Cultural appropriation is heritage theft

How would you feel if a part of your culture was stripped of its significance and sold as a fashion statement? When celebrities steal an aspect of an ethnic group’s culture, such as dreadlocks, bindis, and hijabs. they are guilty of cultural appropriation. A-listers, including the Kardashians, Katy Perry, and Selena Gomez, have been sporting their ignorance in fashion and music videos, using other culture’s traditions while ignoring the cultural significance behind them.

What’s the problem with white people wearing dreadlocks and cornrows? Some say that borrowing hairstyles isn’t cultural appropriation and that they’re fair game. However, the history of dreadlocks goes back to the Hindu and the Rastafarian cultures. Thanks to Bob Marley many associate it with smoking weed and listening to reggae music—basically teenage rebellion. In the Rastafarian culture dreadlocks were worn by priests who devote themselves to their deity and by those who take a vow of purity and follow spiritual laws. According to “White People, Dreadlocks and Cultural Appropriation” on www.theliberatedmind.com, nobody can appreciate the spiritual and historical meaning of dreadlocks when they’re used simply as a way to be defiant.

The first case of a mainstream actress wearing traditionally black hairstyles was Bo Derek in the movie 10. Before this, cornrows were seen on characters living in the ghetto, but once Derek appropriated them, they were suddenly all the rage; the Kardashian/Jenner clan follow along.

Bindis are used in different cultures to represent the sixth charka, showing that a woman is married; in Southern India, a black bindi is worn by a young, unmarried woman to ward off bad luck. The bindi is worn between the eyebrows, an important nerve center, to keep the nerves cool and conserve the person’s energy.

But when Selena Gomez wore the bindi in performances of “Come and Get It,” she received a backlash from the Hindu groups objecting to her sensual and commercial exploitation of the symbol. Her response? She posted a picture of her in a bindi on Instagram with the caption “Sari, not sari.” As if people didn’t have enough reason to be irritated by her…

Headdresses have been a part of the Native American culture for centuries; those who wear them, usually chiefs and warriors, are highly respected in their community. Every feather in the headdress represents a courageous act, followed by fasting. The right to wear a headdress is one of the highest honors that a man achieves. Women, however, did not participate in this tradition, much less want-to-be hipsters trying to look cute at Coachella.

Some might think that culture appropriation isn’t a big deal, and that culture is meant to be shared. However there’s a difference between appreciating a culture and wanting to learn more about it, and taking it as your own and disrespecting it. When a cultural emblem is adapted by a celebrity who wants to start the next trend, it shows disrespect to the cultural meaning and religious significance of the tradition. A celebrity can take his or her “costume” off at the end of the day and not have to face the hardship and discrimination people who are part of the tradition have suffered. They can go back on their merry way, cashing in on a “trend” while looking for the next one.

There’s nothing wrong with being interested in another group’s culture and wanting to learn more, but don’t try to pull it off as your own.

~erica gudino, viewpoint director

Black Friday creates culture of greed

It’s terribly ironic that Black Friday, a day characterized by unconstrained greed where people will actually kill for a good deal, immediately follows Thanksgiving (you know, a day in which you give thanks for what you have).

This new-age tradition began in the early 2000s, and the name refers to retailers turning a profit, or being “in the black.” Heralding the beginning of the holiday shopping season, people forego a good night’s rest and the extolled Thanksgiving family time to camp outside of Target in order to grab that plasma screen TV before the onslaught of old ladies with shopping carts runs them over.

It’s too easy to mock those willing to sell their souls for a better price, but it truly belies a bigger problem—in this day and age, we always want more. While one can argue it’s merely the human condition, Black Friday propagates and encapsulates greed, both corporate and consumer. We trash perfectly good iPhones as soon as the new one comes out. Christmas advertisements are aired in autumn to instill the need to spend in buyers—and quite honestly, it’s exhausting. It seems as if the corporate impulse to amass money is unassailable and never-ending, even when the burden falls on its workers. Some companies are moving back the start of Black Friday back to Thanksgiving (in spite of the fact that it isn’t even Friday), forcing employees to come in on a day that they should rightfully have off, in order to be open during the midnight rush.

Black Friday makes a mockery of everything Thanksgiving (and by extension, the holiday season) is supposed to stand for. Yeah, buying a Playstation for a family member—and at a decent price, no less!—is all good and fine. But there’s something unwholesome about sacrificing time with those you care about for material possessions.

And yet there’s hope. Outdoor gear retailer REI has announced that, not only will it be closed on Black Friday, but also that it will be a paid vacation day for all employees. The decision is part of their #OptOutside campaign promoting the idea that customers should spend time outside instead of in a line.

Still desperate for that deal? Hey, there’s always Cyber Monday. Just don’t play the fool who sits in a lawn chair waiting for Best Buy to open its doors in the middle of the night.

~lana heltzel, online editor

‘Honeymoon’ brings back blues

If you’re into soulful and dramatic descants, Indie/alt. pop singer Lana Del Rey’s newly released album Honeymoon is what you’ve been looking for. While her last albums, Born to Die and Ultraviolence, dabbled in a modern pop feel, this playlist is the original Lana, full of sexy, raw, emotional ballads and angelic vocals without any background sound effects and auto tune frill.

With her iconic winged eyeliner and retro Hollywood waves, she is the modern day equivalent of Marilyn Monroe or Amy Winehouse. Del Rey retreats within herself for this album, but that’s not a bad thing. The eerie percussions suggest nostalgic reminiscence for teenage listeners, and offers a vintage music option for sentimental youths wishing they could live in the 60s.

The album opens up with the title track “Honeymoon,” which sets a mature mood for the following 12 songs. Sleepy, slow lyrics make it sound like Del Rey is in a trance. The songs are all similar in tune and audio, which may be boring for some listeners, since the album lacks dance melodies or sappy, bubbly pop lyrics.

Instead, the songs have a slow, gloomy feel, as if Del Rey is crooning over a tragedy. Songs like “Freak,” “Religion,” and “Music To Watch Boys To” are the most melancholy of the bunch because of their haunting, groggy procession. The album carries a sensual mood because of Del Rey’s pure unedited voice serenading throughout and the racy lyrics about her past love encounters.

“High By the Beach,” is probably the only song on the album that could fit right into Born to Die, the most hip work of her musical career, because it has a catchy, synchronized beat and melody.

Despite her age, Del Rey seems to understand the sorrows and heartbreak of living and falling in love, but she offers more emotional depth than any other singer in the industry today. Aren’t honeymoons supposed to be one of the best times of a person’s life? Apparently, not Lana Del Rey’s honeymoon. From heartbreak and painful self-refuge and withdrawal, Del Ray has produced possibly her best collection of songs and sounds so far in her career as a genre-defying artist.

~julia sexton, co-features director

Cheer excels during season, falls at regionals

The varsity competition cheer team won the district and Conference 22 championships, but fell short of regional and state titles. The team placed first out of six teams at the conference championship on October 20. The team also won the Evergreen District championship by a significant 10.5 point lead on Sept. 30 beating nine other teams.

But regionals on Oct. 31 was disappointing, with Fauquier scoring zero deductions on an almost flawless, difficult routine. Kettle Run placed second with two deductions, and William Byrd took the regional title, advancing them to states. Fauquier Cheer hadn’t been to regionals in eight years.

“We feel like we got cheated,” junior Jessica Meerman said.

The team got an overall score of 9 at conference competition, which is extremely good, but the judges gave the same routine a score of 2 at regionals.

“We walked into regionals having the highest competition score out of all 15 teams there,” junior Alexis Tafrawe said. “Everyone is just very confused, considering everything hit and the coaches said that’s the very best that we’ve ever done before.”

Besides the regional competition, the team saw major wins and accomplishments this season.

At the conference championship, the team felt like they finally got the recognition they deserved.

“All of our hard work was finally noticed,” Tafrawe said.

They placed higher than Kettle Run, who had taken first at an invitational the week before. The team was judged at the competition on their clean tucks, flips, and tumbling, and how in sync the girls were.

The team remained healthy with only two injuries; sophomore Emma Bejger had a broken wrist prior to the start of the season, but she returned to competition, and junior Josh William fractured his toe, but actually competed at regionals only a week after the accident.

“I think we went into the season humble and worked harder and harder each practice to make our best better,” Tafrawe said.

Co-coaches Ashlynn Foster and Brandy Schaeffe, and new assistant coach Tami Doorly prepared the team for many weeks and are pleased with their success.

“This year we have really been able to work together as a team and encourage one another. This bond has helped us to excel in executing advanced stunts and tumbling passes,” Schaeffe said.

The girls began preparing for this season last spring. The team must also be in top shape for competition and must train and learn new routines months prior to the start of the season.

“We started conditioning all the way back in April,” senior and team captain Alyssa Carter said. “We condition all throughout the summer every year.”

Although they did not meet their goal of going to states for the third year in a row, the team hopes to come back next season with the same work ethic they had this year.

“Our goal as a team was to be conference champs, and we really just kept our hearts set on it all season and worked really hard at the completion,” Meerman said.

~julia sexton, co-features director

Murder, mayhem take the stage: Arsenic & Old Lace delivers laughter, fun, delightfully wicked chaos

On Halloween weekend the theatre department performed the 1944 Broadway play Arsenic and Old Lace. The scene is set in 1940’s Brooklyn, New York, Mortimer Brewster brings home his fiancé to meet his seemingly normal aunts, Abby and Martha Brewster, only to discover that his aunts have an unusual method of comforting lonely bachelors involving poison and a one way ticket to the basement.

Bales cast senior Sammi Anderson in the role of Abby Brewster because of her remarkable acting skills and her phenomenal work ethic. Anderson describes Aunt Abby as the dominant, controlling leader of the murderous duo.

“She definitely likes to lead things,” Anderson said. “She’s more courageous when it comes to scary situations.” When trying to get into the character, Anderson thought a lot about the mannerisms of her grandmother. After memorizing her lines, Anderson understood the meaning and personality behind the character.

Sophomore Chloe Voss, who plays Abby’s sister Martha, describes her as a fun character to play.

“It’s great being an old lady,” Voss said. “That’s the one way I relate to her. It’s just a great character to play.”

Bales said that chemistry between Voss and Anderson seem as if they are real sisters.

“When you have to be a sister [to a] character, you can’t have a space between you two. You have to be near her and you do it together,” Voss said.

According to Bales, Voss is a dedicated actress who is committed to her role and to performing it precisely.

“When she read, I knew that she had studied and was dedicated. It was obvious that she was Aunt Martha,” Bales said.
In the iconic role of Mortimer senior Ben Sampson has his frantic moments of panic.

“I like the part where he gets mad,” Sampson said. “I don’t normally play those kinds of roles, so it was a nice change and a nice way to explore that side to my acting.”

Senior Dominique Herring, who plays Mortimer’s fiancé, has been active in the theatre department for all of her high school career.

“I wanted to keep trying until I got a main role,” Herring said. “I don’t have to alter myself a lot. She’s pretty normal, but she’s way more sexy.”

When choosing a play, Bales always takes into consideration that only a handful of his students will pursue acting in college and professionally.

“I want them to really get into the meat of the character, to get into the piece that the author wrote,” Bales said.
Sampson said that the cast works remarkably well together because of their close friendships and because of their previous musicals and plays.

“The play is so old, yet timeless, and I think that sets it out from other plays,” Sampson said. “Our chemistry is just really meshed together.”

~gretchen deitrich, staff reporter