TOPIC: Is "Ironic" Twerking Cultural Appropriation?
Is "Ironic" Twerking Cultural Appropriation?
26 May 2013 18:59 #3191
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Although it seems the fad has largely died down as of late, I remember seeing a lot of videos online of people who would make videos of them twerking. The majority of the time when it was done by white girls it was meant to be funny or ironic, but it kind of struck me as problematic. When they would do it, it was almost done in a way that was meant to be making fun of the black girls who do it. The girls would put on hair extensions, paint their nails, "look the part" in essence. They wouldn't actually do the dance the right way, it was done in a way that said "look at how ridiculous we look doing this dance!!!" i.e look at how silly and "ghetto" these black girls look doing the dance.
I highly doubt they were unaware this dance was a "black girl thing", so it begs the question: why are they purposely trying to do the dance in this way? I think that they were trying to be funny or ironic but under the guise of irony it is hinting at this idea that black girls twerking is something to be laughed at. In a sense, it is cultural appropriation because the white girls making fun of the black girls are doing it without the consequences the original source of the dance, i.e black girls, will experience. The white girls doing it will not be viewed as "vulgar" or "ghetto", just people who were being "ironic".
Then again, how much of the twerking that even goes on is ironic in the first place? Is all twerking ironic or meant to be funny by definition? I would say no, because you can't separate an act in society from its members in the present day and the historical relation between them. In this case, although it might just be a dance to some, may be reflective of something much bigger and pernicious than the act itself, ironic or not. I think it takes on a different context when white girls ironically twerk then when black girls ironically twerk, if that makes sense. It's racist to take something created by a group of people who have been throughout history oppressed by the dominant group that you are part and make fun of it or call it "backwards". I think this might seem like a silly topic for some because it is a dance, but it's worth noting the racism of cultural appropriation, wherever it may rear its ugly head.
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