Nun’s headresses OK – Indian headdresses not

Go to any event these days and your are sure to find some one dressed up as 1950s nun or sporting gear based on some kind of religious attire.

No self respecting party hire business can afford to not have a big stock of false nun’s habits for hire .

So, “What’s the fuss about Dame Trelise Cooper adorning some of her catwalk models in faux Native American headdresses?” asks  Dr Avril Bell, senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Auckland.

“After all, haven’t we all long worn gear like this at fancy dress parties — or to the rugby sevens? And even other garments that may be considered sacred in different quarters, such as nuns’ habits as used by Moschino at the Milan Fashion Week”

So “How come it’s acceptable to appropriate the attire and adornments of some cultures and not others?” asks Bell.

“There are various ways to address this question. One obvious point that could be made is that in referencing the nun’s habit, Moschino was making use of the sacred within their own (Italian, Catholic) culture.” says Bell.

She then goes on to say, ” But I want to focus on another aspect of the issue, which is the role that cultural appropriation has played in the colonial history of societies such as our own, the United States and Canada.”


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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