"She was more disturbed by Mr. Knightley’s not dancing than by any thing else.—There he was, among the standers-by, where he ought not to be; he ought to be dancing,—not classing himself with the husbands, and fathers, and whist-players, who were pretending to feel an interest in the dance till their rubbers were made up,—so young as he looked!— He could not have appeared to greater advantage perhaps anywhere, than where he had placed himself. His tall, firm, upright figure, among the bulky forms and stooping shoulders of the elderly men, was such as Emma felt must draw every body’s eyes; and,excepting her own partner, there was not one among the whole row of young men who could be compared with him."
Prince George’s First Royal Tour.
THE SO DONE ONE IS PURE GOLD BYE
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
An Indian woman, a Japanese woman, and a Syrian woman, all training to be doctors at Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia, 1880s. (Image courtesy Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine Archives, Philadelphia, PA. Image #p0103) (x)
The Indian woman, Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi, was the first Indian woman to earn a degree in Western medicine, and also believed to be the first Hindu woman to set foot on American soil.
The Japanese woman, Dr. Kei Okami, was the first Japanese woman to obtain a degree in Western Medicine.
The Syrian woman is Dr. Sabat Islambooly. Her name is spelled incorrectly on that photograph.
For those interested, here’s more information on other women of color who attended and graduated from Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia in the past, with a focus on the Japanese-American women they accepted during the US WW2 internment of Japanese-Americans.
Why does Chris Evans always grab his left boob when he laughs?
Hello, anon, and thank you for the question.
This topic has been studied by by researchers for years. There are three prevailing theories that I will relay to you now.
1. It keeps him on the ground.
You may notice in the gif above that Chris’ leg starts to rise as he laughs, possibly a precursor to his entire body undergoing a sort of lift off due to his joy. Chris then employs his upper body strength to force himself to obey the laws of gravity.
2. To check on his physique.
As you may be aware, anon, it takes a lot of hard work to maintain a superhero body. Chris is concerned that in the time he has spent sitting down, sans working out or eating, he has lost muscle mass. Understandably, he feels the need to make sure that he is still a specimen.
3. Object permanence.
Object permanence is a term applied to the understanding that an object still exists even when you cannot see it. Chris closes his eyes when he laughs, making him unable to see that he has not disappeared. By grabbing his left boob, Chris knows that he has not somehow ceased to exist.
I hope this helps.
Can we talk about how Cap and Bucky have opposite masks?
Cap has mouth and eyes exposed, forehead covered. Bucky has mouth covered and eyes painted black, his forehead exposed.
What a lovely symmetry.
But the symbolism too. Cap’s is a helmet, protection, to keep him safe from physical harm. Bucky’s is a muzzle to keep him silent and anonymous and on a leash.
Omfg. I’m literally speechless
I NEED to reblog Helpful Indoor Owl
Just look at this little cutie
Perched on its human friends head there, being adorable…
The caption makes me wonder if it shreds letters regardless of whether they need to be…
"Those bank statements would only make you sad, human
So I took care of them
Yes I am good owl”
I AM THAT OWL