As pop singer Selena Gomez wanted to incorporate a Hindu theme into her new song Come and Get It, she reasoned that the best way to celebrate this assertion would be to debut her composition with a badly executed Bollywood choreography. During her appearance, she unceremoniously donned a typical Hindu embellishment representing the 6th Chakra of this civilization (Sanchez). During the MTV Awards, she kept it on her brow. This adornment, also known as the Bindi, is worn on the forehead for religious purposes, and should not be put on loosely, or used to achieve seductive effects as is the norm with fashion accouterments, according to Rajan Zed who is an elder in the Society of Hinduism.
Ms. Gomez’s use of the Hindu Bindi is an example of an individual embracing a different culture from her own. Although there exist various reasonable explanations to tread carefully while donning ourselves, it is important to demystify the myth that appropriating cultural elements from other cultures is a problem. This kind of cultural borrowing is precisely the reason why we have New York Pizza or the Japanese Denim. Also, it is imperative to state that the West enjoys self-governing discourses, the calendar as well as mathematics as a result of such a borrowing.
In this day and age, appropriation, just like the concept of globalization, is not just unavoidable; it is also positive. Guarding cultures is the reason why there are a lot of boundaries, and it is important to minimize the extent to which cultures or subcultures are guarded, to preserve them for generations to come. Cultural exchange is a form of globalization and allows for an interchange of philosophies, styles or traditions that constitute the basis for a multicultural community.
All over the world, everyone is captivated by the culture of Native Americans. Many books have been published about this community by those who are not native themselves. A lot of claims have been made by the likes of James Ray regarding my culture, and one such claim is with regards to the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies. These ceremonies are sacred and are aimed at purifying an individual. However, there are those who are not natives but make use of these traditions to offer modern experiences that help clients have better clarity and vision.
Sweat Lodge ceremonies and practices are spiritual cleansing rituals done inside small lodges. Water is powered onto hot rocks and the steam created is used to cleanse individuals. I do not think appropriation of this practice would offend me in any way. I believe it is a way of sharing culture with those who are interested in it. However, it is important that those who choose to delve into the experiences of other cultures take the time to understand an item or a cultural practice and why that particular culture values it.
Indeed there have been incidences in which Sweat lodge ceremonies have led to death due to lack of understanding of our culture in a holistic manner. The quintessence of a connected society is diversity and variety as well as acceptance of those who show a genuine interest in other cultures and the rebuff of cultural bigotry. Appropriation of cultural practices are artifacts on the rise. However, this practice has been in place for a long time.
Sanchez, Elicia. Top 10 Instances Of Open And Unapologetic Celebrity Cultural Appropriation In 2013!. Autostraddle, 2017, https://www.autostraddle.com/top-ten-instances-of-open-and-unapologetic-celebrity-cultural-appropriation-in-2013-210371/.