Author Topic: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??  (Read 9426 times)

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lindsey

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Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« on: August 19, 2014, 02:28:46 PM »
I am trying to argue this with myself but I'm just not sure. There is this costume on the website of the store where I work and I reeeally want it to be okay because ancient Egypt is a huge interest of mine (from a beauty/art history perspective) here is the costume:
http://m.torrid.com/torrid/NewArrivals/Leg%20Avenue%20-%20Queen%20Tut%20Costume%20Dress-10168849.jsp

I get why Native American stuff is appropriation because it's profiting off an oppressed culture and everything. Egypt is obviously not my heritage but I don't feel like this crosses the same lines as like a headdress or war bonnet would. Am I wrong?? I feel like ancient Egypt is part of a history we all share... Is that also wrong?? I'm obviously not saying I'm part African or anything. Ahhhh I don't know.

jer

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 03:31:06 PM »
I'm on the fence with you here. Ancient Egypt wasn't exactly an oppressed culture though, right? (or am I crazy-mistaken?)   Wouldn't this be similar to like wearing to togas or some shit? Although associated with stupid frat boy culture, I wouldn't say it's appropriative of greek/roman culture.

but it's an interesting question and i'd like to see what others think. sorry i don't have any real answer or even a formed opinion.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 03:34:42 PM by jer »
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Joe

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 05:31:59 PM »
If you were going to be hardline about it, then yeah, its a cartoonish appropriation of a 3500 year old culture with which current day residents of Egypt may still identify, but I don't know any of them.  Also, I do know some Greek folks, but I've never asked them if toga parties were offensive. 

Interesting question.

Semi

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 06:41:21 PM »
I think a lot of this talking about cultural appropriation easily gets out of hand. What should be discussed is Exotification and Commodification, simply Appropriating is what everyone does, both consciously and unconsciously. It is simply how people and culture  works.

And I doubt Ancient Egyptian culture could ever become more commodified or exotified than it already is, it could be discussable whether or not the commodificiation of ancient egyptian culture still holds culturally neocolonial tendencies however.

I would just not do anything that you have to ask a webforum if it is okay, because the fun of wearing a costume is kind of lost if you aren't sure if it's okay or not.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 06:44:20 PM by Semi »
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Rapture Ready Blowhard

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 06:55:17 PM »
I'm on the fence with you here. Ancient Egypt wasn't exactly an oppressed culture though, right? (or am I crazy-mistaken?)   Wouldn't this be similar to like wearing to togas or some shit? Although associated with stupid frat boy culture, I wouldn't say it's appropriative of greek/roman culture.

I think you're right that ancient Egypt wasn't really oppressed externally, but then again, neither was the Triple Alliance/"Aztec" Empire in Mesoamerica.  Indeed, both imperial entities were oppressors of their neighbors.

Having said that, I do think it's kind of lousy for US Americans to appropriate certain ancient cultures.  Just as most of us would recognize that traditional Mesoamerican costumes would be appropriation even though the Triple Alliance was once a powerful empire, the fact that Egypt has since been colonized (by the Ottomans, the English, the French, the Greeks/Macedonians, etc.) and currently lives under the heel of a US-backed military dictatorship would make me personally a bit cagey to wear an outfit that caricatures Egyptians, even ancient ones.  This is probably all the more true when you consider that the average white American thinks of only two images when they hear of Egypt-- Pharoahs and religious extremists.  I'd advise against playing to either stereotype.

I'm open to other opinions on this, though.

BagginSagginBrian

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 09:02:27 PM »
Ancient egypt was conquered, oppressed and had their culture stolen from 800bc(ish) on by Nubians, Persians, Greeks, romans and eventually Arabs erased what little was left of the culture, but there had been so much forced cultural and racial mixing that it was hardly "egypt" any more any how. The Arab occupation has been so long and complete not only has the culture been dead for over 1500 years but the ancient egyptian race is most likely completely gone as well.
So I think it's been a couple thousand years since anyone has been alive that could be offended.



« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 09:11:13 PM by BagginSagginBrian »

tinybitsofheart

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2014, 05:00:58 AM »
does a culture have to be oppressed or exploited for something to be appropriative? i never thought so.

just think of katy perry in the "dark horse" music video. is that really the line you want to be toeing

jer

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2014, 09:35:15 AM »
does a culture have to be oppressed or exploited for something to be appropriative?

people of color adopting or caricaturing white culture in the US is never going to be seen as appropriative.
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James Anarchy Scallywag

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2014, 04:40:53 PM »
and that dark horse video is stellar!

tinybitsofheart

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2014, 05:57:26 PM »
does a culture have to be oppressed or exploited for something to be appropriative?

people of color adopting or caricaturing white culture in the US is never going to be seen as appropriative.

right, because whiteness is seen as the dominant culture. i only asked that because you said that ancient egypt wasn't an "oppressed culture," and i'm not sure that makes a difference

jer

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2014, 09:25:03 PM »
Wasn't the reason Ancient Egypt was not an oppressed culture was that it was the dominant culture?
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jer

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2014, 09:27:30 PM »
I guess I'm saying there's a distinction you're making that I'm missing.
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lindsey

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2014, 06:36:59 PM »
i'm over it i'm just gonna be a white girl witch


BagginSagginBrian

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2014, 09:02:44 PM »
Uhh per capita "witches" have pretty much been oppressed more than any one else.

Joe

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2014, 09:04:47 PM »
yeah, way to appropriate wiccan culture.  Is that really the line you want to be toeing, Lindsey?

lindsey

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2014, 11:28:03 PM »
i am an actual witch tho

skateandannoy

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2014, 10:07:26 AM »
Both costumes look great. I support the witch one though. I never thought about it, but this thread really is a good question.
https://deadformat.net/tradelist/anthemforadoomed


kinda weird how the earth continues to spin on its axis and everything eventually dies even when you don't want it to dang

lindsey

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2014, 11:53:31 AM »
I just feel like ancient egyptian pharaohs treated their legacies almost like a brand... it seems like if you'd asked them if they'd want people to be emulating them thousands of years later, they'd be into it?

i tried to look up why people were offended by the dark horse video and all i got was a bunch of internet commenters saying THATS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION and not necessarily like,  if or why that inherently makes it problematic. i think someone else already said, everything is appropriation. dressing up as ANYONE ELSE is appropriating an image. sometimes it's fine and sometimes (often when cross-cultural lines are crossed) it's problematic. but i did find articles about when to know when cultural appropriation is less problematic (the example was that this white woman had bought some earrings from an indigenous artist who directly profited, and she was going to wear them with her same old white girl clothes and not as part of some sort of characterization of native american dress) but still, almost every article i read used native american or, less so, geishas, as examples. i feel like ancient egypt isn't in that ball park. is guess the answer to the original question is YES the costume is appropriation, but is cultural appropriation always inherently problematic? 

lindsey

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2014, 11:55:08 AM »
i think also with dark horse the argument is made that she is profiting off their image, whereas simply wearing a costume doesn't really have the same effect


but yeah, i'm just gonna skip it

BagginSagginBrian

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2014, 12:19:02 PM »
Good point Lindsey,  a lot of native Americans make a living on selling/making indigenous crafts, jewelery and clothing to white people, should white people stop buying those things because it's appropriating?

jer

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2014, 01:29:01 PM »
that's pretty widely accepted as unproblematic within the parameters of lindsey's example.
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lindsey

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2014, 02:57:00 PM »
Is btp trying to out-PC me? I literally don't understand what's happening here

jer

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2014, 03:22:51 PM »
he's trying real hard and failing to be contrarian.

being contrarian doesn't seem like a hard thing to do, but here we are.
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IMAWRAETHTHU

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Re: Is ancient Egyptian an appropriative costume??
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2014, 10:03:19 AM »
Witches/shamans have a well documented history of being oppressed...

LOL
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