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cutie reporting for duty

A white girl wore a bindi at Coachella. And, then my social media feeds went berserk. Hashtagging the term “cultural appropriation” follows the outrage and seems to justify it at the same time. Except that it doesn’t.

Cultural appropriation is the adoption of a specific part of one culture by another cultural group. As I (an Indian) sit here, eating my sushi dinner (Japanese) and drinking tea (Chinese), wearing denim jeans (American), and overhearing Brahm’s Lullaby (German) from the baby’s room, I can’t help but think what’s the big deal?

The big deal with cultural appropriation is when the new adoption is void of the significance that it was supposed to have — it strips the religious, historical and cultural context of something and makes it mass-marketable. That’s pretty offensive. The truth is, I wouldn’t be on this side of the debate if we were talking about Native American headdresses, or tattoos of Polynesian tribal iconography, Chinese characters or Celtic bands.

Why shouldn’t the bindi warrant the same kind of response as the other cultural symbols I’ve listed, you ask? Because most South Asians won’t be able to tell you the religious significance of a bindi. Of my informal survey of 50 Hindu women, not one could accurately explain it’s history, religious or spiritual significance. I had to Google it myself, and I’ve been wearing one since before I could walk.

We can’t accuse non-Hindus of turning the bindi into a fashion accessory with little religious meaning because, well, we’ve already done that. We did it long before Vanessa Hudgens in Coachella 2014, long before Selena Gomez at the MTV Awards in 2013, and even before Gwen Stefani in the mid-90s.

Indian statesman Rajan Zed justifies the opposing view as he explains, “[The bindi] is an auspicious religious and spiritual symbol… It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory…” If us Indians had preserved the sanctity and holiness of the bindi, Zed’s argument for cultural appropriation would have been airtight. But, the reality is, we haven’t.

The 5,000 year old tradition of adorning my forehead with kumkum just doesn’t seem to align with the current bindi collection in my dresser — the 10-pack, crystal-encrusted, multi-colored stick-on bindis that have been designed to perfectly compliment my outfit. I didn’t happen to pick up these modern-day bindis at a hyper-hipster spot near my new home in California. No. This lot was brought from the motherland itself.

And, that’s just it. Culture evolves. Indians appreciated the beauty of a bindi and brought it into the world of fashion several decades ago. The single red dot that once was, transformed into a multitude of colors and shapes embellished with all the glitz and glamor that is inherent in Bollywood. I don’t recall an uproar when Indian actress Madhuri Dixit’s bindi was no longer a traditional one. Hindus accepted the evolution of this cultural symbol then. And, as the bindi makes it’s way to the foreheads of non-South Asians, we should accept — even celebrate — the continued evolution of this cultural symbol. Not only has it managed to transcend religion and class in a sea of one-billion brown faces, it will now adorn the faces of many more races. And that’s nothing short of amazing.

So, you won’t find this Hindu posting a flaming tweet accusing a white girl of #culturalappropriation. I will say that I’m glad you find this aspect of my culture beautiful. I do too.


Why a Bindi Is NOT an Example of Culture Appropriation 

by Anjali Joshi

(via breannekiele)

Anonymous asked : Imagine Pepper being a compleate mother hen to Bucky when he first moves into te tower because of how reserved and scared he is to being with. Like she would help to put his hair into a ponytail to keep it out of his face and make sure that he has extra food on his platem and at some point he has a nightmare and Steve isn't there so he sneaks into Pepper and Tony's room and asked if he could stay with her for a bit and ends up curled up next to her and Tony, who finds the whole thing adorable.


pepper’s efficiency is, as always, welcomed by the avengers. it’s nice to have someone responsible in the tower again, since steve and bruce are both away on some kind of mission. it’s bucky’s first time being in the tower without steve and it’s a bit daunting, having all these people that actually like him and care about him (steve doesn’t count because he’s different, he’s always been different), so he mostly just keeps to himself and stays in his room. he forgets to eat sometimes, but he doesn’t really think much of it. he can survive for weeks on a pack of crackers so it’s not a big deal

it only takes about two days for someone to knock politely on his door and enter at his confused “come in.” it’s pepper, and she’s carrying a tray of what looks like homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes

"look, i’ve had to deal with tony and his inability to take care of himself for almost ten years now, so i would appreciate it if you made this easy on me. eat the food and then come into the living room - we’re having movie night"

bucky just nods his head and pepper smiles, eyes crinkling up at the corners. “good. maybe i’ll even braid your hair if i’m feeling generous”

later that night, after the movie (which took twice as long as it should have since tony kept pausing it and explaining why the science was wrong) bucky wakes up covered in sweat and breathing hard. he thinks about going to the kitchen, getting a cup of coffee and forcing himself to stay awake the rest of the night, but what he really wants is human contact, someone to tell him that everything’s alright. so he throws on a shirt and heads to tony and pepper’s room, knocks on the door quietly and sticks his head in at pepper’s quiet “come in”

"i, uh, i had a nightmare," bucky says, shifting from foot to foot in the doorway

"come over here and join us, then. we’ve got plenty of room." pepper motions to their admittedly huge bed, where tony is snoring on his back, limbs sprawled every which way. he lays down in the middle, curled in on himself until pepper touches his back gently. "you don’t have to sleep like that you know. c’mon, turn over on your side so we can spoon. tony kicks in his sleep so i never get anyone to cuddle with, but i think you’ll do just fine"

bucky wakes slowly the next morning, well rested and squished between tony (who apparently decided to cling to his back like a limpet at some point in the night) and pepper. it’s the best sleep he’s had for weeks






will you marry me = a marriage proposal
will, you, Mary, me = a foursome proposal

Will you, Mary me = Cavewoman Mary helps Will recover from his Amnesia

Will, you marry me. = Will’s time-traveling partner

And people keep trying to tell me that punctuation isn’t important