Teenager’s Prom Dress Stirs Furor in U.S. — but Not in China

When the furor reached Asia, although, many appeared to be scratching their heads. Far from being important of Ms. Daum, who is just not Chinese, many individuals in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan proclaimed her alternative of the normal high-necked gown as a victory for Chinese tradition.

“I am very proud to have our culture recognized by people in other countries,” stated somebody known as Snail Trail, commenting on a post of the Utah episode by a well-liked account on WeChat, the messaging and social media platform, that had been learn greater than 100,000 occasions.

“It’s ridiculous to criticize this as cultural appropriation,” Zhou Yijun, a Hong Kong-based cultural commentator, stated in a phone interview. “From the perspective of a Chinese person, if a foreign woman wears a qipao and thinks she looks pretty, then why shouldn’t she wear it?”

If something, the uproar surrounding Ms. Daum’s gown prompted many Chinese to replicate on examples of cultural appropriation in their very own nation.

“So does that mean when we celebrate Christmas and Halloween it’s also cultural appropriation?” requested one WeChat person, Larissa.

Others had been fast to level out that the qipao, as it’s identified in China, was launched by the Manchus, an ethnic minority group from China’s northeast — implying that the garment was itself appropriated by the bulk Han Chinese. In its unique kind, the gown was worn in a saggy type, largely by upper-class ladies throughout the Qing dynasty, which dominated China for greater than 250 years, till 1912.

It was solely in the 1920s and ’30s, when Western affect started seeping into China, that the qipao was reinvented to develop into the seductive, body-hugging gown that many consider right now. For many cinephiles, it has develop into inextricably related to Maggie Cheung, the actress who wore a shocking array of cheongsams in Wong Kar-wai’s 2000 movie “In the Mood for Love.”

These days, it’s uncommon to see Chinese ladies sporting qipaos in the road. Western “fast fashion” has taken over, although the qipao has made one thing of a comeback amongst some official figures, just like the nation’s first woman, Peng Liyuan.

“To Chinese, it’s not sacred and it’s not that meaningful,” stated Hung Huang, a Beijing-based author and style blogger, in an interview. “Nowadays, if you see a woman wearing a qipao, she’s probably a waitress in a restaurant or a bride.”

The uproar surrounding the promenade gown highlights America’s rising — and more and more complicated — dialog about race.

Several current episodes have proven that Asians and Asian-Americans don’t at all times see eye to eye.

Diversity was actually on the minds of the filmmakers behind the 2016 Chinese-American coproduction “The Great Wall” after they crammed the film with so-called Chinese components — a predominantly Chinese solid, story line and filming places. In doing so, they addressed a diversity concern in China, the place moviegoers are more and more delicate to Hollywood’s tendency to solid Chinese actors in bit components. But after the discharge of the film trailer, one other range concern arose: Several distinguished Asian-Americans criticized the filmmakers for casting Matt Damon in the lead position, as one of many leaders of a Chinese military, likening the choice to “whitewashing.”

More lately, the controversy has resurfaced with the deliberate American launch, in August, of the movie adaptation of “Crazy Rich Asians,” based mostly on a collection of novels in regards to the lives of rich households in Singapore. The casting has generated some controversy, in half over the biracial actor chosen because the male romantic lead.

While the movie is promoted as having an all-Asian solid, the Singapore journalist and activist Kirsten Han wrote in a 2017 essay, “the focus is specifically on characters and faces of East Asian descent (as dictated by the book).”

“This is already a misrepresentation of Singapore at the most basic level, obscuring the Malay, Indian and Eurasian (and more) populations who make the country the culturally rich and unique place that it is,” she wrote. “A continent as massive as Asia can never be as simple as the stereotypes imposed upon us.”

Back in the United States, Ms. Daum, overwhelmed with the sudden wave of each reward and condemnation, was not backing down.

“To everyone who says I’m ignorant, I fully understand everyone’s concerns and views on my dress,” she wrote on Twitter. “I mean no harm. I am in no way being discriminative or racist. I’m tired of all the backlash and hate when my only intent was to show my love.”

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