding up my learning. Do the prerequisite gosh darn!
I DONT GET THE METAPHOR JOKE SEND HELP
tumblr made me think about a lot of things but mostly social justice and my eyebrows
Fun fact if you talk to me past midnight i get real personal and it’s weird
12:00am- oh I man I love cheese pizza too!
12:01am- I killed a man once