"What makes the non-South Asian person’s use of the bindi problematic is the fact that a pop star like Selena Gomez wearing one is guaranteed to be better received than I would if I were to step out of the house rocking a dot on my forehead. On her, it’s a bold new look; on me, it’s a symbol of my failure to assimilate. On her, it’s unquestionably cool; on me, it’s yet another marker of my Otherness, another thing that makes me different from other American girls. If the use of the bindi by mainstream pop stars made it easier for South Asian women to wear it, I’d be all for its proliferation — but it doesn’t. They lend the bindi an aura of cool that a desi woman simply can’t compete with, often with the privilege of automatic acceptance in a society when many non-white women must fight for it."
Jaya Bedi, Beyond Bindis: Why Cultural Appropriation Matters (via sociophilia)
Alright. What annoys me about this is “non-South Asian”. If you’re gonna strip down a symbol and decide who can wear it or not, you have to realize that many of these things—in this case, the bindi—aren’t even “cultural”. They’re religious. So if you’re gonna go on about appropriation, you need to go ALL the way back to the source. Religion is the start, and then culture sort of absorbs religion, but just because you see a picture of a “south asian” person wearing a bindi doesn’t mean they’re hindu, and they too could be “appropriating” the shit out of it. This is such an annoying and problematic concept I wish it would go away.
Either you’re making useless generalizations or you actually follow the trail of what you’re saying back so far that it becomes obviously meaningless in the wild diaspora of cultural evolution.