ASOS removing bindis from sale shows the cultural appropriation trend has been taken too far

The internet has decided you can’t wear a bindi this Halloween

Last week two of everyone’s favourite things became incompatible – ASOS and bindis.

A spate of angry complaints lead to ASOS having to remove bindis from sale on their website. The complaints shame the marketing of the bindis, which were being sold in the Halloween section of the website, but the packaging and description made no suggestion towards wearing them as part of a costume. One angry tweeter said: 

After people on Twitter accused the brand of cultural appropriation, ASOS not only removed the bindis from the Halloween section, but also pulled them from the website all together.

It isn’t the first time the war on bindis has reared its head. Earlier this term wet SU officials in Manchester dampened everyone’s mood when they banned bindis from Pangaea festival. They said bindis can “cause offense”, because white girls wearing bindis counts as cultural appropriation and “perpetuates racism”. But what exactly is so offensive about celebrating attire from another culture?

Second year Medic and bindi-lover Pavel Sharma told The Tab: “I basically don’t have a problem with it. It would be cultural appropriation if the bindi was really religious or spiritual. It may have had a meaning in the past but nowadays not many people could tell you what it’s for. It’s turned into a fashion statement in India, so why not let the rest of the world copy? Jeans are American (I think) but everyone wears them so I just see it as another accessory but one which originated in South Asia.”

Pavel is right. Cultural appropriation is a big issue right now, but all of sudden it feels like it has become a buzzword for anything that comes from a different country that white girls couldn’t possibly understand. Bindis are the innocent, cheap fashion accessory embraced by girls (and boys) who just want to look good while they have a good time.  All ASOS have done here is recognise that girls don’t dress like scary characters anymore – it’s just not what Halloween is about. They wear wigs, glitter, unitards and anything that makes them look both fun and fit.

Now that ASOS aren’t selling bindis, where else will we be able to turn when we leave our Glasto prep too late? Nowhere else can give us the promise of bindis and next day delivery. Is the 2016 festival season going to be ruined by having to hide our bindis in the lids of our roll-on deodorant so the bindi police don’t find them when searching our bags? At this rate, perhaps there will be onsite bindi testing and anonymous bindi amnesty boxes. Frighteningly, these measures don’t seem that far away. You don’t have to be a bindi wearing, wooing, Red Stripe drinking festival goer to see that this is getting out of hand.

 

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