*image is from Pinterest- not my own*
Hope you are all feeling gooooooooooood.
So, this is the second post in the my cultural appropriation series (first one was on the bindi). I was going through my blog posts last week (as you do), and I saw that I haven’t written anything about henna.
Before I actually start, I just want to make a little note- I am not at all saying that I don’t like the fact that other people wear henna. As I will explain later, my issue is when people basically change its purpose.
I know this topic, and cultural appropriation in general, can cause a lot of divided opinions and friction, but everybody is free to have their own opinion and this is mine. If you do have a differing opinion, I’d love for you to share it in the comments section below- I think it would be great to know your thought process and I think it’s important to understand where other people are coming from.
Henna/Mehndi, for me, brings back so many happy memories from my childhood, like when I was younger (and still now) I remember my sister doing my henna the night before Eid, and feeling so excited. Mehndi, for me is just associated with lots of happy times.
My friend and I brought in henna for our charity week a few years ago to help raise money- we set up a stall and people could pay for designs on their hands. I gave some other people the henna cones because I actually suck at doing henna designs, and I came back at the end of lunch to see how much money had been made. I saw barely any henna designs. People had just taken the cones and had written ‘I love bastille’ and peace signs and emojis all down their arms. That wasn’t cultural appreciation- that is appropriation. Seeing everybody use the henna like that was sad for me because we wanted to share a special part of our culture, and then people went and changed it.
It’s things like this that cause me to become vary wary about all this peace and love and sharing cultures. I think that the majority of people are just curious and want to enjoy other cultures and will treat them with respect, and I love that. But, it’s the kind of people that I’ve mentioned above that make me cautious. I think sometimes it’s just uncomfortable to see parts of your culture become a fashion trend.
I’m not really sure what the message of this post is, but I guess I’m just trying to explain my thought process, because I feel like sometimes people are quick to assume that I’m just this bitter person who dislikes anybody that tries to enjoy my culture. Obviously, that isn’t the case. If you are interested and like certain aspects of a culture, I think you are well within your right to explore and enjoy it. I just don’t like it when people try to change the actual purpose of these things (henna, bindis) for their own benefit. Do you agree/ disagree? Remember to put any opinions down below!