Another day, another Miley Cyrus controversy. While being one of the headliners at this past weekend’s DC Pride, Cyrus stepped on stage wearing a rainbow bindi, a cultural item worn by people who practice Hinduism. This sacred item has caused an uproar on social media, and have some fans citing cultural appropriation in her look.
As Cyrus’s look included various stick-on jewels rather than the traditional red bindi, some have defended her and said it’s not cultural appropriation. However, others still say that altering the bindi and turning it into a fashion accessory is an example of using a culture’s clothing and history as a costume, and is cultural appropriation.
While it’s doubtful that Cyrus’s intent was to hurt anyone, in order for us to be more inclusive, it’s important to remember that even some of the most classic fashion looks from the ’90s (which continues to have its moment) are mega appropriative.
With everything from Gwen Stefani’s bindi to Madonna’s “white geisha” look, the ’90s had some super problematic moments and it’s important to remember the difference between appreciation and appropriation. When you get invited to wear traditional clothing to a wedding or event, go for it! Buying moccasins from an Indigenous craftsperson? Money well spent. Dressing up by borrowing from another culture simply for a look? Don’t do it!
We can appreciate and enjoy other cultures while being respectful of them, and it’s always a good reminder that while our hearts are in the right place (as we’re sure Cyrus’s was), we can all make mistakes from time to time.
Have you ever worn something you later learned wasn’t so appropriate? Tell us @BritandCo!
(h/t Refinery29; photo via Ethan Miller/Getty)