Teenager Keziah Daum has come under fire for wearing a cheongsam- or qipao- to her senior prom, reports the Washington Post. The Caucasian Utah student found the dress, a traditional Chinese garment, at a vintage store in the state’s capital.
Duam shared a number of photos from her special night on Twitter on April 22, including a few portraits, one with her date, and another of a huge group consisting of her and her friends with their hands in a praying position. The post has been like over 100,000 times and has thousands of comments, many condemning her attire.
“My culture is NOT your… prom dress. I’m proud of my culture, including the extreme barriers marginalized people within that culture have had to overcome those obstacles,” Tweeted a man named Jeremy Lam in response.
“This isn’t ok. I wouldn’t wear traditional Korean, Japanese, or any other traditional dress and I’m Asian,” added Twitter user, Jeannie. “I wouldn’t wear traditional Irish or Swedish or Greek dresses either. There’s a lot of history behind these clothes.”
Despite all the backlash, Daum still stands by her fashion decision.
“To everyone who says I’m ignorant, I fully understand everyone’s concerns and views on my dress. I mean no harm. I am in no way being discriminative or racist. I’m tired of all the backlash and hate when my only intent was to show my love.”
“Cultural appropriation” has been a major discussion in a number of industries lately. For instance, many Coachella visitors decorate themselves using body paint, drawing criticism for perverting Indian traditions. Not to mention, the Kardashian family has faced controversy for expropriating black heritage. The controversy over Duam’s dress illustrates the permanence of this issue, proving it will not go away anytime soon.