Sorry, but tracksuits and hoop earrings are not cultural appropriation
This is getting ridiculous now
Being a student at uni comes with many different challenges: uni deadlines, living on your own without mummy to do your washing for the first time ever, learning how to cook something other than pot noodles, and dealing with a housemate who won't stop talking about his fucking missing milk. The biggest challenge? Trying to wear literally anything without someone criticising you for cultural appropriation. The latest one? Hoop earrings and tracksuits. Because apparently nothing is sacred anymore.
Obviously, I understand that there are a lot of things that certain demographics shouldn't wear, because of the connotations behind them. White people, for instance, shouldn't have their hair in dreadlocks, or use bindis as a fashion statement, just like middle class students and above shouldn't really host a "chav" social. It's offensive, and it perpetuates white privilege, amongst a whole host of other reasons.
But far too often nowadays people are being dragged for culturally appropriating pretty much anything – such as hoop earrings, or tracksuits. Last week, Vice published an article entitled "Hoop earrings are my culture, not your trend", and it's safe to say it's not been received all that well. Namely, because in it, the writer argues "Hoops are worn by minorities as symbols of resistance, and strength". Which, yes, is almost definitely true, but I'm pretty sure I speak for most women when I say that we all wear hoops as a symbol of resistance – against the patriarchy. This isn't just a minority fight. Women everywhere are branded in a certain way when they're seen wearing hoop earrings, and the bigger the hoop the worse it can get.
That's why, for me at least, seeing this new trend of women wearing what the fuck they like and sticking two fingers up at any guy who tries to tell them they shouldn't, or they look trampy, or slutty, or whatever, isn't something that should be seen as insulting. It should be seen as empowering as fuck.
The same can pretty much be said about tracksuits. Originally designed to be used as sportswear, they're now worn as leisurewear by pretty much everyone. And whether you live in a big country manor, or a council house in the middle of London, you wear one to the local pub, or the shop, and you're going to get people passing judgement, simply because tracksuits are seen as very casual items of clothing. It's the same as going to the shop in your pyjamas. Sure, there's connotations of working class culture surrounding tracksuits, but that doesn't mean that by wearing one you're appropriating that culture. In fact, if you're appropriating any culture it's sports. Because, hey, that's what they were originally used and intended for. But an athlete coming up to you on the street and demanding you take it off because you're appropriating their culture sounds ridiculous, no?
Cultural appropriation is definitely, unequivocally a thing. No one is disputing that. But we can't just take every single item of clothing and whittle it down to some small little detail that people can take offence over – because they will. You're inviting in disparity, and stereotyping, and discrimination in a world that is already full of it, and causing tensions where they doesn't need to be any.
Think of it this way: imagine if all the royal families banded together and decided that no one was allowed to wear princess/prince costumes anymore because it appropriates their culture. Or cheerleading costumes, because it appropriates the cheer culture. Or jeans, because it appropriates the culture of cowboys and miners. The list is endless, and unnecessary, because if people started doing that there would be riots about how ridiculously "PC" everything has become.
So maybe, just maybe, we can stop this here, now, and people can stop trying to make everything into a fight over who's more entitled to be offended over something so insignificant. It's just not fucking worth it.