The Marc Jacobs Controversy

  Cultural appropriation is a hot button topic especially in the fashion industry. Appropriating other cultures in the name of "inspiration" is something we've seen happen time and time again. Remember when wearing a glittery and holographic bindi was a fashion accessory for all, when in reality it's a symbol of Hindu culture?

   Well the latest cultural appropriation controversy has occurred in the form of the pastel dreadlocks that adorned Marc Jacobs' latest show. The incident occurred on Instagram when Jacobs was accused of appropriation of dreadlocks and his response has sparked a much needed discussion. After being accused of appropriation Jacobs responded “And all who cry ‘cultural appropriation’ or whatever nonsense about any race of skin color wearing their hair in a particular style or manner – funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair. I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see color or race- I see people. I’m sorry to read that so many people are so narrow minded…Love is the answer. Appreciation of all and inspiration from anywhere is a beautiful thing. Think about it.”
    The social media clapback has been fierce and has resulted in a large range of multiple YouTube videos, trending topics on Twitter and a boycott of the Marc Jacobs brand.







   Marc Jacobs' response was defensive and dismissive to say the least. The fact that Jacobs brought up that women of color straighten their hair to defend his case was a bit stomach turning. Unfortunately, Jacobs' response was one that many shared. There are many people who don't see any issue of cultural appropriation that there's no possible backlash. The fact remains that many women of color with curly to coily hair straighten it due to assimilation in the workplace. Coily and kinky hair can be detrimental in the job search. Recently the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals defended a ruling from 2014 that claimed that racial discrimination had to be based on characteristics that didn't change and it was found that hair didn't qualify as "immutable". Black natural hair can also pose a threat to one's education as a school in Louisiana recently punished a Rastafarian student over dreadlocks.

     These individuals who don't see the problem in adorning themselves in someone else's culture are typically the people who have never faced the issues of someone else's culture. They don't see the problems because they've never been in the situation. They see things that inspire them, they see beauty, but they don't see the stigma surrounded by this beauty, because of their admiration.
 
      If you grow up your whole life loving curly hair and wanting curly hair. This mane of curls is amazing in your eyes and it can be hard for you to imagine there are people out there who hate curly hair and think it's ugly. Someday someone with naturally curly hair tells you that they face a lot of issues because of their hair and although you may admire their hair, there are many others who despise its texture, when this happens LISTEN. True admiration of a culture isn't just liking the aesthetic but also appreciating the people.  Marc Jacobs recently took to his Instagram after a few days and shared an apology after listening and hearing out from the people he is inspired by. So what's the next step in this cultural appropriation discussion? What do you think can be the next best solution to avoid conflict? Leave a comment below!

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