Is white people stretching their ears cultural appropriation? (1 Viewer)

Glass Roads

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I started gauging my ears today because I've always wanted a couple big ass gauges in each ear, and I want to start making some glass ones. But I'm getting all bummed thinking that maybe that's cultural appropriation. What are yalls thoughts?
 
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roughdraft

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my best advice is to not do it - because whether or not anyone out there judges you for gauging your ears, you are already judging yourself for *maybe appropriating **a** culture* (?) so the truth is that you're setting yourself up for distraction and unhappiness over something superficial.
 

blank

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I think that if you have to ask other people, it's probably not big enough of a deal to warrant worrying about what other people think. A person viewing this as cultural appropriation would have to have a pretty myopic view of what culture is and how it functions. Just do whatever.

You shouldn't do it anyways though that shit's gross/begging for a padlock.
 

SlankyLanky

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not exactly what you asked, but my advice would be think for a minute or two before making decisions like that especially on yer face. i stretched my ears quite large when i was a teenager and within a year or two realized i didnt like the way they looked anymore and took them out. im nearly 33 now and still have what looks like little buttholes in my ears that will most likely never close up fully.

but no, i dont think stretching yer ears is cultural appropriation, but i also have traditional japanese artwork on my body so what the fuck do i know.
 

Matt Derrick

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I think the term 'cultural appropriation' gets confused with the 'evolution of cultures' if that makes sense. It's only cultural appropriation if it's exploitative of that culture and is ignorant of that culture's history.

I've never heard of stretching ears as cultural appropriation because I think most of us understand where that comes from and at least a little bit if it's history, unlike a white guy wearing an Indian head dress for halloween.
 

void gaze

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That’s a good question and I think the answer is yes/kinda. I’m a white male coded person who stretched my ears a long time ago and didn’t know anything about the cultural background of stretched piercings at the time aside from it was something I saw people with at hardcore shows. So I don’t want to be defensive here. I guess the answer is technically yes but as I understand it one of the big issues with cultural appropriation per se is that it amounts to rubbing it in people’s faces who are part of the culture but face discrimination issues when embracing it, for instance dreadlocks worn by black people can lead to them being profiled as criminals/dealers/‘shady looking’ etc, but white people who do it will more likely be considered cool. Or Arab people vs. white hipsters wearing keffiyehs, or wearing war bonnets at Coachella or depicting natives as sports mascots etc when they are sacred objects within a specific culture and many people find it really hurtful to see them displayed in this way.

I’m not really sure how much of this applies to stretched piercings though because its traditional forms are very rarely seen in many places. It’s also not quite the same as clothes, ornaments, hair or smaller diameter piercings which can all be removed more easily or even tattoos which can be covered, after a point it can’t really be undone. I think it’s also different whether your jewelry is in the style of some traditional culture or not. It’s also not even super specific to a given culture or part of the world as some people in traditional cultures on many continents have been known to stretch piercings.

Anyway if you’re just starting you have plenty of time not to do it, if it makes you uncomfortable. So in all I think it’s one of the least bad forms of what could be called cultural appropriation but it is not easy to reverse.
 

WanderLost

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I wouldnt worry about it. Its not like you have bad intent towards any culture that did it first. After all the definition of culture is: A shared way of doing things.

Cultures across the world borrow from eachother on all kinds of levels and its not necessarily bad. In America (or i guess probably most places) stretching your ears is more related to alt/punk fashion or lifestyle than it is to the people who started it. I think any reasonable person would see that you are not trying to make a statement about the original culture that it came from. After all we're all human, and we all share a way of doing things.
 

WanderLost

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Culture's a curious thing - especially for 'misfits' & 'outsiders' who've been excluded (or exclude themselves for whatever reason). In my experience & observation, stretched ears is mostly a cultural phenomenon endemic to white urban and suburban areas & usually a harbinger of gentrification
Well atleast its a way that white urban & suburban areas can know that theyre gonna be gentrified 😁
 

Matt Derrick

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You're right - just Venice, Echo Park, Silverlake, Huntington Park, San Francisco, Oakland, London, Paris & every other metro area I've ever lived and/or visited...
My point is that you're drawing the wrong correlation there. You might as well say kakis and flavored coffee are the root of gentrification. Those are symptoms, not causes.
 

Roxy

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Hey what about the many varieties of appearences of sub cultures that exist in america, ones who wear tattoos, and dress in black, and pierce their faces and wear dreads. People, i feel, yell cultural appropiatiion, but they do not respect the other cultures that exist amongst them. Cultural appropiation is normal, its a bi-product of freedom, its the freedom to say i like this, like ska-punk, like so may other things that exist in this world. This is why i kinda hate new liberals, constantly they try to restrict my freedom of choice, to say i like, and to say i love, and wear what i choose because i physically have the ability to do so. Constantly they ask me to care about people who dont give a shit about me. New cultures are born out of the ideas of old ones, and the new ideas of cultural appropriation can go fuck it self.


I also hate the term White, being used in sentences as a means of harming people. I do not think alot of people would understand me when i say this, but attacking a group of people, will bring further seperation, and cause further problems. I feel like now a days people are doing to "white" people what they once did to brown people. Not everyone is going to be like yeah your right we are the problem, i am now woke. Some people are gonna be like fuck you stop attacking me, . Instead of understanding all parties under the sun and finding a means to cooperate, the attacks will just cause more white nationalist groups to arise. I understand why, try living in a world where everyone is saying you and your privilige is the problem, being the simple and ignorant human creature humans tend to be, some will probably band together with people who dont attack them and attck the attackers.
 
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WanderLost

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View attachment 53871
Just as a robin on the lawn digging for grubs indicates the coming of spring, the onslaught/prevalence of ear-gages signalled the beginning of the end of affordable housing in the cities I referred to earlier.
Harbinger doesn't signify causation
The people who move into gentrified areas dont show up until after whole foods and starbucks do. If im not mistaken.
 
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coltsfoot

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To me cultural appropriation is about power dynamics. e.g. Do you come from a culture that has a history of oppressing the culture that you a taking from? Is your culture actively subjugating this other culture right now? What are you giving back to this culture that you are taking from?

Cultural mixing and syncretism are part of what has made life so rich and beautiful for thousands and thousands of years. Huge oppressive forces dominating others and stealing at will or forcing assimilation... not so nice...

I obviously dont know what your lineage is and I have no idea what cultures historically stretch their ears but maybe it's part of your ancestry? Or maybe ear gauging comes from so many different places all around the world that it feels ok? Whenever someone asks me if x is cultural appropriation or not, I usually offer that they do some investigation and decide for themselves because there's no universal answer to that question.

For better or for worse, the days when people in privileged positions could just do and say whatever they wanted without having to do some work and think about the consequences of their actions seem to be coming to an end. To me that's mostly a good thing and I appreciate ur care. cf


I started gauging my ears today because I've always wanted a couple big ass gauges in each ear, and I want to start making some glass ones. But I'm getting all bummed thinking that maybe that's cultural appropriation. What are yalls thoughts?
 

Stiv Rhodes

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Cultural appropriation happens in 2 phases. First, it's done by a counter culture seeking to distinguish themselves from the larger mainstream culture they come from. Then, it is gradually adoped by the mainstream culture simply because they come to like the asthetic of it. This does to the counter culture what was first done to the traditional culture: stripping their cultural signifiers of their meaning. I agree that ear stretching is a bit of a grey area, for reasons already mentioned, but with as many people who seemed to agree that cultural appropriation is no big deal, I think we should reflect on this point. The way a person looks to us, who gets dreadlocks done in a salon, is the way any white person wearing them looks to a person from a culture who wore them traditionally. Nobody is trying to deny you freedom of expression, they are asking that out of respect, you refrain from adopting asthetics that have special meaning to them which you are not a part of.
 

Roxy

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Cultural appropriation happens in 2 phases. First, it's done by a counter culture seeking to distinguish themselves from the larger mainstream culture they come from. Then, it is gradually adoped by the mainstream culture simply because they come to like the asthetic of it. This does to the counter culture what was first done to the traditional culture: stripping their cultural signifiers of their meaning. I agree that ear stretching is a bit of a grey area, for reasons already mentioned, but with as many people who seemed to agree that cultural appropriation is no big deal, I think we should reflect on this point. The way a person looks to us, who gets dreadlocks done in a salon, is the way any white person wearing them looks to a person from a culture who wore them traditionally. Nobody is trying to deny you freedom of expression, they are asking that out of respect, you refrain from adopting asthetics that have special meaning to them which you are not a part of.

Okay, like in the example of dread locks, i have "white" friends whose naturally curly hair happen to lock naturally. Being that that already occurs they may decide to adapt the dread look out of convenience. Say, someone whose has hair who naturally dreads did not dread their hair before because they thought of it as an inconvenience and not a style. Then this hypothetical person sees a Rasta (hypothetically) for the first time and decides hey i think i wanna do that with my hair, it would be easier than combing my dreads out. Obviously this person is not trying to harm anyone, yet i have heard stories of Rasta's punching dudes in the stomach for having dreads, and dreads for them is natural, not cultural but natural, even if it wasnt they can. Not all cultural appropriation situations are like this of course, but the nature of the human being exists here. The same human beings who create a culture, create sub cultures, borrow from other cultures, having respect for other cultures i get. Humans have just been doing this for so long, what once belonged to the Sumerians, now belongs to the Babylonians. We just live in a hyper sensitive culture, yet, this topic probably has always been sensitive. I think this is a topic on ethics, my ethics are culturaly abnormal, and i attack mental advances on my freedom , including ones that come from those who want some moral ethical idea out of me.

I am ranting, thinking and typing.
Sorry about my grammar.
 
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