Continuing to cry out cultural appropriation for something as simple as a hairstyle continues to divide us.
Marc Jacobs, a well-known fashion designer, was under fire by critics last week for cultural appropriation when he sent Caucasian models down his runway with fake dreads. Cultural appropriation is taking elements of one culture and using them in another and is often seen in a negative light.
Jacobs should have known better to have a variety of different models when it comes to skin tone. But when it comes to the hair of his models, maybe what he saw in his models having dreads was art, not necessarily cultural appropriation.
For me, hair is art and a way to appreciate another’s culture. According to dreadlocks.org, dreads originated from Jamaica and are continuing to grow into a popular hairstyle. So what’s the big deal with Caucasian women wearing dreads?
I have white friends who decided to try dreads, and they were frequently hit with the phrase “you must be a stoner.” Or they even gotten stares because white people typically don’t wear dreads. But they just liked the way dreads looked and were not trying to mock one’s culture.
If we bat our eyelashes when someone has dreads, then why don’t we do the same when someone wears a braid? Braids weren’t originated from the United States of America, yet it’s still a popular hairstyle for both white and colored women to wear, even for men as well.
Being angry over someone wearing dreads is like trying to compare the stereotype of how colored women usually don’t have straight hair because that is simply not true; many colored women have natural straight hair. While dreadlocks on most white women are not natural, do dreads have to be natural in order for them to not push the boundary of cultural appropriation?
If society truly believes certain hairstyles are cultural appropriation, we might as well get rid of hair salons and beauty schools.
I believe in cultural appropriation to an extent. It’s not right for someone to dress up as a Native American and pretend to be one, especially when he or she doesn’t know much about the culture. That’s ignorant. But we can’t compare a Halloween costume to a hairstyle.
There are quite a few things that apply to cultural appropriation, but hairstyles shouldn’t be one of them.