Kim Kardashian West arrives at the 2018 CFDA Fashion awards
Kim Kardashian West arrives at the 2018 CFDA Fashion awards

Kim Kardashian West accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ over earrings in new photoshoot

The Om is a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism

Saman Javed
Monday 24 May 2021 14:30
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Kim Kardashian West is facing criticism on social media after she posted pictures of herself wearing earrings bearing the “Om” symbol.

The “Om” is a sacred sound and spiritual symbol in Indian religions including Hinduism and Buddhism.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday 23 May, Kim shared photographs from a shoot styled and shot by stylist and photographer Sita Abellan.

“I did a photoshoot with Sita using all KKW Beauty existing products!” Kim wrote.

In three of the photographs, she is seen lying on a bed wearing large round silver, diamante-encrusted earrings bearing the Om symbol.

The images have drawn some controversy, with Twitter users accusing Kim of disrespecting a cultural and religious symbol. 

One tweet, which has received more than 500 likes, said: “Is now a good time to mention that the Om is a sacred symbol to Hindus and not just an accessory?”

Another said: “She really out here appropriating culture and religion like it’s a hobby. Do some basic research, the Om symbol is sacred and it’s not an aesthetic.”

It is not the first time Kim has faced backlash for cultural appropriation. In 2019, she announced she had renamed her shapewear brand to SKIMS after “Kimono” was criticised.

The kimono, a traditional Japanese garment, is a symbol of the country’s cultural heritage.

“My fans and followers are a huge inspiration to me – I’m always listening to their feedback and opinions, and am so grateful they shared their ideas for a new brand name.

“After much thought and consideration, I’m excited to announce the launch of SKIMS Solutionwear,” she said.

Then, in March 2020, she faced fresh allegations – this time of appropriating Black culture – after sharing photographs of herself wearing Fulani braids.

Kim defended herself against claims of appropriating Black culture, telling Bustle in 2018 that she understands the significance of Fulani braids, but wore them for the sake of her eldest daughter North. 

“I actually didn’t see backlash,” she said at the time. “I actually did that look because North said she wanted braids and asked if I would do them with her. So we braided her hair and then we braided my hair.”

The Independent has contacted Kim Kardashian for comment.

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