A Bindi is Not a Costume.

If you haven’t heard yet, Selena Gomez wore a bindi with her costume on the MTV music awards. And to Ellen. And then again to Dancing With The Stars.

“Selena Gomez is being criticized as culturally insensitive after she donned a Hindu religious ornament during a recent performance. The bindi has landed Gomez in hot water with Hindu leaders at the Universal Society of Hinduism who want her to apologize for wearing the religious adornment.”

Yes, it is a religious symbol. But, no, that does not mean that Hindus who understand the meaning of the bindi need to be at a religious ceremony to wear one. The bindi is both a cultural and religious symbol.

Analogy time. Any of my Muslim sisters out there who wear hijab on the regular? Of course you know there are many different fabrics, designs, colors, and embroidery for different occasions/events. Same goes for the bindi. This does not negate or diminish the significance of the bindi or hijab.

For those who understand the significance of the bindi, which is not simply understood by skimming a Wikipedia post, there are subtle nuances to what kind of bindi an older, married woman may wear to an arangetram and what kind of bindi a teenager may wear to a puja. Oh, did I lose you there? Please let that be your signal that you probably shouldn’t be wearing a bindi.

(If you do not identify as native american please, say no.)

Extra Reading:

This article put a bee in my bonnet

This one was lukewarm at best
“I always say the line where an homage becomes a really shitty cultural appropriation is when they use religious symbols. So moccasin, ok; war bonnet, hell no. Sari, ok; bindi, hell no. Come on people, it is not that hard.”
(My jury is still out on this user comment, though I’m leaning towards no.)

But this one made it ALL BETTER 🙂 #goldilocks

Oh, and this one.
“And this consumer culture of consuming other cultures is not confined within the boundaries of the West.”


About modgepodgefeminism

feminist of color. social justice activist. dog lover. horror movie connoisseur. volunteer. radical liberal. earth warrior. avid sandal wearer.

3 responses to “A Bindi is Not a Costume.

  1. giabibble

    Sonalee this is fantastic xx

  2. Pingback: Is ‘color throw’ cultural theft? | modgepodgefeminism.

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