“What beautiful cultural appropriation!”
I turned in my seat to look at the fashion editor nodding in approval next to me at Lagos Fashion Week.
By that point, I had seen fashion shows in nearly a dozen countries, and I was used to hearing the term “cultural appropriation” whispered around a runway. In Japan I saw Maasai necklaces paired with cargo shorts; in Namibia I saw models in geisha makeup with chopsticks in their hair; and of course, I’ve seen hundreds of European designers “elevating” African-American street fashion.
But this was the first time I’d heard it used as a compliment.
According to Mary Edoro, the editor of BellaNaija, a fashion publication based in Lagos, Nigeria, we were seeing the appropriation of traditional clothing — Calabar fabrics from southeast Nigeria and red ivie beads from the north — from rural communities once considered out of step in modern Nigeria. But in the past decade, integrating them into high fashion has become a source of pride.
“People did not appreciate these old fabrics and designs,” Ms. Edoro told me. “Cultural appropriation, when done in a good way, makes us appreciate things we might typically ignore.”
I’ve spent the past few years traveling around the world to investigate fashion subcultures. I’ve met Japanese women who dress as 1990s Mexican-Americans from East Los Angeles, white women in cornrows at Jamaican dance halls and African-Americans who call ankara cloth, popular in West Africa, “tribal prints.” Through it all, I’ve come to believe that the impulse to play dress-up in other people’s cultures goes beyond teenagers wearing qipaos to prom, or Coachella girls in feathered headdresses. It’s an impulse that is nearly universal.
In other words, cultural appropriation might cause outrage, but it will not stop. And so the question is why? What do people get out of adopting aesthetics from other cultures? Through my travels, I’ve come to see appropriation as a form of communication: Sometimes what people are trying to say is trivial, hurtful and condescending — a bindi to proclaim that they’re “exotic” for instance, or cornrows to say they’re “cool.” But other times, what is being said is difficult and important.
Last October, I interviewed a Japanese rapper named Mona who’s a self-described “chola,” a member of an urban Mexican-American subculture. Part of it was that she liked the look: bold makeup, hoop earrings.
But Mona’s experimentation coincided with her rebellion against how Japanese society shamed her for her outspokenness. In movies like “Selena” and “Mi Vida Loca,” she saw kindred spirits: women celebrated, not ostracized, for their aggression. Some of what Mona did made me cringe: She used gang symbols without the accompanying realities of gang life; she wore rosaries though she is not religious. And yet cholo culture gave her a way to act, speak and dress — all to communicate that she does not agree with how her own culture insists Japanese women should be.
Or consider the rise of Afropunk style. Among my black American friends and peers, Afropunk — which originated at a Brooklyn music festival celebrating black artists and has expanded around the world — has become a crucial cultural outlet. At its heart is a sense of rebellion against the realities of a racist world. That rebellion manifests in glorious, creative outfits that riff on centuries-old aesthetic legacies from Africa, beloved cultural traditions among African-American communities and a fantastical, futuristic sensibility.
These outfits are also, according to some Africans, inadvertently disrespectful. In Nigeria, I spoke to a stylist who mentioned that Afropunk style — which can mix Kenyan kitenge cloth with Bini coral beads and an Egyptian cobra headband — was one way that the African diaspora has betrayed African people, since it flattens so many individual ethnic communities into one Pan-African look. But, he also told me, he doesn’t begrudge this. He’s connected to a rich variety of African cultures. He recognizes that many black Americans aren’t.
When I asked the Harlem-based costume designer Delta Major about her mix-and-match approach to Afropunk fashion, she told me that she understood her clothing to be appropriation. She knew it wasn’t “authentically African” and so was, in a sense, disrespectful. But “getting it right” wasn’t the point. Her history was stolen from her; she doesn’t know where her family came from, and the purposeful inauthenticity made that very statement.
On some level, it doesn’t feel right to call what Afropunk attendees and Japanese cholas do “cultural appropriation.” The power dynamics at work are complicated; it’s unproductive to argue whether black Americans or Africans — or cholas and ostracized Japanese women — have more or less power, and whether one has contributed to the other’s oppression, the way we do when we talk about white Americans appropriating from marginalized groups. We reach for concepts like cultural appreciation and globalization to take into account that these forms of exchange might be less hurtful, or more thoughtful, even if there’s still harm and ignorance at play.
But of course, it is appropriation. These groups, in different ways, are adorning themselves with symbols from another culture and wearing them for their own purposes.
Now, contrast this appropriation with those notorious headdresses. No one except the most willfully obstinate would defend wearing a war bonnet to Coachella. But I’d argue that’s not only because the object is sacred, and the power dynamic direct and unjust, but also because the intended message — that you’re a free spirit, if only for a weekend — is uninteresting. It contains nothing significant to justify something so obviously hurtful.
Things like power, authenticity, respectfulness and credit are all important considerations to weigh against the damage that’s inherent in cultural appropriation. It’s also crucial to understand the maddening reality for many marginalized American groups whose money, livelihoods and creations are regularly stolen from them. But these litmus tests are not adequate by themselves.
We know because when we’re confronted with more complex messages and muddled power dynamics, we short-circuit. We don’t know what to do, or how to feel. We don’t know who the victims are, or what the crime exactly is — even if feels as if there might be one.
In the end, determining when cultural appropriation is O.K. can feel as if it requires a delicate calculus, more holistic than binary. It’s understandable that as a result, we’ve landed on treating cultural appropriation as a bad habit to be trained out of us; often it feels easier not to engage at all. But this balancing act is worth performing. Because the bad-habit model is not only exhausting; the result is often that people are so afraid of appearing “bad” that they self-censor good-faith impulses to try something new. Ironically, in doing so, they learn less about other cultures.
Reframing fashion-based cultural appropriation not as a bad habit but as a discussion of ideas helps make these calculations easier. We understand how ideas work: Sometimes they’re unnecessarily offensive, and sometimes they’re offensive because they need to be. Sometimes the controversy they generate is silly and piddling; other times, it’s enlightening. As my seatmate in Lagos told me, it can help us see something we would have otherwise missed.
And yes — it can be beautiful too.
Connie Wang is a senior features writer for Refinery29 and the host of the documentary show “Style Out There.”
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六盒宝典开奖结果今晚一【结】【果】【等】【了】【这】【么】【长】【时】【间】【也】【不】【见】【主】【宰】【被】【击】【杀】【的】【公】【告】，【所】【以】【一】【伙】【人】【埋】【伏】【了】【上】【来】。 【对】【面】【直】【接】【五】【个】【人】【一】【起】【上】，【蓝】【方】【的】【人】【刚】【刚】【全】【部】【把】【技】【能】【用】【完】，【技】【能】【刷】【新】【时】【间】【也】【不】【是】【满】【六】【神】【装】【的】【时】【候】，【还】【在】【有】【点】【慢】。 【经】【过】【一】【番】【挣】【扎】【之】【后】，【就】【只】【剩】【下】【浪】【仙】【还】【在】【坚】【守】【着】，【但】【是】【也】【已】【经】【只】【剩】【了】【一】【丝】【丝】【血】，【他】【用】【的】【吸】【血】【铭】【文】【还】【不】【错】，【不】【过】【眼】【看】【着】【马】【上】【也】
【初】【阳】【升】【起】，【浓】【郁】【的】【黑】【烟】【正】【渐】【渐】【消】【散】，【徒】【留】【缕】【缕】【轻】【烟】【化】【为】【无】【形】。 【高】【挂】【着】“【香】【桂】【叶】【之】【家】”【招】【牌】【的】【旅】【店】【内】，【一】【个】【小】【男】【孩】【正】【艰】【难】【地】【抱】【起】【摞】【起】【来】【的】【木】【条】，【朝】【着】【库】【房】【跌】【跌】【撞】【撞】【地】【走】【去】。 “……【就】【像】【你】【现】【在】【看】【到】【的】【这】【样】，【他】【已】【经】【无】【依】【无】【靠】。【店】【里】【已】【经】【是】【这】【个】【样】【子】，【伙】【计】【的】【家】【属】【迟】【早】【也】【会】【上】【门】【要】【钱】，【他】【的】【父】【亲】【也】【需】【要】【收】【敛】【与】【下】【葬】，
【南】【婉】【在】【焦】【灼】，【郁】【庭】【深】【却】【刻】【意】【咳】【嗽】【了】【下】，【装】【得】【一】【副】【淡】【定】【从】【容】。 “【抱】【歉】，【陈】【虎】【先】【生】，【我】【的】【婉】【婉】【身】【体】【不】【好】，【不】【适】【合】【在】【你】【们】【身】【边】【住】【着】，【所】【以】【我】【合】【作】，【你】【得】【放】【了】【我】【家】【人】？” 【陈】【虎】【胡】【须】【在】【清】【风】【下】【颤】【动】，“【我】【说】，【这】【么】【柔】【弱】【的】【小】【姑】【娘】，【跟】【你】【一】【起】，【不】【更】【好】【照】【顾】【么】？” “【哦】。【你】【如】【果】【不】【介】【意】，【到】【时】【候】【我】【全】【程】【照】【顾】【婉】【婉】【的】【话】，【那】
【星】【辰】【被】【裘】【彭】【海】【盯】【得】【一】【愣】！ 【还】【是】【第】【一】【次】【看】【见】【裘】【彭】【海】【如】【此】【对】【自】【己】！ 【一】【丝】【嫉】【妒】【之】【情】【油】【然】【而】【生】，【却】【被】【星】【辰】【很】【好】【的】【掩】【饰】【过】【去】！ “【是】，【星】【辰】【明】【白】，【如】【今】【我】【们】【已】【经】【知】【道】【冷】【修】【的】【底】【细】，【那】【要】【不】【要】”【星】【辰】【做】【了】【一】【个】【抹】【脖】【子】【的】【动】【作】，【眼】【神】【中】【满】【是】【狠】【厉】【之】【色】！ 【裘】【彭】【海】【想】【了】【一】【下】【道】：“【暂】【时】【不】【用】【动】【他】，【一】【个】【将】【军】，【还】
【顾】【家】【别】【墅】。 【吃】【完】【早】【餐】【的】【祁】【严】【卿】【折】【着】【长】【腿】【看】【杂】【志】，【短】【短】【几】【行】【字】【看】【了】【有】【十】【几】【分】【钟】，【小】【个】【子】【女】【佣】【看】【在】【眼】【里】，【知】【道】【二】【公】【子】【才】【没】【有】【在】【看】【书】，【他】【是】【在】【等】【顾】【小】【姐】。 【听】【到】【一】【些】【淅】【淅】【沥】【沥】【的】【声】【音】，【祁】【严】【卿】【抬】【眸】【问】【站】【在】【一】【旁】【的】【小】【个】【子】【女】【佣】，“【下】【雨】【了】？” 【小】【个】【子】【女】【佣】【走】【到】【窗】【边】【看】【了】【看】，【回】【头】【对】【祁】【严】【卿】【说】，“【是】【的】。” 【祁】【严】【卿】【蹙】六盒宝典开奖结果今晚一【虽】【然】【这】【只】【巨】【鹰】【是】【一】【只】【成】【长】【进】【化】【期】【的】【黄】【金】【召】【唤】【兽】【胚】【子】，【但】【实】【际】【上】【刘】【易】【扬】【也】【只】【是】【稍】【微】【有】【一】【点】【点】【遗】【憾】，【随】【后】【就】【无】【所】【谓】【了】。 【先】【不】【说】【他】【的】【黑】【龙】【身】【为】【纯】【血】【龙】【族】，【实】【力】【本】【就】【是】【远】【超】【同】【阶】【的】【存】【在】，【关】【键】【是】【他】【的】【背】【包】【里】【可】【是】【还】【有】【着】【一】【枚】【神】【兽】【蛋】【的】，【虽】【说】【很】【有】【随】【机】【性】，【但】【终】【究】【是】【神】【兽】，【再】【差】【也】【不】【会】【弱】【到】【哪】【里】【去】，【按】【照】【这】【只】【蛋】【的】【情】【况】，【估】【计】【再】
【彼】【时】【还】【在】【正】【月】【之】【中】，【陈】【就】【学】【没】【有】【回】【乡】，【只】【在】【京】【都】【租】【赁】【的】【宅】【子】【里】【闲】【住】。 【他】【的】【妻】【儿】【俱】【已】【上】【京】，【父】【母】【又】【已】【谢】【世】。【醉】【里】【不】【知】【身】【是】【客】，【只】【把】【他】【乡】【当】【故】【乡】！ 【这】【日】，【陈】【就】【学】【正】【在】【书】【房】【里】【看】【书】，【只】【听】【得】【外】【头】【的】【家】【下】【人】【来】【报】：“【老】【爷】，【外】【头】【有】【个】【自】【称】【是】【顺】【来】【茶】【社】【的】【东】【家】，【商】【人】【模】【样】【的】【求】【见】。” 【顺】【来】【茶】【社】？ 【陈】【就】【学】【放】【下】【了】【手】【里】