My bindis came today!
I’d like to have my 2 pennies worth here. I’m white, female, I’m from the UK. My heritage is mostly Scottish and northern European. I have never been to Asia nor do I have any relatives from there. But this picture is of me.
I realise why these 2 blogs have been linked to this image. However I, as a ’white girl’, would like to give my own personal reasons for wearing a bindi on occasions, I think these reason are shared with many people, like me, who are not a part of the cultures who traditionally wear a bindi. My aim is to not to offend but to defend. It is simply my point of view which I would like to express, as I pride myself on being an open minded person who strongly believes in equality.
Firstly I don’t believe that Cultural Appropriation is always a negative thing. I appreciate that there are some people who strongly believe in preserving culture, and that’s a good thing but it doesn’t mean you can’t share.Generally in this day and age, particularly in countries like the United Kingdom and The United States of America, culture is a living, breathing, fluid entity. With growing integration and acceptance of the worlds cultures, boundaries are blurring. If everybody kept their culture to themselves, what woud our science be like? what about our art? what would our understanding of each other be like? without cultural appropriation we wouldn’t have our numerical system, no tea!, no blues music, no ice cream, no tikka masala! merging of ideas gives rise to the new.
Symbols can carry strong messages and run deep with meaning. However every single symbol is subject to interpretation to the indevidual and to the culture in which it is expressed. To me personaly, and I feel this is to many also, wearing a bindi is a symbol of Adoration and acceptance of Asian culture and art. Anybody who knows me personally will know, that for the last year and a half now, I am rarely seen without henna patterns decorating at least one part of my body at a time, I know many other ‘white’ people, who do this and never has anyone suggested to me it could be seen as culturally inappropriate. In fact I often am complimented on my hennas by by people for whom it is a cultural thing, as opposed to hobby. Also yoga and a belief in Chakras are a large part of my everyday life, as for many years now, I have been using yoga techniques to help myself to overcome depression, OCD and anxiety and also to generally enrich my spiritual wellbeing. I feel I have as much right as anyone to display this symbol of peace, happiness, wisdom and calm on my face.
I understand that the changing meaning of the bindi is a topic of fierce debate at the moment however, Like many religious symbols before it the meaning is changing for some people who choose to express it. For example you no longer have to be a practicing Christian to wear a crucifix. They have been incorporated into fashion as an art form and are worn by many to express an appreciation for Christian religious art and the notion of acceptance and forgiveness, the original meanings of the symbol. Are people offended by the work of Greyson Perry? no because it’s beautiful and expands our minds by merging our cultures.
I am deeply sympathetic to anyone who is offended by people like me wearing a bindi. However I reserve the right to wear one. As the fashion statement is more than just superficial. Even if it means something different to another person it means something to me and I reserve the right to express that as an individual.
As I said this is my opinion. I don’t feel it is unreasonable so if you do disagree please keep it to yourself, or blog is with the tag ‘bindi’ and please don’t direct it at me personally.
Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this
Finer Than Dandy X
PS.youarenotdesi I don’t appreciate you searching the tag “bindi” and putting any caucasian person on the first page on your “Wall of Shame”. You know nothing about the motivations of these people who have as much right to expression as anyone else. And as I said, it’s not just about “looking cute”
You’re not appreciating my culture at all by wearing a bindi. In fact, you’re doing the exact opposite. You’re making my culture out to be a prop bag. I don’t care what you steal from my culture and try to claim as your own. The bottom line is that none of it belongs to you and therefore, you shouldn’t be having no claim to it. You can try as much as you want to call yourself an appreciator but all you are is a appropriator. You cannot automatically become Desi just because you like my culture.
You say that your friends compliment you. Well, that’s where your white privilege shows. South Asians do not get complimented. We get insulted. We get spit at. We get called names and sometimes, we are even refused services simply for being apart of my culture.
You want to defend my culture? How about you leave that to me for doing it myself? If your bloody ancestors didn’t try to make my people out to be lower, I wouldn’t even have to worry about defending it because it would accepted. You’re white, not Desi. You have no opinion when it comes to the appropriation of Desi culture. Also, if you’re not Desi, you do not get to decide if cultural appropriation of South Asian culture is negative or positive.
You claim to have sympathy but you have no compassion whatsoever for your actions as you see nothing wrong with it. You seem to forget that a bindi is not required for doing yoga and trying to open up your chakras. If you’re so hell bent on opening it up, why bother covering it with a bindi?
You claim to reserve the right to wear a bindi but what you’re really reserving is the right to be a racist. You want me to stay out of the bindi tag but you forgot so easily that I’m Desi and therefore that tag is part of my culture. I go to that tag to see what’s going on with my fellow Desis. I go to that tag to see beautiful Desis being proud as fuck of their culture. I do not go in that tag to see your appropriative ass. I do not go in the bindi tag to hunt your ass down. You tagged yourself in that tag and I track it. How dare you tell me to leave that tag because I called you out on your shit? How dare you tell me to leave my culture so that you can continue to live in your fantasy world where appropriation harms no one. if anything, it should be you who should leave the tag, not me.
P.S you little appropriative girl, if you’re not from a certain culture and you wear something that is symbolic to that culture, you’re appropriating. Dry your white tears and educate yourself. I’m tired of having to sugar coat everything for you people in order to make you understand.