Less Than Three

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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

(via breannekiele)

(via pompelmo)

vinegod:

Latino Hunger Games by Rudy Mancuso

(via vincecarters)

(Source: methedras, via murderotic)

akapine006:

superwholockalypse:

i-face-thehorizon:

altonym:

thecoppercow:

altonym:

tyrabanksonabudget:

PLEASE SCAN YOUR CLUBC-CLUBCARD ACCEPTED

PLEASE TAKE YOUR ITEMS

PLEASE TAKE YOUR ITEMS

PLEASE TAKE YOUR ITEMS

UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA

AND THEN WHEN YOU TAKE IT OUT

PLEASE PLACE ITEM IN BAGGING AREA

PLEASE TAKE YOUR CHANGE

NOTES ARE DISPENSED BELOW THE SCANNER

OMFG

I CAN HEAR IT HER VOICE IS IN MY HEAD

(via jeongmaljojo)

theamazingcommie:

My political orientation.

theamazingcommie:

My political orientation.

(via popiatom)

miyuli:

I’ve been spamming twitter with my silly Disney/Pixar genderbending sketches so I thought I’d clean some up and put them here as well~ (I also did some Frozen genderbends) This was fun! 

(via thecarebearfag)

flikkerlicht:

finch-princess:

floofymoofysheep:

flikkerlicht:

Super edgy pastel graphics telling you how not to be an asshole!

"Dont bully cis people its mean >:(" 

Cis People: *murder trans people and deny them their rights*

we were so close to having cute edgy art but instead you’ve soiled it with claims of cisphobia

You want rights by attempting to demonize and make fun of cis people? Man no wonder they kind of don’t want to listen to you! 

It doesn’t matter if you think cisphobia actually harms people or not. Making fun of people for any kind of cause won’t make any people reflect on their actions in any case. It rather blocks both parties from wanting any kind of serious consideration.

Making fun of gay/trans/non-binary people is not funny and neither is making fun of cis/straight people. Treat people how you want to be treated and you will earn respect, because respect is to be earned, not given.

And well? Venting is totally ok, venting is healthy, everyone has struggles to vent about. Making fun of people is NOT venting. And trying to excuse that is just plain asshatery.

And if you think alienating cis people doesn’t happend for any kind of magical reason. Scroll down here.

And how it doesn’t ‘really’ affect cis people? I’ve seen people send death threats to the point where the person had to delete their account because they couldn’t take it anymore.

I have friends who got depressed and suicidal because people kept telling them how much scum they were for being cis/privileged/male.

IF YOU THINK IT IS NOT BAD TO MAKE FUN OF THEM JUST BECAUSE ‘IT’S JUST FELINGS’ YOU ARE A PRETTY DISGUSTING PERSON. I’VE SEEN CIS PEOPLE GETTING SUICIDAL OVER THESE THINGS FOR GOD’S SAKE.

If you bully cis people, it may make them think they feel all the more justified for bullying, attacking or assaulting trans/non-binary people because all they see from trans/non-binary people is how they tell them how much scum and privileged. they are for being cis.

Sincerely, someone who isn’t cis, has been denied their identity, but wants people to stop being fucking assholes to each other based on sexuality/race/gender that people can not control.

(via gigglesandanixi)

Tumblr Code.

geekishchic:

If I ever see any of you in public, the code is “I like your shoelaces”

that way we know we’re from tumblr without revealing anything

I’m just going to say this to strangers until i find a tumblr person

image

must keep reblogering!! Im going to be so suspicious if any one tells me this now!

Remember the answer is: I stole them from the president.

image

always reblog tumblr identification

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