We Can Wear Bindis, But You Can’t

As an Indian American who has spent the majority of her life in the “West” (ie North America and to a smaller extent, Western Europe), I’ve always noticed the commodification of cultures for societies that are based on consumer culture. The moment I noticed this was back in 1997. In high school, my friends took me to a No Doubt concert in Orange County, California. At the time, No Doubt’s GwenStefani was sporting bindis. So when I went to the concert, I wore one. Everyone at the concert was white; all the girls were wearing bindis . But they were looking at me in the most depreciating manner; I even heard a couple of comments about my skin color (I used to be very tan because I was a swimmer and water polo player) and that I “should go back.”

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