Is wearing feathered earrings cultural appropriation?

Is wearing feathered earrings cultural appropriation?

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You are a young woman attracted by fashion and you wonder if wearing feathered earrings isn't cultural appropriation from native american culture. Can you wear it? How and when to wear it? We'll answer all these questions in this complete guide to wearing feather earrings!

 

What did people wearing feathers mean before?

American Indians consider it a sign of courage and freedom. The wearing of feathers on the headdress of men allowed to establish a social hierarchy and to put forward the valorous warriors. Feathers are sacred object linked with spirituality which gives strength and protects the one who wears it.

Who wears feather earrings nowadays?

Do indigenous people wears feather earrings?

Indigenous culture continues to be passed down through their descendants who keep this cultural heritage alive. Whether they are on reservations or integrated into the modern society, it is common to see indigenous people wearing feather hair accessories such as feather earrings or feather headdresses, even if these are rarer. Native American culture belongs, in spite of itself, to the American culture now.

Do white people wears feather earrings?

We could think it’s more delicate for white people to wear feather earrings. They could be accused of cultural appropriation. We find that many young white people are inspired by the clothing style of native people. Although they don't go as far as revealing hair headdresses, many of them wear feather earrings. Is wearing feathered earrings a show of strength of the dominant culture or a sign of recognition and acceptance of the other? Is wearing feathered earrings culture appropriation? It all depends on why they do it!

Why do people wears feather earrings?

We can assume that people who choose to wear feather earrings associate themselves with native American culture. This may be the case for some of them. However, we note that a large majority are not aware of this ancient symbolism. So why do they wear this feather jewelry?

The beauty of feather earrings is enough to convince bohemian style lovers to get them. Why should we find meaning in everything? People wear the clothes that they find beautiful and that allow them to express their personality. The feather remains a symbol of refinement and freedom in the collective unconscious. Therefore, without claiming to belong to a culture, a large proportion of people who wear feather jewelry aspire to these same values. We could almost speak of unconscious appropriation!

Why should I wears feather earrings if I want it?

If you are reading this blog, you can already consider yourself a good person. Indeed, you are concerned about the harm you might cause by wearing fashion accessories while some people don't even ask. However, have you ever wondered about the good you could do by wearing them?

Indeed, you may consider that buying feathered accessories from native craftsmen allows them to live and feed their families. If tradition considers feathers to be sacred objects, why wouldn't they want a majority of people to wear them well? Feather headdresses or feather earrings allow the native culture to shine through the fashion industry. Don't drop your earrings ! Buy native accessories to native artisan and consider yourself as ambassador of this incredible culture.

In conclusion, we believe that American culture should not be seen as the dominant culture but rather as the sum of the cultures that have made up its history. Aboriginal cultures and modern one must collaborate and not clash. Fashion industry can be a bridge between these two worlds to allow native people as well as white people to wear feathered earrings as a tribute to the cultural heritage left by the American Indians.


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