The Northern Light

Cultures as Costumes

Megna Joshi, Website Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Halloween and costume parties are a great way to dress up as a favorite character and pretend to be a different person. At the same time, it can be seen as offensive to certain cultures because people tend to use traditional dresses as “costumes” for Halloween. While this may upset some people, I strongly believe that if done in the right way, cultures can be celebrated through dressing up in traditional clothing. I think it is more than important to teach people a traditional dress and the background behind it rather than shutting them down by calling it “appropriation.” It is hard to differentiate what motive someone has when dressing up a certain way, but most of the time I believe it is not malicious.

Olivia posing in a traditional Indian clothing alongside her friend also dressed up in traditional Indian clothing. Photo by Olivia Hamlyn.

This is because in many cases, people dress up to embrace the culture rather than disgrace it. Personally, because I come from a Nepali background, seeing people in saris makes me feel like they are celebrating my culture and it makes me feel happy to see them learning about new things rather than being ignorant and pushing them away. For example, a few months ago my friend that lives in Manchester, England wanted to dress up in traditional clothing in order to learn about Indian culture. Her name is Olivia Hamlyn (pictured below) and she dressed up in order to learn and appreciate rather than degrade. Hamlyn says, “I love dressing up in different traditional clothing to learn about the culture and get outside of my comfort zone.”

I do believe, however, that dressing up in a certain culture to discriminate against or make fun of that culture is wrong and unjustified. It is hard to tell if someone dresses up in a certain costume that they are doing it for the right reasons or not. A popular saying that has been floating around the internet for some time now is, “my culture is not a costume.” This can be taken both ways, but personally I think that if someone is able to tastefully dress up in the clothes of a  certain culture without it being offensive then it is completely justified.

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    Sorry Boy Scouts, but the Girl Scouts don’t need you

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    Rumors should not be a normalized part of high school culture

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    The current homework load is not reasonable

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    School lunches taste like cardboard, barely have more nutrition

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    Underclassmen should be allowed to go off campus for lunch

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    Never underestimate the power of friendship in high school

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    Standardized tests are overvalued by colleges

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    The US needs to end their harsh attitudes toward immigration

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    Students, sleep, and studying: a questionable combination

  • Cultures as Costumes

    All

    SSR shouldn’t be a required part of seminar

The student news site of Portage Northern High School
Cultures as Costumes