ABOUT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION, hypes, hygge, and random Buddha statues. Ok, I will start with a disclaimer: this post might be perceived as offensive. You can interpret it as a short essay on the tendency of people to appropriate without understanding, but also as an essay on consumerism and social media hypes.
When I moved to the Netherlands I used to walk around the city where I lived in and look at how people lived, searching for understanding of the Dutch culture and way of life. I was surprised to see a lot pf Buddha statues and posters and japanese inspired gardens. As an alien, one could easily confuse this observation and decide that many Dutch are embracing buddhism as a religion.
But that is not the case. These statues and images are just forms without a content bought from local homestores. They are very trendy, those with a “vintage” “authentic” look especially.
It took me many years to understand something of Dutch culture. Especially the impossible to translate word “gezellig” that means more or less “cozy”. But I bet that if I say that gezellig is equivalent of hyggelig, many of you will understand its meaning.
I was always fascinated by how similar more or less obscure concepts become trendy and suddenly the whole Instagram is tagging photos with #hygge
(more than 4mil posts ...). There is a book about hygge living, a pattern with the name Hygge (the one that received a lot of attention because of the photo style, I am sure you know which one). And most people using this tagg are not danish. Just as the designer of the pattern is also not danish. Just as the dutch with Buddha statues in their backyard are not buddhists.
Now, I will not go so far to claim that this kind of cultural appropriation is made in the name of pure economic profits. And surely many people tagging their posts with variations of #hygge
hashtag understand what the concept actually means. I wonder though why this need to take these concepts and symbols from another cultures and use them as they are ours? Don’t our cultures have their own impossible to translate concepts that speak about our heritage and our soul? #sustainability #culturalappropriation #givecredit