The Utah teenager who sparked a huge debate on Twitter about cultural appropriation after posting photos of her traditional Chinese prom dress has spoken out - and she isn’t apologising.
Keziah Daum appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the backlash on social media since she wore a red qipao to her high school prom and shared photos of her and her friends posing with prayer signs on Twitter.
But despite the criticism she’s received, the 18-year-old announced that she had no regrets about wearing the traditional Chinese gown - and she would wear it again.
“It had nothing to do with race or racial slurs. It was never intended to be thought of as racist,” the teen said on GMA, admitting that she did not expect the photos of her and her friends posing before prom to go viral.
And, despite what she considers her best intentions, Daum was criticised on Twitter for her choice of dress, which many found offensive, racist, or guilty of cultural appropriation.
“My culture is NOT your prom dress,” wrote one person.
On Twitter, Daum tried to defend her dress choice, tweeting: “It’s just a dress,” which only made the backlash worse.
“If you ‘appreciate’ and ‘love’ our culture, you’d know it’s a traditional gown. Yet you claim, ‘it’s just a dress,’” responded one person on Twitter.
The qipao, or cheongsam, was traditionally a loose-fitting garment for Chinese women to wear while carrying out domestic tasks. It was then updated to have a tighter fit, and worn as a symbol of femininity and confidence.
Daum and her friends’ choice of pose, with their hands held in front of them, was also found offensive and “stereotyped.”
Jeremy Lam told GMA: “They were wearing a dress and using a stereotyped Chinese posture without acknowledging the history behind that piece of clothing.”
However, Daum claims the pose had nothing to do with being Chinese and was actually inspired by a popular YouTuber.
And she “believes I have done nothing but show my appreciation to the Chinese culture,” and will not be removing the photos from Twitter, which have since received over 102,000 likes.
Others agree - “I showed my Chinese mom this tweet and she thought you looked great and it was really nice how you liked our culture,” someone responded.
On Twitter, Daum wrote: “To everyone causing so much negativity: I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture. I’m simply showing my appreciation to their culture. I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a f****g dress. And it’s beautiful.”
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