Girl’s ‘Inappropriate’ Prom Dress Sparks Huge Debate

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A high school student who posted about her prom on Twitter, has become the centre of a huge debate regarding cultural appropriation.

The student, known as Keziah, can be seen in the photograph wearing a cheongsam, also known as a qipao, which is a traditional Chinese dress:

However Keziah is not Chinese and it appears a lot of the Twitter-world believe she’s wrong for wearing a dress which is not associated with her culture.

However, others are of the opinion you can wear whatever the hell you want.

One tweet which has gained a lot of attention was made by a guy known as Jeremy Lam, who tweeted:

My culture is not your goddamn prom dress.

The tweet has since received 168k likes, 39k retweets, and 13k replies at the time of writing.

However the argument is massively divided.

Jeremy posted a series of follow up tweets, which he summarised saying:

I’m proud of my culture, including the extreme barriers marginalised people within that culture have had to overcome those obstacles.

For it to simply be subject to American consumerism and cater to a white audience, is parallel to colonial ideology.

Another Twitter user explained;

Just because it’s okay to a few Chinese people doesn’t mean it’s okay to all of us? our traditional dress isn’t meant to be a fashion statement or make you appear more “exotic”. there’s a long history behind the dress and white people are not a part of it. [sic]

Others however believe this has been blown way out of proportion and at the end of the day, ‘it’s just a dress’.

One tweeted:

This is literally not offensive. It’s not being used mockingly. People need to stop choosing to be offended by everything. Get over yourself.

The same Twitter user then followed up his argument when he was told to ‘stop telling POC (Person of Colour) what he’s allowed to be upset about’.

He replied:

You don’t have to be a poc to have a culture. Race and culture aren’t really connected at all. I’m Irish.

On our national day people go around in fake red beards and exaggerated clothing of what they think traditional clothing is here.

Another tweeted:

I’ve seen all kinds of people wearing jeans who have no cultural links with the American West. They just like the look.

I don’t have a problem with that. Do you?

Others have called out Jeremy’s clothes, which are typically western:

Others called Jeremy a racist himself:

One person argued nobody should wear another cultures traditional dress, writing:

This isn’t ok. I wouldn’t wear traditional Korean, Japanese or any other traditional dress and I’m Asian.

I wouldn’t wear traditional Irish or Swedish or Greek dress either. There’s a lot of history behind these clothes. Sad.

While another took the opposite side to the debate, writing:

You look gorgeous and the dress is stunning! What a wonderful world we live in where we can share culture and dress in special design and style from across the world representing the culture of Earth and the art of humanity.

In the aftermath of the debate, Keziah herself responded, saying she would not take the picture down because she didn’t believe she had done anything wrong.

She wrote:

To everyone causing so much negativity: I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture.

I’m simply showing my appreciation to their culture. I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a… dress. And it’s beautiful.

What’s your opinion on the matter? Did Keziah do something wrong by wearing the traditional Chinese qipao to prom or not?

Let us know.

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Joseph Loftus

Joseph Loftus

Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.