"I think this will inspire others to embrace new cultures and have good experiences."
Reality TV star Farrah Abraham has hit the headlines with her choice of attire for the MTV Movie Awards 2017.
Opting for an eye-catching style, Farrah decided to create a Bollywood-inspired look, complete with a bindi and mehndi on her hands.
However, this has created a huge furore over on Twitter, as many accused her of cultural appropriation. Yet the star appears unfazed with the harsh comments.
Farrah Abraham arrived on the red carpet for the MTV Movie Awards, which took place on 7th May 2017. Going for a look inspired by Indian fashion and Bollywood glamour, the star wore a bright pink and shimmering gold lengha.
She completed her Desi look with bejewelled maang tikka on her head, a bindi and mehndi designs on her hands.
However, despite how Farrah Abraham appeared, many have criticised her look. On social media, such as Twitter, many have accused the star of cultural appropriation, as Farrah isn’t from Indian heritage.
Farrah Abraham claimed she "wanted to bring culture to the red carpet." If so, bring your own culture, not someone else's.
— Desi Girl Problems (@My_DesiGirl) May 8, 2017
This harks back to a similar incident Selena Gomez found herself in 2013. For that year’s MTV Movie Awards, she had sported a bindi on her forehead. This also prompted some backlash of a similar nature.
As the bindi and mehndi contain huge significance to India, particularly Indian marriages, many have called for Farrah to apologise. However, it appears the star, who DESIblitz has interviewed before, is far from an apologising mood. The star explained how the lengha made her feel “freaking amazing, Bollywood and sexy!”
Speaking to TooFab, Farrah Abraham said: “I think this will inspire others to embrace new cultures and have good experiences.”
Through the last couple of years, more and more stars have been criticised for cultural appropriation. In particular, many who have worn Indian fashion have been painted with this label. However, Hollywood stars have had a long history of wearing Indian clothes. This isn’t something new.
But it seems in today’s world, many feel the religious or cultural significance behind these items holds more importance. Many now believe they should be respected, rather than being turned into fashion statements.
However, this could actually affect diversity. With such restrictions in place, many may not dare wear such potentially controversial outfits, jewellery, etc. This could potentially lead to some cultures not getting the kind of exposure they deserve.
Meanwhile, in Bollywood (and in India generally), they have celebrated other cultures, particularly Middle-Eastern culture. Which Farrah does have links to, as her father has Syrian ancestry.
Therefore, could the idea of cultural appropriation be dangerous to culture as a whole? Or could it help improve global awareness of different kinds of heritage?
It seems this debate will not come to an easy conclusion anytime soon.