The Cultural Appropriation in Fashion Issue: Poetry Roundup
Each issue we feature the pieces of Asian womxn all around the world. Here are this issue’s pieces!
The Sunflower Girl by Thao La
Yellow, gentle, pure She captured the wandering eyes of many Among the sparse, tall fields They gravitated towards her Wherever she turned, so did they The direction it seemed Was almost like an endless cycle
Or so they thought Within this girl lied many hidden secrets She was not who they constructed The girl was not who they wanted her to be She blossomed differently
Yellow, bold, daring She was anything and everything An unrestrained force to be reckoned with Someone who the girl actually wanted to be
She was after the radiating sun Even the shadows from her onlookers Could not stop her from attaining her goals
She was vibrant She was an overachiever She was a model minority She was inspirational She was a sunflower girl
The Girl In The Mirror by Anusha Asim
She looks into the eyes of the girl in the mirror Makeup-free and bitter Her flaws becoming clearer and clearer “The mirror doesn’t lie,” they say Does she really look this way? All those remarks echo in her ears The girl in the mirror is blurred with tears She wipes her eyes and stares again The truth becoming clear and plain Her flaws make her different for each tells a story For once she notices their concealed glory She is unique, a masterpiece, an amazing work of art And love for the girl in the mirror sprouts in her heart
I never gave a second glance When you asked to wear my dress The baby pink one that you loved Pure silk with embroidered flowers and vines Which hugged my waist and brushed against my neck Whispering life into my veins That I blithely wanted for you, too.I never thought a second time
Until I was told to by those Entangled in that blindly-spun web On lines of fallacies Spinning me into its reach Weavers who twisted yellow yarn without yellow hands Wove thoughts into my mind That I should take offense At your innocent request.I stayed in that nest, untangling the mess they warped me into Until I became a golden bird with the will to fly away And I wondered if it was too late to return your call Because you never asked to wear my dress again For fear that they would cage you, too.
Context: I Share My Qipao With You is written from a child’s perspective and takes an alternative stance on the victims of cultural appropriation. In the poem, the young girl sees no issue with sharing her culture to her equally-innocent friend, who wishes to borrow her qipao with no malicious intentions. Over time, the media feeds the girl mixed messages which cause her to believe that her friend is trying to appropriate her culture offensively. I presented this nearly satirical perspective on cultural appropriation to communicate how mainstream media can take cultural appropriation to the extreme, and how there is actually power in sharing cultures with others.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
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