Bindi and looking at the east through western eyes

A Bindi, is not simply a sticker or a decorative colorful dot placed in the middle of the forehead. The Bindi is an ancient symbol for Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain people of the point of the third eye, or the Ajna chakra, right between a person’s eyebrows. It represents the whole Universe, at its beginning and end point because Shiva, the Hindu god covers up the spot of his third eye, which is thought to be capable of complete destruction if exposed. Selena Gomez also uses the Bindi as part of her costume in a Bollywood inspired MTV awards performance from 2013 titled, “Come and Get It.” Are you starting to see the problem? It is not meant to be worn while gyrating to sexually themed music.  On the same topic, we see other ways that Indian culture is appropriated to use out of context. Let’s take a look into Coldplay and Beyonce’s “Hymn for the Weekend” music video. Proclaimed by the director of the video, Ben Mor, “When you take a closer look at India, surrealism and psychedelia immediately come to mind, at least to mine! I tried to use the special effects in a way that just heightened what was already there. Almost trying to make the surreal real.” The issue comes in when a culture comes into contact with the feeling of being “drunk and high” and a video that glories the picked-at Indian culture that fits into the Western fantasy of it. The bottom line of this post is that cultures, like Indian culture, is not meant to be picked apart for the bits that can be taken and molded for public entertainment. According to Reva Bhatt, of Huffington Post, “Our community and our sisters have been bullied, attacked and discriminated against for wearing our skin color and traditions for decades. Case in point: Donning full Bollywood glitz and garb, while throwing a bone to the slum kids. It’s easy to play Bollywood Queen for a day; however, it’s disrespectful and insensitive to romanticize the plight of the poor because their circumstances cannot be escaped.” Using a culture as an accessory is never right.

Here you will find the video for Hymn for the Weekend.

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Selena Gomez performing “Come and Get It.”

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