“It is an outrage,” the effects of cultural appropriation.

More commonly people are becoming aware of what the meaning of ‘cultural appropriation’ is. However, this isn’t due to other cultures being portrayed in a positive manner by westerners, cultural appropriation is used in a negative light to describe their culture being ‘butchered’ by people who are unknowing to their insensitive antics. According to the you tuber ‘Feminist Fridays’ cultural appropriation is the term used to describe ‘taking something from a culture in which you do not belong and use it outside its cultural context. (marinashutup, 2015)

Cultural appropriation is becoming an issue primarily because celebrities are engaging in the act of appropriating another’s culture, and some sees it as disrespectful. It is potentially seen as negative by these said cultures, as it brings about potential stereotypes that are forced away so often – back into public view. Celebrities such as Katy Perry and Kylie Jenner have come under fire for these very issues such as Kylie Jenner wearing cornrows and being blasted for doing this by an African American teen actress for doing so, as she believed it to be disrespectful. (Blagrove, 2015)

It is often claimed by these appropriators that they were not intending to be offensive, rather that they were celebrating another culture by doing the appropriating. Others being simply unaware that their actions were offensive.

Cultural appropriation can also be brought about by transnational film. Transnational film is the production of movies having no ‘national’ brand, such as not being named an American film. The most popular of these transnational films are Bollywood films. Examples of these films are Babel (2006) and Bride and Prejudice. (2004) There is an exceeding volume of transnational film in the world, particularly the extensive output of Bollywood films emerging into the media and ‘threatening’ to over take Hollywood. Just like cultural appropriation, transnational films can be seen as a positive or negative. It educates the world and other ‘western’ societies on these cultures and what they may go through. Although, it brings about opportunity for western cultures to appropriate or imitate these characters, in a harmless or joking way in order to show ‘appreciation’ to the cultures. Though they may not mean wrong, it can be offensive and bring about new issues. Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010)

An example of Hollywood’s ‘wrongful’ appropriation of a culture is the movie ‘Aloha’ (2015) which was scrutinized by the Hawaiian natives for it’s use of the word as a title, without considering it’s meaning of value within their culture. Native Hawaiian and MSNBC host Janet Mock says the true meaning of the words is derived from two Hawaiian words, ‘alo’, which stands for the front of a person – what everyone sees. The ‘ha’ is out breath, and the word together symbolises the exchanging the breath of life. While not all Hawaiian’s agree this was offensive, Sony Pictures had spoken out about the issue saying, “Some have been quick to judge… Aloha respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people. (Nydailynews.com, 2015)

I agree and understand that in certain aspects, it can be seen as offensive for people to take something from one’s culture and use it without knowing it’s meaning. I feel as though it shouldn’t be reprimanded too harshly if the perpetrator was unaware of their doings and how if could affect others. On the other hand, I believe that if the person is well taught on these cultures and aware of the repercussions they could face when they are appropriating another culture, they should face the consequences.

Mock, Janet. ‘Aloha Movie & Hollywood’s Appropriation Of Hawaii | Janet Mock’. Janetmock.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

AJ+,. Bradley Cooper’s New Film ‘Aloha’ Accused Of Whitewashing. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.

Nydailynews.com,. ‘‘Aloha’ Movie Title Sparks Outrage Among Some Hawaiians’. N.p., 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.

Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010) ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, 6: 3, pp. 309-316.

Blagrove, Kadia. ‘Cultural Appropriation: It’s Not About Kylie Jenner’s Braids’. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Aug. 2015.

Aloha Image. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.

Kylie Jenner Called Out By Hunger Games Star. 2015. Web. 29 Aug. 2015.

Marinashutup (2015) What Is Cultural Appropriation? | Feminist Fridays. 2015. Web. 29 Aug. 2015.


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