So, what I have seen a lot growing up and around me lately is women having chopsticks in their hair. Apparently, it’s a trend…anyhow I’m not sure whether to be amused or annoyed for the cultural appropriation that is inherent in this act.
As a Chinese-American woman, I use chopsticks to eat, as do Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese and other Asian ethnic groups I have not named.
So it is amusing to see chopsticks in someone’s hair, however the times I have seen it happen, it has always been a White, or White-looking person with the food apparatus in their hair. I can easily imagine the giggles and looks the chopstick-wearer will receive walking down a street in NYC’s Chinatown or in a Chinese restaurant. I smile slyly because it is just that: funny. I suppose the Western equivalent of the chopstick “trend” phenomenon would be putting a fork, spoon or other eating utensil in one’s hair.
That said, I will address the not-so-funny aspects of this so called trend. It’s called cultural appropriation, which happens when a person who is not a member of an ethnic group tries to adopt certain things from another culture and use it however they wish, disregarding the cultural value and purpose of item X. For our purposes, it is chopsticks.
Here are some fine examples of cultural appropriation, courtesy of Tumblr:
A definition of cultural appropriation, as opposed to cultural exchange:
Have a fine day, and please don’t put chopsticks in your hair unless you want to be laughed at, or more importantly appropriate someone’s culture.