Amy Alkon fisks a recent Teen Vogue piece on soi-disant “cultural appropriation”:
Silly Teen Vogue-ers, Fashion *Is* Appropriation
This bit — from Teen Vogue — is hilariously sad and sadly hilarious:
In our new column Don’t Do It Girl, Jessica Andrews explores the cultural appropriation epidemic at Coachella.
EPIDEMIC! Like AIDS, Zika, or Ebola!
Fashion always has been about appropriation. Appropriating style and appropriating culture. Those lace-up-the-ankle sandals? Ancient Rome!
Yet, do you see Italian kids mewling that you stole their culture? Of course not, because Italians, generally speaking, are exuberant people who really know how to live life.
Meanwhile, back here in America…
The kids growing up now, especially in the United States, are the freest people in human history — both as individuals and through the technology that removes the drudgery that’s been a constant companion for humans throughout the ages.
Naturally, their response to all this unparalleled freedom is to try to control other people’s behavior.
Fashion policing, in this case. Here, from Andrews story on that EPIDEMIC of appreciation:
Even when people feign ignorance, there’s little excuse. In the past, I’ve worn a Pocahontas costume for Halloween. It’s a mistake I regret, and I’ll never do it again knowing how hurtful it is.
Oh, please. I grew up Jewish. If you pretend to be a character from Fiddler on the Roof, should I take to bed and cry for a few days?
With appropriation being such a huge conversation these days…
So much talk…so little reasoning
Like fashion, appropriative hairstyles are now ubiquitous at Coachella. Cornrows or box braids are not a “hot new festival trend”; black women have been wearing them for centuries. When outlets cover the hairstyle as if it started with Kylie Jenner, it’s not appreciation; it’s erasure. Those celebratory headlines are yet another reminder that black hairstyles are only acceptable when they’re removed from actual black people.
Do you need to be high to write for Teen Vogue? It’s a fucking hairstyle. Women wear it because they think it will look good on them. If they’re white with dark hair, they’re probably wrong (nothing like rows of scalpage showing through to make a woman’s head remind us of freshly plowed fields). Women with big honking faces like mine don’t look so hot in them, either.
Unbeknownst to some Coachella attendees, there’s a stigma associated with cornrows and braids when black people wear them.
Unbeknownst to a fucking lot of us, I’d guess.