Childrearing

People Are Torn Over This High School Girl’s Traditional Chinese Prom Dress

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It’s prom season, so teen girls all over the country are searching for the perfect dress for their big night. I remember how big of a deal it is from my high school days! But the search for THE dress can sometimes go haywire, as one teen in Utah is discovering. Utah senior Keziah Daum wore a traditional cheongsam, or qipao, to her last prom. A cheongsam is a traditional Chinese dress, characterized by a high collar and skirt slit. They’re absolutely gorgeous. But the problem is, Keziah isn’t Chinese. And some people are calling her Chinese prom dress a major case of cultural appropriation.

Keziah Daum wore the Chinese prom dress, then shared some photos from her night on Twitter. That’s … never a good idea.

Keziah says she found the dress and fell in love. She loved the high neckline, which is hard to find in a prom dress. She told The Washington Post, “I thought it was absolutely beautiful.” She said the dress “really gave me a sense of appreciation and admiration for other cultures and their beauty.” But as soon as she posted the pictures, the backlash was almost immediate. Keziah says she had no idea her dress would create such a firestorm of controversy.

One of the issues people had with the photos, aside from the dress, was the group shot. The teens are posing with their hands in prayer pose, which looks concerning when paired with what Keziah is wearing.

chinese prom dress

Image: Twitter/@daumkeziah

But Keziah says the group was just mimicking a pose from popular YouTuber H3H3 Productions.

While many accused Keziah of cultural appropriation for her Chinese prom dress, plenty of people came to her defense, too.

https://twitter.com/nathanckk/status/990891909131350017

Keziah feels “misunderstood” by the controversy, but she’s standing her ground. She told INSIDER, “I feel people have seen the photos and others opinions and has viewed them in the wrong way. Making assumptions is something that has definitely caused a lot of this controversy and backlash. I would like my critics to know that I have no ill intent against other cultures and that I was simply showing my appreciation.”

She also took to Twitter to defend herself and her dress choice.

It’s an interesting discussion, to say the least. So what say you: cultural appropriation? Or cultural appreciation?

(Image: Twitter/@daumkeziah)