“Should I wear that?”

Personal Article


The resurfacing of Cultural Appropriation has given social media users the opportunity to take initiative and protect their culture, but are some taking things too far?


by Vivega Saravana Prabhu

Along with recent BLM protests and Shein outrages, the topic of Cultural Appropriation has once again resurfaced. People on social media have started to criticize and “cancel” celebrities, models, and influencers for alleged cultural appropriation.


There are some people that do need to be called out for appropriating other cultures for personal benefits. However, some individuals have started canceling others to the extreme, getting easily offended by and accusing others’ gestures and attire in the name of cultural appropriation.


So how should people handle this issue? Can all circumstances be considered offensive? Or is the internet taking it out of hand? Here’s where the Trilemma is presented: When does cultural appropriation need to be taken seriously? When is it taken too seriously? What’s the neutral stance?


For those of you who might not know: according to dictionary.com, cultural appropriation, or cultural misappropriation, “ the adoption or co-opting, usually without acknowledgment, of cultural identity markers associated with or originating in minority communities by people or communities with a relatively privileged status.”


When the Internet NEEDS to call out Cultural Appropriation:


There are some people who might not consider cultural appropriation to be a problematic issue, but here is what is happening right now that shows otherwise (these are just a few of the many examples of cultural appropriation).

Some parts of the fashion industry have started stealing and altering cultural clothing. Recently the fashion brand, Shein, has drawn a lot of attention for appropriating different cultures.


They have taken multiple cultural attires and completely changed the names and didn’t

An Instagram Story blasting Shein

even use a model of that appropriate ethnicity. They also have borrowed Indian traditional clothes, rebranding them as “tribal wear”. As an Indian, seeing my culture getting manipulated and whitewashed aggravates me, and I can relate to people of other cultures who feel the same way.


Furthermore, western clothing brands are not only borrowing

A traditional Cheongsam

other cultural clothing but are sexualizing them as well. Cheongsam, a symbol of Chinese culture, is usually floor-length or knee-length dress that sometimes has a slit up to the lower thigh. However, this elegant kind of clothing has been altered in a sexualizing manner by the fashion industry, being portrayed as a