There is a lot of debate online and offline about what cultural appropriation means and how it applies. One example from my own cultural background makes it really clear to me why it’s cultural appropriation.
For Native Americans, each feather of a headdress is awarded for a specific honour. That’s why the length of the headdress varies. Not everyone will get to wear one. It’s reserved for special individual who have numerous recognized achievement under their belt. It is also worn on special occasion.
Would you wear a Purple Heart medal if you didn’t earn it?
No, you wouldn’t. Headdress are sacred. They are not a Halloween costume or a fashion accessory. Wearing a headdress isn’t showing appreciation. It’s turning an object with special significance into a piece of everyday jewellery, because you think it looks good.
Just because an item is available for purchase, doesn’t mean you should be buying it. The same way our society is starting to think about pollution and how items are made, we should also think about whose culture is being wiped out. It makes me physically sick to my stomach when I see shops like amazon where you can easily purchase a native headdress. These stores should be ashamed.
My culture isn’t fashionable. Nobodies culture and history should ever be used with such disregard and disrespect.