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23-09-2012
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On the second picture it's a burqa ... And she's wearing nothing under it ...
But on the first picture, it's not a burqa ! Might be a Niqab ... Or something similar to what certain Muslim women wears (I don't know it's name, but Sheikha Mozah wears it) and a veil on it ...

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24-09-2012
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^You are so right, I should have stated in the first picture she was wearing a Niqaab and in the second one it looks like she's wearing a form of a Burqa. There is definitely a difference between the two styles.

The thing that irks me about this it really looks like a publicity stunt. Maybe Lady Gaga originally had good intentions but it irritates me that she thought it would be a good idea to wear a Burqa and Niqaab in such a way. I guess it's the sexualizing of the pink burqa, that makes it a bad publicity stunt. It just the way she wore it, appearing to be nude underneath (though it looks like it was a bodysuit), that seems with odds with what burqa's stand for. And it feels like she's just saying, "I don't care what this item of clothing stands for, I'm going to wear it just because I can."

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Last edited by YoninahAliza; 24-09-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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24-09-2012
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^ oh only the very religious people would be offended I guess ...
You should see the lingerie shops in Muslim countries, it's very very very sexy ... I had the chance to visit one after the shop closed ... Well, let me tell you Lady Gaga is way prude ...

And you know some girls wear the veil sometimes only because they have no make-up on, or don't want to be bothered by their relatives if they hang with some boy they shouldn't hang with. So they wear a Niqab, With a black veil (it's very beautiful and sexy, IMO!) and they wear their secret shoes and bag, so nobody can recognize them ...
There are some things that seem to be unknown yet from these countries ... I wish people would go and visit more often the Middle East and Gulf region ... Because since the public space is controlled, a lot of things are secrets ... Like the gays ... Once I was at the hair salon, and a native was here with his boyfriend, doing his manicure and pedicure. I was with a friend from France who speaks arabic (but doesnt look like an arab) so he translated everything they were talking about. And well, they were a couple ! ... He was more queen than a gay from Chelsea ... Ahhahah... But these things don't go public, that's it ...

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24-09-2012
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I remember there being a negative reaction when a Rodarte collection featured art said to be inspired by aboriginal. I think this quote to some extent explains why in that instance, and in other instances, there was a large negative reaction:

Quote:
Originally Posted by models_vlada View Post
... the stealing of specific cultural elements by a dominant country from a poorer/weaker/different one ...
The idea of culture being marginalized is obviously problematic.

The trouble with arguing that it is thus wrong for westerners to use, say, aboriginal art, is that arguing against appropriate STILL marks their culture as marginal -- only now their marginality is evident in so far as they need protection, rather than because they are being stolen from.

I recognize the good intent behind a debate about the legitimacy of cultural appropriation, but often people's intent to empower the little guy merely ends up marginalizing him in a different way.

----

RE: western culture, it has always struck me as noteworthy that in Iran -- a theocracy -- the President nearly always wears a Western style suit, while the Supreme Leader almost never does. To me this is obviously not a matter of individual style, but rather a proxy for these leaders' differences -- and indeed, struggles for power -- in other arenas.

I bring this example up because I think it a) illuminates the culturally laden nature of the western-style suit b) highlights how idea of "cultural appropriation" fails to capture many dimensions of a situation in which real power and authority are at stake.

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16-10-2012
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Okay so I have to ask, and I know that I may be getting myself into hot water, but Lana Del Rey's music video for Ride is not only pretty racist but a good example of cultural appropriation gone wrong, right? What do you guys think? I mean the video itself actually wouldn't be half bad if she didn't have the scenes with her wearing a war bonnet. I just find it really problematic. And I know Lana isn't the only person in the music business to have appropriated items from different Native American cultures but she's certainly the most recent.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py_-3di1yx0

And to contrast Lana's video, I thought I'd share Nelly Furtado's video for Big Hoops, in which several Native dancers preform alongside her. I find this video to be really tastefully done and a great example of how a musician or those in the fashion industry can appreciate and incorporate another culture's heritage into their own work.

http://youtu.be/qjvXmpOTtdQ

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Last edited by YoninahAliza; 16-10-2012 at 08:01 PM. Reason: youtube video's wouldn't show up- links instead
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16-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoninahAliza View Post
^You are so right, I should have stated in the first picture she was wearing a Niqaab and in the second one it looks like she's wearing a form of a Burqa. There is definitely a difference between the two styles.

The thing that irks me about this it really looks like a publicity stunt. Maybe Lady Gaga originally had good intentions but it irritates me that she thought it would be a good idea to wear a Burqa and Niqaab in such a way. I guess it's the sexualizing of the pink burqa, that makes it a bad publicity stunt. It just the way she wore it, appearing to be nude underneath (though it looks like it was a bodysuit), that seems with odds with what burqa's stand for. And it feels like she's just saying, "I don't care what this item of clothing stands for, I'm going to wear it just because I can."
I'm no fan of Lady Gaga, but my assumption would be that she does care what the garment stands for, and that's why she's interested in wearing it.

It's not my culture, and I would not judge a woman for wearing a burqa, veil, or anything else--there are so many possible reasons for doing so. But as a feminist I reserve my right to have an opinion about how men require women to dress in any culture (and my opinion on men requiring women to dress any way at all in any culture at all is that it's not a good thing).

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16-10-2012
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I already posted my opinion on the warbonnet in Lana's video in that thread, but imo I wasn't really offended by her wearing one in the video and found it more symbolic than racist. Then again I don't follow the traditions of those who view such pieces as religious garb despite being a Native citizen myself. However I can understand Natives (especially those from the Plains tribes) that follow traditional beliefs to be offended by it than I would and they have a right to that opinion.

Speaking of Nelly's video, I think it would've been great if Lana had Natives in Ride instead of biker dudes. Would've made more sense to me and gave some recognition to Natives as well. But that's a lost opportunity so oh well.

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17-10-2012
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i usually have to tell other people to respect other people's culture, but there's something about a native american headdress that i find enticing, in a purely fashion way. as a look, it's just 'right'. it's hard to understand from a culturally sensitive POV, but maybe from a stylist POV when you feel like something feels 'right' for a look or a shot.

:/

it's a bit of a conflict with myself

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17-10-2012
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There's a lot of skill that goes into actually creating a headdress, getting the right shape and weaving in the feathers for the overall look. It's something that takes a lot of effort to put in. Of course there are those that just mass produce them with plastic wiring and fake feathers. That upset me more than a non-Native wearing one; they'll never know the talent it takes to create such items.

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17-10-2012
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^That's part of the problem though, isn't it, that artisans from within the community are not receiving credit/support for their creations and instead big companies (Urban Outfitters and F21 come to mind) are reproducing items like feather headdresses for way less and with less quality of work too. Plus on top of that companies are receiving all the credit for the designs, for things that they didn't create and really don't have any business selling. Like, if a person wants to wear something that's not regarded as a sacred item (like wearing moccasins could be alright) then the best thing that could be done would be to support a local artisan rather then a chain store. Give credit where credit is due.

I think part of the issue with Lana's video is not just because she's wearing a war bonnet but the location/situation in which she was filmed wearing it. It implies certain things about Native American's which seems to perpetuate stereotypes, especially if you know the statistics too (not sure if I can mention the data because it might be an "off-limits" topic on the forum but I think it's pretty easy to figure out what statistics I'm referring too). Plus, in part of her poem she states she "wants America to go back to the way it used to be," which coupled with this imagery does not send a good message.

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Last edited by YoninahAliza; 17-10-2012 at 11:12 PM.
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17-10-2012
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^ Go ahead with the statistics, please. Considering most of us aren't Americans and may not know what you're referring to (at least in my case), it may strengthen the point you're trying to make so it's not entirely off-topic.

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17-10-2012
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^I also meant to add that if say for example, someone wanted a pair of moccasins, Manitobah would be a good company to support because it is a Aboriginal company based in Canada. But Minnetonka isn't owned by anyone who is Native American, so personally I'd be less likely to support them.

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17-10-2012
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Statistically one in three Native American women have been raped or have experience attempted rape. The rate of sexual assault on Native American women is twice the national average of any other group of women. And so, the way I see it is (and a lot of other people view this issue too) that by portraying a prostitute, and then a prostitute wearing a war bonnet, Lana is continuing to perpetuate stereotypes like Native American's are "wild/free/easy/promiscuous" and whatnot. Plus there is a very high rate of suicide and alcoholism within the native population too, and so when she's waving around a gun and having people drink in the background it just adds to the issue. And while this part of the video may not be directly related to fashion her wearing a war bonnet while partying it up and waving a gun around, still contributes to part of the issue because it makes a whole group of people reduced to a stereotype. It continues to make it okay to embody the idea of what a "native is suppose to be like." This really wouldn't be much of an issue if Lana hadn't worn a war bonnet during these scenes but because she did, it just turned it into a whole different sort of story.

And while I absolutely adore fashion one issue I have is when I see designers/brands misuse a item of significance to a historically mistreated group of people, it just continues the mistreatment. It just seems so wrong to me. I'll be honest, cultural appropriation is something which I am continually intrigued by and struggle with, it's a love hate relationship for sure. And so I really appreciate that this forum was allowed to stay because it allows me to not only voice my ideas but to get feedback from other people on what they think about the matter.

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Last edited by YoninahAliza; 17-10-2012 at 11:59 PM.
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18-10-2012
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Thank you for elaborating more, Yoninah. Native American communities in the United States certainly experience a lot of the repercussions of deeply rooted segregation, which is shared with other groups in the rest of the country and continent (lack of access to education, family planning and other incentives of a healthier lifestyle just so they don't resort to things like alcohol).

My thoughts on this drag along a lot of cultural baggage, reason why I'm not sure it's even worth sharing. While in some cultures a platform known as popular culture is given responsibility for fomenting stereotypes, for me that's actually a platform of the government, the only group responsible for both the lack of assimilation through policies (aka. integration OR providing the means for them to reach a dignified lifestyle) and the lack of assimilation of the population that does subscribe completely to their capitalist system. A puppet vs. puppeteer non-dilemma for me.

That's partly the reason why I find the constant use of the term cultural appropriation a bit hard to adjust to. I also find it a bit discriminatory, I value the effort of wanting to create consciousness on the effects of misinterpreting or ridiculing or reducing to a cartoon a culture or traditions, I think it's necessary step, but you regulate it, I don't think you can execute it in a place as vast and new and complex as a country in North, Central or South America or even Australia (any newer nation) with that firm 'this isn't yours' 'handle with extreme care' 'only get near it if you're planning to interpret it by the book' demand and suggesting everything else was done with ill intent. We have societies identified with names that are barely 200/300 years old, with social movements (systems, migration, a need for unity) that crave for an identity, something you can claim as yours, that no longer requires you to refer to that country your grandparents or great grandparents came from. Perhaps my vision is too broad or relaxed or even cynical but cultural assimilation doesn't happen overnight, you need an introduction first, often a sugar-coated, easy on the eye introduction (which is when popular culture comes into the picture), supervised maybe, and I think that if you're going to integrate things and attach your entire collage of skin colors/languages/etc, you might as well do it by going back to the beginning of this land, slowly making symbols of 100% American life yours, making people feel like it's theirs even if their grandparents are from Asia or Eastern Europe or Africa. I'm not sure if this approach works in the United States (I'd say it IS working) but I think, as mentioned in the Dolce & Gabbana scandal thread, that it may be worth exploring with such a rich diversity, where the last thing you want is making any acknowledgement or use of an element of one of their many cultures more awkward than it already is. Understanding doesn't come right away unfortunately, but introduction is a start.

I found Lana's video beautiful, not one bit discriminatory, for me it's a celebration of that romanticised American dream, which Americans were fortunate enough to explore and ultimately market as part of their identity. Not to get too cheesy but whenever I'm out in the desert, or when I'd spend days in the Argentinian pampas, I start to imagine what it was like coming here with very little, seeing nothing but those nauseatingly huge landscapes, people obviously had needs but also quite a wild spirit to stay, a thirst of freedom to leave it all behind, which urbanization, passing generations or just years of building something solid took away.. most people don't want to go anywhere, even camping out scares them, which is kind of funny if you remember the drive of their ancestors. For me the video has a bit of that Paris, Texas melancholy, grabbing all these symbols of America and putting it into a realistic context where you know they're not ever going to happen, not for a very long time anyway, cause yeah love and freedom but you'll eventually join the current system where you're in or you're out (what America didn't use to be??) and grow debts and make a living. I also spot a reference, or just influence, of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, which is so beautiful.

I was happy to see someone so popular and commercial create something more thoughtful and bring that kind of writing/inspiration to younger audiences.

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23-10-2012
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As a southamerican/latinamerican, I can only voice my opinion from my point of view. I, like most costaricans, am quite mixed, I have african american blood, european and native american.

I too get offended sometimes but mostly because of the intention in some instances of cultura appropriation, to name it some way.

On some I get a much more relaxed approach and have a quite laissez-faire point of view.

If I go from the native point of view, we were wiped out by the spaniards, but my last name is very much spanish, as is my ascent (I think I worded that right, didnt I?). So to hate the spaniards is to hate a part of me.

On Oct 12th we used to celebrate Race day in my country, now its culture day, because there is ONLY ONE race: human.

We all come from the same ancestor.

And when it comes to fashion I love when people dettach symbolism from its context, like the japanese do, because with time it creates something new (Ganguro girls, Visual Kei, Lolitas, etc).

Im sorry, but Im up for diversity. ALWAYS.

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