A Utah high school Senior created a great debate of cultural appropriation on Twitter after posting a picture in her prom dress.
Keziah Daum wore a form-fitting traditional Chinese dress known as the qipao. She found this dress when browsing a vintage store in Salt Lake City. Daum is not Chinese; however, she told The Washington Post that she wanted a stand-out dress, “something that would be more unique and bold and had some sort of meaning to it.”
Daum found this dress to be a perfect fit. She said, the dress “really gave me a sense of appreciation and admiration for other cultures and their beauty.”
On the Sunday after the dance, Daum posted photos alongside many of her friends in her prom dress. Instantly, she elicited a huge response from other users.
Jeremey Lam tweeted, “My culture is NOT your …. prom dress.” Lam also wrote “I’m proud of my culture, including the extreme barriers marginalized people within that culture have had to overcome those obstacles. For it to simply be subject to American consumerism and cater to a white audience, is parallel to colonial ideology.”
Many other users have also accused Daum of cultural appropriation, sharing the tweet over 42,000 times.
One user wrote, “You just don’t wear it if ur not chinese … it’s not something to play dress up with.”
Daum responded to the Tweets by saying, “I don’t see the big deal of me wearing a gorgeous dress I found for my last prom. If anything, I’m showing my appreciation to other cultures and I didn’t intend to make anyone think that I’m trying to be racist. It’s just a dress.”
Many users also showed their support for Daum including those identifying as Asian American.
I think you look stunning Keziah Daum in Qi Pao Dress 🙂 I’m from China, I have seen so many western people wearing Chinese dress… im so sorry that you have been accused by someone who doesn’t even have a Chinese name ..same time I’m so happy that you did wearing it#Keziah Daum
— Chelsea Qu (@TheChelseaQu) May 1, 2018
Keziah Daum who wore that Chinese dress to the prom the other day has the right to wear it. That's not racist, I'm not offended and people are being ridiculous.
— Daniel Fong (@danielfg1991) May 1, 2018
Daum is not letting the social media backlash get her down. She has refused to remove her Twitter post. Daum told The Washington Post, “I’d wear it again,” in response to the dress.
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