LLer, music nerd, wild and crazy guy

 

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)

are you kidding me

(Source: kardashy)

theacademy:

Director John Waters was asked to do a public service announcement for theater owners. The topic: Please don’t smoke during the film. This was the PSA he shot.

facts-i-just-made-up:

Godzilla 2014 to be released in 2D Black and White
In a rare studio decision, Legendary Pictures has elected to scrap the 3D and color versions of the new Gareth Edwards film and release it only in 2D Black and White, to better resemble the original film.
As seen in this new screencap from the new film, the image quality is very different from what modern audiences expect. “It will be controversial, we know that for sure, but from an artistic standpoint we all know this is the right way to go,” said Warner Bros. spokesman and co-owner Brian Warner.
The decision to downgrade the audio to Monaural instead of Stereo is also a surprise, making Godzilla the first film in 49 years to be released with only a single audio track. The track will be added optically to the film release, another novelty and rarity in this day and age of digital release.
"Audiences will see cigarette burns once again," said the director of the small corner marks that signal reel changes. "We’re also not going to allow anyone under the age of 60 in the audiences to preserve the retro feel. Only those alive at the time of the original may see the film." This makes Godzilla 2014 the first film to use the MPAA’s new "NC-60" rating, which is expected to cover the upcoming X-Men film as well due to the extremely graphic sentinel sex scenes.
"You know what, nobody over 60 either," said the director, "Nobody can see it. Fuck all y’all."

facts-i-just-made-up:

Godzilla 2014 to be released in 2D Black and White

In a rare studio decision, Legendary Pictures has elected to scrap the 3D and color versions of the new Gareth Edwards film and release it only in 2D Black and White, to better resemble the original film.

As seen in this new screencap from the new film, the image quality is very different from what modern audiences expect. “It will be controversial, we know that for sure, but from an artistic standpoint we all know this is the right way to go,” said Warner Bros. spokesman and co-owner Brian Warner.

The decision to downgrade the audio to Monaural instead of Stereo is also a surprise, making Godzilla the first film in 49 years to be released with only a single audio track. The track will be added optically to the film release, another novelty and rarity in this day and age of digital release.

"Audiences will see cigarette burns once again," said the director of the small corner marks that signal reel changes. "We’re also not going to allow anyone under the age of 60 in the audiences to preserve the retro feel. Only those alive at the time of the original may see the film." This makes Godzilla 2014 the first film to use the MPAA’s new "NC-60" rating, which is expected to cover the upcoming X-Men film as well due to the extremely graphic sentinel sex scenes.

"You know what, nobody over 60 either," said the director, "Nobody can see it. Fuck all y’all."

thevenuvianprincess:

Fire is the element of power. The people of the Fire Nation have desire and will, and the energy and drive to achieve what they want.

Earth is the element of substance. The people of the Earth Kingdom are diverse and strong. They are persistent and enduring.

Air is the element of freedom. The Air Nomads detached themselves from worldly concerns, and they found peace and freedom. And they apparently had great senses of humor.

Water is the element of change. The people of the Water Tribes are capable of adapting to many things. They have a sense of community and love that holds them together through anything.

It is important to draw wisdom from different places. If you take it from only one place it become rigid and stale. Understanding others, the other elements, the other nations, will help you become whole. It is the combination of the four elements in one person that makes the Avatar so powerful. But it can make you more powerful too.