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Wearing Cultures: A Four Step Guide to Avoiding (In)appropriation

You shouldn’t wear that.

Whether it’s a magazine article admonishing women over thirty to remove crop tops from their closet, or a school dress code demanding that girls keep their kneecaps under wraps; we women are often confronted with arbitrary rules on what not to wear. And for the most part, they’re¬†bullshit.

I am generally of the opinion that women should dress however they want, except when it involves the inappropriate “borrowing” from marginalized cultures. It is perhaps the only time when I think it may be necessary for women, in the spirit of respect and camaraderie, to follow a set of clothing guidelines. It may also be the only time when the words of the Apostle Paul can be successfully used as a feminist slogan: “I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful.” (CEB)