About Juliet's Bindi....
I know the conversation surrounding Juliet’s wearing of the bindi has been a touchy subject for a lot of people, but in light of her recent tweet I just wanted to offer my two cents. Before I begin, I want to point out that those who claim that non-Indians who wear the bindi are taking part of cultural appropriation shouldn’t be harassed or blamed or anything just because Juliet found an article defending its use.
However, I do want to say that as someone who is South Asian and is a part of a culture that wears bindis often, I haven’t ever found Juliet–or other non-Asian girls–wearing a bindi to be offensive to me. What I do have an issue with, however, is the reason those who think it’s cultural appropriation use. I am Muslim. I am Bengali. I am neither Indian nor Hindu–but in my culture and country, wearing a bindi is extremely common. We wear them during weddings, outings, special events… anything fancy, really. It’s normal for us and if I were to wear my traditional clothes and put on a bindi no one would bat an eye at me.
Why? Because it looks normal on me.
But then, I’m not Hindu! Me wearing a bindi is cultural appropriation too, right? This is where I feel like the line blurs to the point where it seems a bit hypocritical–but perhaps that’s just my opinion. The reason I say this is because if you were to really talk to other South Asians, they would barley be able to tell you the real significance. People of all religious backgrounds in South Asia–may they be from Pakistan, India, or Bangladesh (like me)–wear decorative bindis simply as a fashion ornament.
Now, there IS a type of bindi that holds religious meaning–but form what I’ve seen, these types of bindis are not used at all outside of the Hindu religion. And Juliet definitely doesn’t, either. The bindi I’m talking about is the simple red dot, as well as the red marking that recedes into the hairline. We’re these types of bindis to be used by non-Hindus, I could defend the claim of cultural approbation.
But since the bindis Juliet (and others) wear in question aren’t of this variety, I believe it’s safe to say that said bindis are actually… decorative. And if they are decorative, it seems as if the religious background of those who wear them are irrelevant. Once again, leading back to my main point that there is no need to attack Juliet and others who wear fashion-related bindis for cultural appropriation.
This is simply my opinion and you’re free to disagree–in fact, I would love to talk to you about it! But I just wanted to offer what I had to say.