Appropriation or Appreciation
How Culture Endures in Melting Pot Nation
As I child, I remember my mom getting ready for Diwali celebrations. She carefully would pick out a salwar kameez and then promptly choose a matching bindi, which she would place in between her eyebrows. For me, these traditions have accumulated into what I consider to be beautiful. However, recently, the bindi has become a common accessory at music festival, and red carpets alike. The bindi and its importance dates back hundreds of years. Its roots in indian culture has lead to the outrage of many, and some remain unsure whether the use of the bindi by those of non-south asian descent is appropriation, or appreciation. The root of the disagreement resides in whether the bindi is a symbol of religious and cultural values, or whether it is a decorative accessory.
The bindi is a traditionally worn by women of South Asian descent. The bindi is placed between a woman’s eyebrows, which is thought to be the location of the sixth chakra, ajna, which is thought to be the sight of withheld wisdom. In hinduism, this also referred to the sight of one’s third eye. By focusing on one’s third eye, it is believed that higher levels of enlightenment can be achieved. These roots within the hindu religion has lead many people to feel that the use of bindis by people of non-South Asian descent is disrespectful, and a form of cultural appropriation.
The bindi’s presence in western culture can be traced back to the early 1990’s. Gwen stefani appeared in multiple of her music videos bearing a bindi. The bindi then made a resurgence when Selena Gomez appeared in her “Come and Get It” music video wearing a bindi, and again in her MTV performance of the same song. With the popularity of music festivals such as Coachella, to burning man, the bindi quickly became a pivotal part of “festival fashion”. Though the bindi does have a history based in religious values, the bindi has become more of a fashion choice is South Asian countries as well. Additionally, Priyanka Chopra, a woman of Indian descent, commented saying that Selena Gomez’s use of the bindi helped bring attention to Indian cultures, while others felt the use to be disrespectful.
So what quantifies appropriation versus appropriation. And, as a member of a minority group, who has the authority to state whether it is true. The line between appropriation and appreciation is very fine, and in our current political climate, where we know are more vocal about the respect of the cultural traditions of various groups, it has become increasingly important to discuss the parameters of which we share our cultures, and how they are translated to our country as a whole.
In 2007, my grandfather took his American Citizenship test. I remember my mom taking photos of him standing, and reciting the pledge for the very first time as an American Citizen. My grandfather, a man who grew up in the most illiterate state in India, who stood before me as a successful cardiologist symbolized my America. The following year, he participated in his first presidential election. On his tweed suit jacket he proudly placed his “I voted” sticker. For my grandfather and hundreds of thousands of people who become U.S. citizen each year, that sticker represents the ideals and strengths of our nation. The I voted sticker holds the common place that our country is one “for the people by the people” and is civic in it promotes Americans to do their civic duty of voting, while also inciting conversation about the political climate of our country.
Body of speech
- discuss its origin based in the 1980’s
- in 1987 developed by Janet Boudreau as a way to help remind Americans of Election Day, if they were to see someone else wearing one
- The design has a waving American flag on it, which often incites feelings of pride and honor for our country, and is very persuasive in making Americans vote
- Discuss how the sticker is civic because they can start important conversations. When someone sees someone else wearing a sticker, they might ask them if they voted, why they voted, or even who they voted for. This creates an opportunity to have open conversations
- The stickers also create the sense of community that voting is suppose to create, because the sticker is nonpartisan, but simply unites all Americans under the same waving flag
- Also, the flag uses pathos by invoking those feelings of pride and love for ones country
- Discuss how younger voters will often use the sticker as a symbol of Election Day, and will use it as a platform on social media to discuss their views
- The sticker is also representative of the struggle that many minority groups in America had to endure to receive their right to vote
For some a sticker may not seem like much, but the I voted sticker has developed into a powerful tool for inspiring civic participation. Additionally, the stickers symbolize the common place that most Americans have that voting is a right that all citizens have, and through that vote, they are able to actively effect their government. For Americans who historically were refused the right to vote, the sticker represents the adversity they had to overcome in order receive their rights. And finally, for Americans like my grandfather, the sticker symbolizes the journey as old as our nation, of coming to America, in search of a better life.
In a post 9/11 world, Addario faced new challenges, and harsher working environments. Addario specifically talks about the work she did in Pakistan. In her recount of the being stuck in a protest, where she received verbal and physical blows. Addario’s writing during these moments becomes rushed and intense, and invokes similar feelings in the reader. Addario’s use of strong verbal language such as citing chants of opposition againstAmerica, and burning effigies of President Bush. The sharp and aggressive imagery really made the reader feel as though they were there. Addario’s stylistic choices improves her writing by making the style fit with the situation. The application of such stylistic choices can improve any type of writing.
In my own passion blog, I hope to apply such stylistic choices in order to make my writing better fit both the situation I am commenting on, along with the views of my audience. By making such changes, I am able to make my writing more enjoyable to read by my audience, as well as make my writing more recognizable. In my passion blogs, I hope to use more anecdotes to help support certain posts. Fashion is such a personal part of my life, so by adding stories of how each fashion post relates to my own life story is far more impactful than me simply providing fashion tips. I hope that my blog becomes a place, where even if my reader’s fashion is not “on trend” that they can still relate to my belief that fashion is more of an expression of ones self, than conforming to societal ideals. Through this simple stylistic choice, I would be able to build a stronger, emotional connection with my audience. I think that by doing so, readers will be able to get more out of reading my posts, other than simple fashion advice. My reader will get to know me, and themselves, and I think that is just as important.
In Its What I Do, Addario mentions a discussion she has with her grandmother, Nina. After a encounter with a past love after many years, Nina said that she realized she had been missing her passion for so long. She stated that her life with her husband, Ernie, had been comfortable, and enjoyable, but it was never filled with the excitement that came from her love, her passion. Addario knew that if she has sacrificed her passion, her “Sal”, for anything, that this excitement would be gone from her life.
For me that excitement comes from the purchase of a new pair of shiny, black Chelsea boots. That excitement comes from the confidence I feel when I am wearing a new outfit. My whole life, I have always been in awe of the power clothing has to change the way people look at others, and themselves.
As a child, I would always stare, shinny eyes, at the glossy fashion magazines that lined the checkout lane at the supermarket. At three years old, I would sit cross legged on my aunt’s bed, helping her pick out outfits I thought would suit her. I dreamed of having a closet filled with endless sweater and skirts, one in every color. As the youngest of three sisters, however, my closest was instead filled with hand me down sweatshirts and jeans. I fantasized about going on a wild shopping spree, tossing everything I wanted into a cart, and skipping off into the sunset, like I saw in one of the many Mary Kate and Ashley Olson shopping montages I would watch on repeat.
Even though I am Pre-med, and will never pursue a career in fashion, I would never give up my passion for clothing. Fashion brings an excitement, that even science cannot bring me, no matter how much I love it. Fashion is something I do for myself, and myself only, it is my “Sal.”
I consider myself someone with a myriad of interests. I have always really enjoyed learning a new skill, developing a talent, or challenging myself with opportunities for self betterment! However, these interests pale in comparison to my passions. My passions may not seem mutually exclusive, but I like to make both a large part of my life. My two passions are that of science, school and learning, and my passion for fashion.
If I were to focus my passion blog on school, I would focus on posts such as the best places to study on campus, my top ten highly effective study tips, and what activities are fulfilling, while still providing plenty of time for students to hit the books. My posts would most likely cater to a audience of science majors, as I am a biology major, and I am more familiar with the academic life of such students. I think the blog would definitely be useful to a variety of students, especially incoming freshman.
My other passion blog idea is on campus fashion. My blog would focus on what outfits are best for walking on campus, outfit ideas that comply with lab protocol, as well as seasonal looks as we head into the fall and winter seasons. I think the blog would help a lot of girls figure out how to look presentable, while still being comfortable enough to walk on campus, and study. I would also try to interview other students who I think have nice outfits on, and ask them where they got their pieces, what inspired the look, and what advice they would have for my readers.
I think both passion blog ideas are broad enough that I could make multiple posts, while still specific enough to my passions. I also believe that both have a platform here at Penn State. I am currently unsure of which I like better, but will continue to weigh my options over the next few days.