Man!! I LOVE being Indian. I love the traditional attire, (mainly because I look hot in them =) the music, the movies, the bindis and everything else that is Indian. Even though im a third generation Fijian Indian (which means that my great grandparents were from India and every generation thereafter were born and raised in the Fiji islands), I like to think of myself as "Desi". This is because I am not native Fijian (we look completely different).
So let me get to the point. When i watched the video in class about the bindi being appropriated, i honestly did not feel insulted. I think that it is ok for westerners to adorn the bindi. The bindi was traditionally worn by only married Indian women to show that they were not single anymore. This bridal bindi was only red in color. Later, different colors of bindis were used by single Indian women as a fashion statement. The bindi lost it's "religious" or "significant" value, other than as an Indian woman's cultural possession. SO since the bindi isnt as important anymore (many Indian women hardly ever wear it), i think it is ok for westerners to experiment with it. Afterall, can we honestly say that we haven't taken or appropriated elements of the Western world?
According to Kim and Chung in "Consuming Orientalism: Images of Asian/American women in multicultural advertising", orientalism by the westerners is very detrimental towards Asians. Indians are seen as exotic. While this may be true, i think that something as minute as the bindi, should not be of concern in regards to the Indian culture....we have bigger things to worry about ...like the appropriation of the Kamasutra. I wrote a 10 page research paper on the appropriation of the kamasutra a couple years ago. Maybe in my next blog, i'll enter some of my findings.