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October Meetup | Sacred Seams

October’s Meetup celebrated Halloween early as we discussed Halloween costumes and how they have been shaped over time, especially by the LGBTQIA+ community. As fun as Halloween is to many, it’s not fun when your culture is mocked and degraded by someone who has no context. This meetup addressed the cultural appropriation in costumes and then turned to our community to share their Sacred Seams.

Lili Stiefel and Ariel Bastida began the meetup with an insightful video representing a diverse range of perspectives about common store-bought Halloween costumes. This helped set the stage for an overall discussion about the rich culture and history behind Halloween, and which costumes could be classified as cultural appropriation.

Before moving on and gaining more perspective from our community, we took our moment of silence to honor the significance of clothing from various cultures and backgrounds, as well as the gay community’s contributions to Halloween. In the chat, Lili mentioned taking a moment of silence for “all the folks involved with producing clothing today who work in inhumane and toxic conditions... [and] folks historically who were part of the global trade of cloth, materials and textures that has led to sacred seams around the world.” Philip Odango wanted to honor “all the missing and murdered Indigenous women” with his moment of silence.

In unpacking the history of Halloween, we landed on asking if “Halloween is basically a national LGBTQIA+ holiday” because of the heavy influence the queer community had on adults dressing up for Halloween. The discussion continued as we focused more on the costumes in mainstream media, also showing how many times celebrities have done it wrong - TOO many.
Aditi Bhatiya, founder of Passport 2 Fashion, hosted the sharing of everyone's Sacred Seams and started by telling her own colorful story about the outfit she wore for the event. Inspired by Aditi, participants showed off their Sacred Seams and explained why those seams hold meaning in their lives. A vast amount of knowledge was shared that spanned over many different countries and parts of the world. Each of us came away with new vocabulary, perspectives, and feelings of connection.

October Meetup’s Words of Encouragement, Motivation, and Feedback from Our Community Whiteboard:

Intention is everything.

What are you adding/contributing rather than taking?

Context is key.

Cultural Allocation

Cultural Approximation

Correct Pronunciation

How to Define Cultural Appropriation

Salwar Kameez – translates to Pants and a Shirt worn with a dupatta or a scarf

Lots of love in one virtual room…goosebumps.

It’s complicated!

Jhumka = Earring

*Reverse racism*

Rebellion and tradition all at once.

Who gets to have culture?

Expression and Reconnection

Blackface isn’t culture at all.

Viewing cases of relatively light appropriation with humor.

Chat recap:

The October Meetup continues to share endless stories regarding our clothing, culture and traditions, and perspectives from our diverse Mixed Space community. Resources related to the Meetup's discussion are below:

“A land acknowledgement is a critical step towards working with native communities to secure meaningful partnership and inclusion in the stewardship and protection of their cultural resources and homelands. As many of us are settlers, immigrants, or descendants of those forcefully brought to this continent, our institutions were founded upon exclusions and erasures of the Indigenous peoples whose land we are located. We honor and are grateful for the land we occupy and recognize the ongoing damage of settler colonialism. Land acknowledgment demonstrates a commitment to beginning the process of working to dismantle the ongoing legacies of colonialism and the pursuit of truth and healing.”

This statement was generously shared with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center by the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center in Santa Rosa, California.
CIMCC – Weaving Native Culture Into The Future

Shared by TMS Team: The Dress Code: Is the Kimono Trend Cultural Appropriation?
https://dismantlemag.com/2019/07/22/dress-code-kimono-cultural-appropriation/

Shared by TMS Team: What the kimono's wide-reaching influence tells us about cultural appropriation
https://www.cnn.com/style/article/kimono-fashion-history-cultural-appropriation/index.html

Shared by our community: Wafrica: Japanese Kimonos Inspired by West African Culture
https://www.spoon-tamago.com/2017/10/18/wafrica-japanese-kimonos-inspired-by-west-african-culture/

Shared by our TMS Team: Jotaro Saito
https://www.jotaro.net/

Shared by our TMS Team: Can Foreigners Wear Kimono? (Japanese Opinion Interview)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pXotxxYFlk&t=25s

Shared by our TMS Team: Think Twice Before You Decide To Be A Geisha For Halloween
https://thecord.ca/think-twice-before-you-decide-to-be-a-geisha-for-halloween/

Shared by our TMS Team: “Students from Ohio University have a message for you: ‘We’re a culture, not a costume.’”
https://www.cnn.com/2011/10/26/living/halloween-ethnic-costumes/index.html

Shared by our community: The New York Public Library Digital Collections - Sherman, Augustus F., 1865 - 1925
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/search/index?filters%5BnamePart_mtxt_s%5D%5B%5D=Sherman%2C%20Augustus%20F.%2C%201865-1925&keywords=&layout=false#

Philips Cosplay Website:
canvascosplay.com

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(With downloadble booklet!)