Kim Kardashian is no stranger to criticism from fans alike. But in the past few years, the reality TV star has also been hit with disparagement as she borrows styles, elements and statement pieces from a variety of cultures — and her newest image appropriating South Asian society is no different. two new snapshots posted to Instagram on Thursday night with the 38-year-old sporting a white, curve-hugging dress and the traditional Maang Tikka jewelry piece found within the Indian culture as part of a bride’s ensemble.
The piece of jewelry, worn by Kardashian, came under fire by several fans — especially those among the Indian community who found the behavior of her “stylizing” elements of ethnicity and culture as problematic, inferring such an implicit bias perpetuates partial attitudes, behaviors, and stereotypes.
“This is a cultural appropriation and it’s just not cute anymore Kimmie….,” one fan retorted. “Keep to your own and stop stealing others cultures and their ideas and making them your own.”
Another user chimed in, daring fans to argue with her. “Just because someone keeps doing something doesn’t make it right. For decades people (mainly white people) have stolen South Asian culture and rebranding it as their own commodity and aesthetic while we have been ridiculed for wearing our own clothing, jewelry and for practicing our traditions. Continue to tell me how I should feel, go ahead.”
“The only problem with this is Kim always seems to wear things many different cultures but knows nothing about those cultures,” another fan commented. “She wears them like a costume and like she makes them a thing. She is not influential in fashion, all she does is copy.”
While fans argued, one pointed out an aspect most relevant to her caption, which had fans understanding she was promoting a serious “Sunday Service Vibe.”
“Dunno why [you] needed to wear Indian head jewelry to a church thing but ok …” a user wrote.
This is obviously not the first time Kardashian has found herself at the center of critical attention with regards to appropriation. Last year, Kardashian rocked “Bo Derek braids,” a word she used to describe the Fulani style stemming from the Fula culture — known as the Sahel and West Africa’s largest ethnic group in the region.
“If you genuinely love something, then it’s what you should do. It’s appreciation,” she said at the time. “It’s one thing when people mock something and are negative. I’m clearly not being negative. Images mean a lot to me. I spend a lot of time on them.”
While such notions further compound patterns, many evaluating the latest situation surrounding Kardashian and not criticizing the symbolic imagery are most often unaware of the embedded form of prejudice saturated among certain communities used to justify appropriation against minorities.