"Hey there :) Being a white person, i always felt like my opinion wasn't really relevant in cultural appropriation matters, so I was wondering what you, as a POC, thought of that : gallifreyanstars(.)tumblr(.)com/post/83511919377/a-white-girl-wore-a-bindi-at-coachella-and-then I think it's quite an interesting and valid point of view?"


Oh gods it’s from that utterly obtuse article.

I’m not just a person of colour anon, I am a desi and this issue directly affects me, the bindi is part of my culture and I am here, very ready to defend it. And I am so, so angry. 

The only valid point in that article is the bindi no longer really holds as much religious value because it’s now found in the form of fashion accessories. That’s true- a lot of desis do wear bindis as a more fashionable item now. They’re found in different colours and shapes and materials to complement your outfit. BUT we also wear different kinds of bindis and marks on our foreheads when we go to places of worship ie temples. Those marks have an incredible amount of religious significance, even if the jewelled fashionable ones do not. And to be honest, I don’t know who the heck filled out that survey she quoted because I certainly grew up with at least some knowledge of the bindi’s significance as a representation of the spiritual third eye. It’s also indicative of marriage status, incidentally. 

Anyway, if the bindi was just seen as some kind of fashion accessory now, you’d see us desi girls walking around wearing bindis with a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Yes, you might see that on the odd occasion at home, but on the most part we wear bindis with our own cultural clothing and therefore it is still intrinsically linked to our culture. 

So even if the bindi had zero religious significance, it still has cultural significance and may I remind everyone at this point that the offence is called cultural appropriation. Not religious appropriation.

Yes, the bindi has been transformed into a fashion accessory even in the motherland of India itself. Of course I know that, I come from India. That does not change the fact that me wearing a bindi is still less socially acceptable than some white hipster chick wearing a bindi. That does not change the fact I could be called a dothead and have eggs thrown at me for walking down a street wearing a bindi whereas a white girl would just be lauded as “cool”. That doesn’t change the fact that when I wear a bindi, it’s a sign of my failure to assimilate and when some white girl wears a bindi, it’s a symbol of her awesome hippy powers of appreciation. 

I hear there is a “dotbuster” gang in New Jersey. Do you think they target white girls wearing bindis? 

I’m sure that all desi people have different ideas about bindis and cultural appropriation. But one thing I’m sure we can all agree on, is that it’s an immense sign of white privilege to be able to wear a cultural symbol from a previously colonised area when you’re the same people who demonise desis for proudly wearing their own culture. 

Maybe that author thinks that hipster girls at Coachella really do understand the full weight of our culture. Maybe she really thinks that those girls understand what they’re doing and that they treat different cultures with respect. Whatever she’s thinking, I can’t profess to understand it. 

Maybe that author has never had their mother stop them from wearing their cultural clothing, because she’s afraid you’ll get attacked or harassed on the street. But I have. So forgive me for my rage. Forgive me for wanting to rip that bindi right off any non desi’s forehead. Forgive me for wanting to be possessive of my own culture, because I’ve been kept away from it for too long.

Bindis are mine, and when we’re all equal and I’m not demonised for being who I am, then maybe I’ll start being willing to share. 


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all boobs are good boobs

all stomachs are good stomachs

all thighs are good thighs 

all bodies are good bodies

yes yours, too, and don’t you forget it

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African Dashiki fashions, 1977.

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"Medusa" by Ronnie Ray Mendez for #TheGrotesque 

  • 4.5 x 4.5 inches
  • © 2014
  • Archival Ink on BFK Paper

Can not wait for my medusa tattoo

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