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Forums - General Discussion - White Girl Wears Chinese Prom Dress - Outrage Commences

People really do find a way to get offended over everything these days don't they.

A teenage girl found a Chinese dress at a store, and liked it so much she wanted to wear it to her Prom. What. A. Monster.

If that's really so outrageous then I guess all the offended better take it up with the adult store owner, who sold her such a monumentally significant dress for such a woefully unworthy occasion. To be clear, I'm not actually advocating for that, but I mean seriously.......don't people have anything better to do?




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AngryLittleAlchemist said:
Shouldn't have worn that dress.

Because?



Cultural appropiation, just like toxic masculiniy is one of those often missunderstood terms, among the left and right alike.

At it's heart it's a neutral term describing a phenomenon that has happened forever.
I don't subscribe to the notion that cultural appropiation is something that is automatically bad. I also don't subcribe to the notion that it is somehow preventable or should be prevented. It certainly doesn't give anyone the justification to bully people.

Yes, some forms of cultural appropiation can be problematic or harmful, especially if it is the dominant culture appropiating a surpressed, marginilized or misstreated culture.
That is why people take offense to 'Sexy Pocahontas' halloween costumes, when naive americans where raped and massacred on a regular basis. It's sort of like me, a german, going as sexy Anne Frank for halloween.

Basically? Have a minimum amount of respect and appreciation for the culture you're borrowing from and don't just reduce it to a stereotype. Think about what you're doing and don't be an insensitive dick and you're fine in my book.



SuperNova said:
Cultural appropiation, just like toxic masculiniy is one of those often missunderstood terms, among the left and right alike.

At it's heart it's a neutral term describing a phenomenon that has happened forever.
I don't subscribe to the notion that cultural appropiation is something that is automatically bad. I also don't subcribe to the notion that it is somehow preventable or should be prevented. It certainly doesn't give anyone the justification to bully people.

Yes, some forms of cultural appropiation can be problematic or harmful, especially if it is the dominant culture appropiating a surpressed, marginilized or misstreated culture.
That is why people take offense to 'Sexy Pocahontas' halloween costumes, when naive americans where raped and massacred on a regular basis. It's sort of like me, a german, going as sexy Anne Frank for halloween.

Basically? Have a minimum amount of respect and appreciation for the culture you're borrowing from and don't just reduce it to a stereotype. Think about what you're doing and don't be an insensitive dick and you're fine in my book.

 It bothers me more that my native heritage was wiped away so I don't have the connection to it.  I wish it was taught more in school and society, that people were more aware that culture did exist here before colonization.  That the tribes are still here today and have value.  It honestly bothers me more when a European said to me how our (meaning American) history is "so young" acting like 1492 was day 1 of history in the "new world".

People being stupid and drunk dressing up on Halloween as caricatures pales compared to the legacy of poverty on reservations or the loss of culture of my own ancestors who were taken and forced to lose their "savage" nature.  I don't think we get much of anywhere picking on these superficial issues, the deeper roots of division are what interest me and working to a more knowledgeable and equitable society.

Bold: A good general sentiment in life.



Wait, a white girl wearing a Chinese dress? Why are such things even legal?! Everyone knows cultures should be strictly separated! This is almost as bad as Western people watching Japanese anime. Stuff like that should be punishable by death.



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Cultural appropriation only applies to white people using non-white stuff. Non-whites can use and abuse of all things white people made through the centuries and it's ok.



yeah same old same old, it's only a problem if white people do something. reminds me of the fuss over the Ghost in the Shell movie that was accused of whitewashing, and yet there is barely a franchise going right now made in Europe or America that has white characters changed to black characters (normally white men traded out for black men)

what is funny is that if you looked at inventions, art, tv & movies, sports, food etc around the world and what is popular, if the same rules were applied to all then white people would probably culturally 'appropriate' the least



Nymeria said:
SuperNova said:
Cultural appropiation, just like toxic masculiniy is one of those often missunderstood terms, among the left and right alike.

At it's heart it's a neutral term describing a phenomenon that has happened forever.
I don't subscribe to the notion that cultural appropiation is something that is automatically bad. I also don't subcribe to the notion that it is somehow preventable or should be prevented. It certainly doesn't give anyone the justification to bully people.

Yes, some forms of cultural appropiation can be problematic or harmful, especially if it is the dominant culture appropiating a surpressed, marginilized or misstreated culture.
That is why people take offense to 'Sexy Pocahontas' halloween costumes, when naive americans where raped and massacred on a regular basis. It's sort of like me, a german, going as sexy Anne Frank for halloween.

Basically? Have a minimum amount of respect and appreciation for the culture you're borrowing from and don't just reduce it to a stereotype. Think about what you're doing and don't be an insensitive dick and you're fine in my book.

 It bothers me more that my native heritage was wiped away so I don't have the connection to it.  I wish it was taught more in school and society, that people were more aware that culture did exist here before colonization.  That the tribes are still here today and have value.  It honestly bothers me more when a European said to me how our (meaning American) history is "so young" acting like 1492 was day 1 of history in the "new world".

People being stupid and drunk dressing up on Halloween as caricatures pales compared to the legacy of poverty on reservations or the loss of culture of my own ancestors who were taken and forced to lose their "savage" nature.  I don't think we get much of anywhere picking on these superficial issues, the deeper roots of division are what interest me and working to a more knowledgeable and equitable society.

Bold: A good general sentiment in life.

Yes, I agree with all of that. I think unfortunately school education tends to focus more on the horrors that were comitted, than the living breathing cultures that were harmed. That is, if they aknowledge it at all, and not just happly toot on about the countries great achievements, instead of facing some uncomfortable truths.

Speaking from my own perspective, we did second Word War every year in some form all throughout secondary school. Be it in actual history lessons, reading Anne Franks diary for german lessons, doing a play about Auschwitz in theater class (and meeting the real life holocaust survivor the play was about, wich was amazing), looking at the econimic and geographical consequences of the third reich and examining the cultural and sociological impact in geography and social sciences. All of wich is important. What we didn't do is visit a single Synagogue. Or learn anything about jewish tradition and religion.

We looked at the piles of shoes, all that is left from the people the Nazis killed, but we didn't look at living breathing jewish culture in germany.

Cultures oral history especially tends to get dismissed and skipped over. Native american history and culture as well as current conditions should definetly be tought and examined in school. As should african american history and cultural movements imho. But the US school system is an underfunded clusterfuck, that allows for blatantly false 'science' to be taught based on an evangelical christian bias, atm so there is a LOT of fixing required.

I also agree that we don't get far picking on superficial issues, but I also came to realize that clothing carries meaning, a lot of the time more than we give it credit for at a casual glance. For many black slaves a fine suit was the diffrence between making it to the North or spending the rest of their life in servitude and a war bonnet was and is a sacred item that deserves to be treated with respect. So if someone is hurt by stupid drunk people appropiating their culture and legacy, all the while ignoring all the very real problems that exist due to was done to that culture, I think they have the right to speak about it. Ideally in such a way as to educate and alert people to the actual, way bigger problems that are going on.



celador said:
yeah same old same old, it's only a problem if white people do something. reminds me of the fuss over the Ghost in the Shell movie that was accused of whitewashing, and yet there is barely a franchise going right now made in Europe or America that has white characters changed to black characters (normally white men traded out for black men)

what is funny is that if you looked at inventions, art, tv & movies, sports, food etc around the world and what is popular, if the same rules were applied to all then white people would probably culturally 'appropriate' the least

Totally different situation.  Blacks in America were stripped of their original culture and basically forced to adopt white culture as their own.  So you can't complain now that a lot of black actors are playing white roles.  But there was no historical or cultural reason to make Motoko white.

That's why I think history matters, you know?  You should know the history of something before you wear it.  Like, you wouldn't get a Swastika tattoo just because you thought it looked cool, would you?  There's history behind that symbol!



SuperNova said: 

Yes, I agree with all of that. I think unfortunately school education tends to focus more on the horrors that were comitted, than the living breathing cultures that were harmed. That is, if they aknowledge it at all, and not just happly toot on about the countries great achievements, instead of facing some uncomfortable truths.

Speaking from my own perspective, we did second Word War every year in some form all throughout secondary school. Be it in actual history lessons, reading Anne Franks diary for german lessons, doing a play about Auschwitz in theater class (and meeting the real life holocaust survivor the play was about, wich was amazing), looking at the econimic and geographical consequences of the third reich and examining the cultural and sociological impact in geography and social sciences. All of wich is important. What we didn't do is visit a single Synagogue. Or learn anything about jewish tradition and religion.

We looked at the piles of shoes, all that is left from the people the Nazis killed, but we didn't look at living breathing jewish culture in germany.

Cultures oral history especially tends to get dismissed and skipped over. Native american history and culture as well as current conditions should definetly be tought and examined in school. As should african american history and cultural movements imho. But the US school system is an underfunded clusterfuck, that allows for blatantly false 'science' to be taught based on an evangelical christian bias, atm so there is a LOT of fixing required.

I also agree that we don't get far picking on superficial issues, but I also came to realize that clothing carries meaning, a lot of the time more than we give it credit for at a casual glance. For many black slaves a fine suit was the diffrence between making it to the North or spending the rest of their life in servitude and a war bonnet was and is a sacred item that deserves to be treated with respect. So if someone is hurt by stupid drunk people appropiating their culture and legacy, all the while ignoring all the very real problems that exist due to was done to that culture, I think they have the right to speak about it. Ideally in such a way as to educate and alert people to the actual, way bigger problems that are going on.

I have a deep admiration for Germany and how its handled its history following the wars.  May even a bit too much being so concerned with Dritte Reich imagery, but I know heart is in the right place. May not be perfect, but as you stated about US education system it is progress.

Part of this view comes from American culture where locally we have festivals to celebrate local cultures of Mexican, Irish, Italian, and especially German culture.  I wore a dirndl and drank beer from a glass boot which may be stereotypical and even offensive to you given I have no direct German heritage, but it was more of sharing and honoring each other to become closer. I do think intent and attitude matters, not just the imagery.

The challenge with these issues is we are often arguing about end products and the divide comes from very different understanding of history.  For example, if all someone knew about Germany was the second World War that vacuum of context would create a very distorted view of your people.  I'm not sure how much progress or valid use of mental resources it is spending outrage on a symptom if we ignore the causes of such mindsets.  It's not an easy issue to resolve given as a species we naturally want to take reductionist views of others.