The topic I want to focus on today has gained quite a bit of airtime in the media lately: Cultural Appropriation.
It’s pretty safe to say that we now live in a generation of total wusses. I’m completely confident in that fact because nowadays it is virtually impossible to do something that doesn’t have the potential to ‘offend’ someone or ‘hurt someone’s feelings’.
To get it out of the way…
I’d firstly like to state that I am a firm believer of full equality for all, whether they be gay, straight, white, black, rainbow coloured unicorns or sparkle sneezing leprechauns but in my opinion in order for there to be true equality, culture; race and sexuality needs to become firstly, talked about and celebrated and secondly NOT AN ISSUE.
The issues are real, but have we gone too far?
Somewhere along the line, we have strayed from fighting for equality to being so totally offended about everything and anything that across any talk of race, culture and sexuality there is thick red tape followed by a road of eggshells and invisible tripwire laser beams.
My belief is that if you want whatever it is that you believe defines you to be equal to all others and categorised as ‘normal’ then you need to start treating that defining feature as normal yourself. That said, I absolutely understand that there is a deep and terrifying issue in this world with regards to people’s races, cultures and sexualities but my point is that as much as it is necessary to fight for what most certainly is your right: equality, it is also necessary to start with yourself and be proud of who you are and not get so damn offended over the smallest of things because that my dear is not helping your fight.
The Moana story…
Okay, so now that little part is out of the way I really do want to talk about cultural appropriation and why this has to be quite honest, boiled my piss.
A little girl wanted to dress as the Disney character Moana for Halloween, the mother then decided that this was ‘inappropriate’ because someone may be ‘offended’. Seriously guys? How can anyone win?
Let’s put it this way, a Polynesian child decides that she wants to dress as Pocahontas or Cinderella, are we now to tell that child no because those Disney princesses are not part of her culture?
I honestly find the fact that this debate is even happening really upsetting because this to me has just set us back years in our fight for equality.
This debate is basically stating that because of your colour/culture you are restricted to only being allowed to express yourself and your love for something as long as it is in line with what society deems ‘suitable’.
If you are black then sorry they’ll be no Cinderella outfits for you. If you are white, again we are sorry but Pocahontas is big fat NO. Terribly sorry little Sammy, your hair is brown and you’re not Scottish so you definitely can’t dress as Merida from Brave.
Different cultures should be celebrated!
I believe that the key point that people seem to be missing in this debate is that creating main characters from different cultures is meant to educate children, it’s showing that the blonde haired and blue eyed white girl isn’t the only one who can be incredible, brave or be a princess. To me, it’s teaching children that they can only admire and want to be the Disney character that most looks like them rather than supporting their acceptance and interest in other cultures.
I’ll end this post with this final statement.
Different cultures should be celebrated. If everyone was the same it would be pretty damn boring. If your child is not Polynesian but wants to dress up and admire Moana, is black and wants to dress as Merida or white and wants to be Tiana then you should be proud because your child is not swayed by the cultural difference or the difference in skin colour and instead has admiration for the Disney heroin/hero that he/she is not stereotypically ‘meant’ to admire.
What do you think?
This is definitely a debatable topic and one with so many different viewpoints. Have we gone too far with cultural appropriation?
We’d love to hear your thoughts so comment below.
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