You Asked It

Damn Girl Ya Look Good

Dressing butch, dealing with chub rub, and more thoughts on cultural appropriation.

Hey! I recently became vegan, and I’m having trouble finding a pair of flat shoes that I can wear to school, work, and everything else! My low-top Dr. Martens are currently attached to my feet at all times, but I had to get a slightly obscure pair from eBay because it’s impossible to get their vegan shoes in my size (7½). I was wondering if you could possibly recommend another pair of black, lace-up, low shoes that look great?

It sucks when the shoe you lust for doesn’t come in your size! Luckily, there are a bunch of non-leather options out there for our hooves. Many shoes these days are made with a popular “fake leather” known as polyurethane, which means they’re cruelty free and also pretty inexpensive. Double bonus! has a few cute Oxfords, like this lace-up pair and these studded ones. ASOS always has great shoes, many of them are made of leather: take a lurk at their black brogues. What’s cool about a pair like that is that they would look ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS with bobby socks and a dress, OR you can wear them to work with black slacks, OR you can dress them up with a pair of glittery tights for a nighttime concert. So versatile, my babies! These guys, on the other hand, are more casual but pretty cool for everyday wear. And if you want to get really fun, how about these polka-dot creepers?


Top left to right: brogues, $58, Asos; creepers, $58, Asos. Bottom: flats, $33, Asos; Twinkle Wingtip Flats, $42, ModCloth

If none of these work for you, many websites have a specific section for vegan shoes and apparel, including Zappos and Lulu’s. Happy hunting! —Marie

Hi! I’m a pretty curvy girl, and I love to wear dresses and skirts, but when summer comes, I have no choice but to wear leggings, otherwise my thighs rub together and it hurts like hell. I’ve resigned myself to wearing shorts, but I wanna show my legs like Nadia! How can I prevent my thighs from getting irritated?

I FEEL YOU, GIRL. Chub rub is the worst. I suffered from thigh chafe for years before finally finding internet communities where women openly discussed it. It was really freeing to talk about something that had previously been embarrassing, and even better because everyone could share their tips on how to prevent/relieve it. Believe it or not, wiping deodorant between your thighs is one of the most common remedies, and it actually does work, but it’s temporary—it won’t last all day, but it’s fine if you just need to run out for a little while. Same with anti-chafing creams that they sell at drugstores, like this one by Monistat or this one by BodyGlide. My favorite find is from an independent Etsy seller—it’s called Secret Shield. Lots of us who suffer from chub rub swear by this stuff. It’s all natural and works WONDERS. It lasts a really long time—maybe not all day, but almost. But it’s small enough to carry in your purse, so you can run to the bathroom and reapply if you need it. In a pinch, you can try wearing spandex shorts under your dresses and skirts, that way you won’t change your look of the dress, like you would with leggings, and you’ll be super comfy! My fellow Rookie Krista wrote all about this. I’m not loyal to any particular brand, but I’ve heard these are good. —Gabi

I had really short hair—shaved on the sides and short on the top—for many years. I decided to grow it out, and right now it’s chin-length and looks like a little girl’s hairstyle. My short hair made me feel really powerful and strong, and more confident about not conforming to gender stereotypes. I don’t identify very strongly with being a woman, and I don’t like to present myself as feminine. I really like my hair, but I feel sort of like I’m selling out or weakening myself and like I should be dressing butch to balance it out. Do you have any thoughts about this? —Emma

First of all, the only thing that matters is that you feel happy with how you look and what you wear, so you’re definitely not selling out, whatever you choose. I had waist-long blonde hair for a long time, but as my style is rather tomboyish, I wanted to try something more edgy. Right now I have the same ’do as you, and I love it. It’s the real chameleon of hairstyles. Depending on how you wear it, you can go from preppy to rebellious with a few strokes of a comb and some products. Take Mia Wallace, the badass character from Pulp Fiction—her look is anything but childish, and her outfit (the oversize white shirt, slim black pants, and simple flats) is chic, but not especially feminine. For this sort of style, I recommend a visit to the hair salon. Short hair tends to grow back in a hopeless shape without any help, and a professional can give you some definition, especially if you want the ends to be blunt and bold. Alternately, you can save yourself the trip and go for the slicked-back look. Paired with thick, accented brows, it’s a strong, appealing, androgynous style that has been rocked by icons from Chloë Sevigny to David Bowie. Finally, the tousled bob is my daily favorite. I would call it bedhead or bad-hair day, but it’s misleading because people with either really straight or really curly hair have to put in a lot of effort for this seemingly effortless look, while Patti Smith probably always looks this amazing. To me, this is a timeless punk-rock style: pair it with ripped jeans, a band T-shirt, and a denim or leather jacket and you are eternally cool. (See also: adorable Ezra Miller and Agyness Deyn).

Clockwise from top left: Patti Smith, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and unknown model

Clockwise from top left: Patti Smith, David Bowie, a model pictured in Flare magazine, Mick Jagger

Also, if you’re looking for some butch inspiration, I highly recommend the Girls in Suits Tumblr—I love every single ensemble here, and it will give you lots of ideas for dressing less feminine, no matter what your hairstyle. Check out this tuxedo-style pantsuit. Or this jacquard blazer. Or this oversize pinstripe one. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the women’s department, try the men’s. Accessorize with neckties and suspenders, like the always-dapper Janelle Monáe. There are so many options out there! Go find what makes you feel good about yourself. —Emma D.

My school is having a dress-up week in May. I’m considering wearing one of the kimonos that my mom gave me from when she lived in San Francisco (I think she had Japanese friends). I’m not sure of my views about cultural appropriation. I’m half Indian and half English, and I was born in America but brought up in England—I mostly identify as transnational with a dollop of English. Japanese people are not a significant ethnic minority in the UK, and therefore I’m not aware of any prevalent cultural prejudices/discrimination. Does that make it OK for me to wear a kimono? If it is, I’m not sure if I should properly dress up with geisha-style makeup, which could be seen as contributing to a stereotype, or if I should incorporate it into my normal style by wearing it over pants and a top, which could be seen as demeaning a culturally important garment. I don’t want to offend anyone, but at the same time, I want to be able to wear the beautiful kimonos that are sitting in my closet. Please help! —Lala, 18

Lala, my ally in this endlessly tangled, relentlessly messy sisterhood of TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING: Hello and thank you for asking this question! I have to admit it intimidates me, because there has been so much already said about cultural appropriation, and in particular, so much said about why it’s more than just “offensive” (a word that makes me cringe, because it trivializes our human capacity to be pained and degraded by the monstrous institution of racism). I’m not sure how to best summarize or include all of the amazing writing and thinking that already exists AND add my own voice to the noise, but I will try!

From the way you explained your dilemma, it’s obvious that you’ve thought about this a lot and want very much to be sensitive and thoughtful, so some of what I’m about to say might already be old news to you, but for anyone who is reading this and thinking, Just wear the kimono! What’s the big deal? I do want to say a few things. It’s not that only Japanese people who are 100% Japanese get to wear traditional Japanese clothing, or that certain races and ethnicities have exclusive ownership over certain styles of dress. The big deal is that there was a time when people with Asian features (a catchall term) had real fears of being identified as Japanese and, in America, faced internment during World War II. No, it is not 1942, and yes, you are talking about another country, but people who “read” (meaning are seen and identified by others) as Japanese or East Asian are STILL exoticized, mocked, stereotyped, hypersexualized and desexualized, and considered foreign in countries regardless of how many generations of their family have lived there.

The big deal is that privilege exists, in small, medium, and large ways. Privilege is how when white bodies are clothed in, let’s say, tribal-inspired clothes and accessories, it is considered fashion, but when brown and black bodies do it, it is not. And furthermore, sometimes those same black and brown bodies who choose to wear clothing that is culturally significant for them are punished and persecuted for doing so. Just think of how much shit Muslim women have endured for choosing to wear the hijab, including several attempts at passing legislation specifically designed to prevent them from doing so. Privilege is when bodies that read as white can wear a headscarf on the street without worrying about being attacked, either verbally or physically or both, but brown bodies do not have the luxury of not worrying, because they are wearing a turban or a headscarf in a world that systematically tells us these things are scary on brown people. Privilege is when someone like Gwen Stefani rips off the style of Japanese youth who hang out in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo and is praised for her daring and verve and creativity, and for discovering such a goldmine of fashion, which by the way, is similar to how Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, land that was already occupied by people. For centuries, white people have plundered and stolen the styles of the very same cultures they put down as being savage, uncivilized, undeveloped, and primitive. And none of this is “fun” for people of color who have long been relegated to the background of fashion editorials, whose voices have been silenced and erased, whose cultures have been caricatured and stereotyped on TV and in film and music videos, or trivialized as mascots, or fetishized for the purpose of dressing up!

Forgive me for taking so long to get to your original question, which is whether it’s OK for you to wear a kimono. Will it surprise you if I say sure, go ahead and do it? Because, in a way, that is my answer. Or at least part of it. Being sensitive about cultural appropriation, at least for me, has little to do with abiding by a set of rules (e.g., unless you are X ethnicity, you cannot wear Y item of clothing)—rules like that do little more than assign ownership to culture without engaging anyone in even the smallest amount of critical thinking. And without critical thinking, we cannot begin to subvert, overthrow, or revolt against the insidious nature of racism. Being sensitive about cultural appropriation is a lifelong process of being open to learning about what various signifiers (like clothes) have meant depending on who is wearing them. Being sensitive about cultural appropriation is about challenging yourself to really examine your own reasons for wanting to wear a certain garment, and challenging yourself to learn about the long and complicated and often depressing history of how certain groups of people have been criminalized, policed, and humiliated for what they wear. The only rule I can think of is that no one’s desire to wear an article of clothing is more important than someone else’s pain.

You’ve clearly thought quite a bit about how you want to wear this kimono, and it sounds like it may have been a gift given to your mom from some of her Japanese friends. Instead of seeking permission to wear it, seek knowledge and awareness, like you already are! Your eagerness and willingness to ask questions, to be critical, to be unafraid of being thoughtful is far more important than any set of guidelines I can give you. Keep asking questions and educating yourself. I’m not Japanese, and I don’t know what it would feel like for me to see someone wear a kimono to school. Maybe I wouldn’t care at all. Maybe it would irk me a little. Maybe it would be deeply upsetting. I can’t tell you if it’s better to dress it down with jeans or try to show up in full geisha makeup. I do know that I don’t want to be anyone’s costume. I know that there is so much more to Japanese culture than kimonos and geisha makeup, but that the dominant imagery of Japanese women and fashion that has been reproduced and disseminated in the West seems to focus on it. So my impulse is to say you might want to stay away from geisha drag. But most of all, I want to encourage you to come to your own ideas about what is right, and more important, be willing to make mistakes and be called out for it. People of color or mixed racial backgrounds do not get a pass for not wanting to critically engage in what cultural appropriation means, but we certainly do have more to navigate and think about. It might be overwhelming and exhausting, but the alternative—accepting and turning a blind eye to the way privilege and racism operates in our world—is far, far worse.

If you want to do some further reading, here are a few links, including a dialogue between some Rookie staff members, to get you started:

Good luck, Lala! —Jenny

I was genetically cursed with perpetually dark, puffy circles under my eyes. I can sleep for 12 hours and put on half a container of concealer and they’re still visible. People frequently ask me if I’m tired or sick or, occasionally, on drugs. Any advice?

Both my sister and I have the same bruise-grade circles, which, as you know, are often hereditary. We have endured questions (“Who hit you?”) and consolations (“I hope you get some rest”) our entire lives. We have different complexions—I have sallow olive skin, brown hair, and brown eyes, and my sister has Snow White skin, blue eyes, and long blond princess hair—and we deal differently, so we’re both going to answer your question.

Me first: I do not do, nor have I ever done, much to deal with them. I think I just accepted them early on. They were part of my look, they gave my face some character, and I would rather not have to spackle on concealer every day. There are some really beautiful, iconic women who have dark under-eye circles—Susan Sontag, PJ Harvey, Mila Kunis—and plenty of folks who find them beautiful. I know lots of people whose hotness is derived from a perceived flaw, like gap teeth or a manly chin or a mole or a walleye. So my flaw is that I look like I haven’t slept since the last Bush was in office, but I roll with it, confidently. It takes way less effort and expense than makeup. (But for times when I need to look a little more “done,” I use the same M.A.C. concealer that Lauren mentions below.) Also, I have noticed that the more green foods I have in my diet, the less pronounced the circles tend to be, so I take a Garden of Life Perfect Food Super Green supplement along with my normal multivitamin and fish oil. —Jessica


My “solution” involves makeup, every damn day. I’m certain that you don’t NEED under-eye tricks, just like my sis—who looks f’real beautiful without covering up her circles—but if you’d like some makeup tips, here we go.

I’ve tried potions and cucumbers and cold spoons and more, but my circles are genetic, and cucumbers aren’t magic. I’ve also tried color correctors (many people love these, but they didn’t look “natural” enough for my liking) and the YSL Touche Éclat concealer that all the beauty magazines praise (so lovely, but so many dollars), but I ended up loving this M.A.C. Moisturecover the most. It’s relatively affordable ($18), it’s available in lots of shades, and it lasts all day long. Otherwise, I recommend visiting a makeup counter or a Sephora store, where someone who understands undertones can recommend—and let you sample to your heart’s content—lots of options, until you find the perfect one for you. And if you need something in the drugstore price range, visit the fancy makeup counter, have a profesh select the right shade, and ask for a little sample to take home. Then you can find something elsewhere that most closely matches your fancy sample.

For me, these daily steps really help:

  • Start out with moisturizer and sunscreen (protect that skin!). I have combo (dry but with occasional breakouts) skin, and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer doesn’t make my face freak out any further.
  • Sparingly apply and blend dots of concealer on only the darkest spots.
  • Curl lashes and add mascara.
  • Add a little bit of blush—Tarte’s cheek stain and 12-hour blush are my faves.
  • Finish with a sheer powder, like M.A.C.’s Skinfinish.

Also, stay hydrated—drinking water all the time helps a ton with puffiness, and a little bit with the darkness. Hope this helps, you dark-circled beauty. —Lauren R.

If you have a style/beauty question for Marie et al., please send it to


  • amanda May 8th, 2013 12:17 AM

    About cultural appropriation: I have so many questions, but I don’t have time to articulate them all right now, so I’ll just ask one for now.

    (If I’m wrong about anything I’m saying, please do reply to this and correct me)

    I’m not sure I fully understand the concept of “race”.
    What constitutes race in a person? Is it biological characteristics? Is it defined by where you are born? Is it the two combined?

    The reason I am so confused by this is that, in Brazil, I am white. My family is part Brazilian, part Native (South American Native), part European, but in Brazil, I am considered white, no doubt about it. And I believe that if you were to show my picture to a group of Americans, without giving them any additional information about me, they would all agree, “yes, she’s white”. But if you were to tell them that I am Brazilian, a bunch of them would probably correct their assessments and say that I am Latina and/or Hispanic instead (or does Hispanic only refer to Spanish speaking, so all of Latin America EXCEPT for Brazil?). So what race am I? And what does it mean that different people see me as being a different race? Is race relative? Like how Irish and Italian people in the US were once considered not-white? Or is race usually biologically determined, and America is this weird exception where “white” is not a race, but something a person “becomes” once they are fully accepted into American society?

    I’m sorry if anything I said offended anybody, I’m really curious and trying to learn.

    • Kimono Cat May 8th, 2013 4:32 AM

      Hi, as a fellow racially confused person, I thought that I’d do my best to answer your question!
      Okay, so historically, before there was widespread international travel, people had to have children with people in the neighboring areas. After generations of this, as they adjusted to their climates, people in their respective breeding groups started to look vaguely homogenous.

      So breeding groups are why people in people in different parts of the world look different. Race itself is a social construct. That’s why people in different places think you’re different things. Because it’s all in their heads!

      So, my darling Amanda, I can’t answer your question as to what race you are. The entire concept of race and breeding pools, in my opinion, have become irrelevant due to international travel. The entire world is a breeding pool now!
      But to get back to you, I see that you seem to think race is a concrete thing, and that you must either consider yourself to be white or latina. Why can’t you be both, and consider yourself mixed race? So that when people call you white, you can say, no, I’m mixed race, and if they ask you to clarify you can say that you’re partly european, partly native American, and part brazillian. So yes. That is my official advice to you. You are part of no race, because race is a social construct, but you are also the result of intermingling breeding pools, i.e. mixed race.

      I hope I’be clarified things to you somewhat!

      • amanda May 8th, 2013 1:04 PM

        Hi Kimono Cat!
        Thanks for taking the time to answer! I actually agree with you that race is becoming irrelevant in a world where so many people are mixed already.
        At the same time though, it’s easy (and I’m guessing also highly offensive) for me to say “race is irrelevant” because I benefit from white privilege.

        I believe race is a stupid concept when people insist on using it to sort others into separate groups, but racism still exists and it deeply affects people’s lives, so we can’t just toss the concept of race altogether either.

        Anyway, this is all very complicated but I’m glad to be able to discuss it here! I guess I can think of myself as mixed while still acknowledging my privilege. It’s odd though, cause sometimes people who pass as white get slammed for asserting a non-white identity (like when Elizabeth Warren mentioned her Native heritage. Like mine, it is a very small percentage of her family/ancestors, but it was there, so it it part of her).

        • Kimono Cat May 8th, 2013 4:05 PM

          Oh yes, I agree that race is *somewhat* relevant because, sadly, there are still racist people out there.

          In terms of privilege, I guess that I myself am quite an interesting case. I definitely consider myself to be privileged because I live in an expensive house in a major city, I have a trust fund from my grandparents, ect. However, I could never, ever, pass as white. In terms of skin colour, I’m kind of like Beyonce.
          So, I worry about dealing with the flip side of what you’re talking about: Looking like a person of color, while not identifying with many things that are associated with black culture. I mean, my mother is a black woman from the Caribbean. Her father was one of the first black men to ever go to Harvard, she was confirmed by a freaking arch-bishop, and so on and so forth. And yet, despite the fact that she is as privileged as a black woman can be, when she first started dating my dad (who is a WASP), my grandparents hired a PI to make sure that she wasn’t a gold digger. Imagine that! What if that happens to me! Or what if other people presume other, horrible thing! I really dread the day that that happens.
          P.S. As someone who is one eighth Amerindian, um, here’s a virtual slightly native high five! I suppose that because I clearly present as a POC that I don’t have to worry as much about being slammed for stating my native ancestry, because most of my ancestors have suffered in some way. Or something.

    • Bethany May 8th, 2013 5:07 AM

      Hi Amanda!

      Fellow mixed person here :)

      I agree that the topic of race is huge and confusing and scary! Especially when you are also considering the topic of ‘white passing’ (people ‘reading’ you as white when you are not).

      A really good introduction to the history of race can be found here. I found it really useful when I was trying to figure things out-

      There is also lots of interesting novels on being mixed and/or ‘passing’ as white. Whilst, these do not provide definite answers about race they certainly provide a space to think deeply about these things. Nella Larsen’s ‘Passing’ is a personal favourite of mine (I think it was mentioned in Rookie before actually!)

      I hope this helps!!



      • amanda May 8th, 2013 1:07 PM

        Thanks for the link, Bethany! And yay PBS!
        I’ll definitely look up the book you mentioned :)

    • Afanen May 8th, 2013 6:19 AM

      Hello Amanda,

      from my point of view, I think you understood the concept of race pretty well: From an objective viewpoint, it’s simply rubbish. Race is, what other people define you to be. You are defined “white”, “black” or “hispanic” by others, simply on a handful of randomly chosen hereditary properties, usually in a way that is most convenient for those control the derfinition.
      For example: A lot of people have their earlobes attached to the side of their heads, while others (like myself) have “dangling” earlobes. While shape your ear hasn’t anything to do with your hearing, the genetic difference between different shaped earlobes is wider than between people of different skin tone. So why aren’t races defined by the shape of your ears?
      Simply because some (white and probably male) guy defined it that way. And that was done in a time, when nobody new anything about genetics.

      So biology does not play any role when it comes to define what race is. That makes it a purely social construct. And as such, it is defined by the views and interests of the people who express it. In my opinon, this is the reason why the definition is so blurry: The boundaries are simply made up, and depend on the background of people who define them.

      I believe that we should toss out the idea of races all together, we humans as a species come in an astonished amount of variety, and the tone of someones skin is as much influence on what kind of person they are, as has the color of their hair.

      The world might be a better place, if we just began to accept that.

    • battynatty May 8th, 2013 9:31 AM

      In America you would be considered latina. No one can become white it’s more of an “my family came from Europe at some unspecified timeand more than 75 percent of my background is white.” although even then the definition is tricky because you have old “one-drop” rules where if you have any non-European heritage you are considered to be that and not white. Even though those rules aren’t really in service anymore, the mentality hasn’t quite gone away

    • Runaway May 8th, 2013 9:58 AM

      I’m off topic, but I just wanted to say that the “Latin” tag isn’t properly used in the US. The word “Latin” doesn’t just refer to people from South America or people who speaks Spanish, but to people from all European and American countries who speak languages which are derived from Latin:
      Roughly speaking, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian people are Latin, too.

      • Runaway May 8th, 2013 10:50 AM

        I’m saying this because I’m tired of finding films and tv series all over the Internet which are said to be dubbed in “español latino”. Spanish is always “latino”, it doesn’t matter whether the person speaking it comes from Europe or from America. Both varieties of the language come from Latin.

        Honestly, I don’t get why South American people accept the tags that people from the US have imposed upon them. I think it would be much better to say “American Spanish” and “European Spanish”, as they say “Portuguese” and “Brazilian”. But I don’t blame them, because I think people from the US have made the term “American” their own. We have the word “estadounidense” (somebody from the US) in Spanish, which I think it’s so much more accurate, because America is not the US, it’s a whole continent!

        And I want to add that the vision of cultural appropiation found here is too “American” for my taste, too, as bigbird said below me. I’ve seen Native American headdresses in the work of the Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa. Is that cultural appropriation? Maybe, ’cause they’re exoticizing Native American culture…But they aren’t white (even if they’re privileged whithin Japanese society) and haven’t historically oppressed Native Americans. So…what is it, then?

    • soretudaaa May 8th, 2013 1:48 PM

      I’m curious about the exact same thing (I’m from Argentina) and I’m not entirely sure about what my “race” would objectively be, because I was born and raised in Latin America, but my heritage is a mix of native and european. If someone were to look at me, they’d probably say I’m white, but I don’t identify with that because my culture is so different from what it is commonly associated with white people and more linked to Argentinian culture, and I don’t think, as a Latin American woman, that I have the same privileges as an American or European person.

      • Runaway May 8th, 2013 3:48 PM

        Hi, soretudaaa!
        I’m European and I really don’t understand what you or other rookies mean when you say “privilege”. Think about places like Cyprus or Greece; they’re located in Europe, but they’re going through a very tough time. I don’t think they’re privileged. Also, as amanda said, some of us (Celtic people, Mediterraneans, or Slavic) aren’t always considered white enough. My two cents is that privilege is not about race, but about money. But that’s my experience over here.

        • Henni May 8th, 2013 6:33 PM

          The european part is very interesting, since many people are talking about a european heritage as being white. In Europe, white is something you are if your heritage is scandinavian, german, french, dutch, russian, and so on, while people from Greece or Bosnia are not considered as white. I know a lot of people whose parents came from Armenia, Herzegovina, Yugoslavia or Albania, and they have the skin tone that would be considered “white”, but since they have different facial features than a british/swedish/icelandic person, they are not considered as entirely white.

        • soretudaaa May 8th, 2013 7:45 PM

          Well, I disagree, I think there’s much more than money to privilege. Going through a tough time at the moment isn’t comparable to the whole cultural concept that comes with being European or North American. I don’t think European or North American whites are discriminated against the way all other “races” (I don’t love the concept of race but I can’t find a better word) are, for example, if a white European person moves to America it’s way more likely than they’ll be accepted than if a Mexican or Cuban or Colombian (or any Latin American) person does, regardless of economic situations. I also don’t think Latin American people have the same opportunities as someone living in Europe does (again, regardless of economic situations). And these things going on in Europe right now: unemployement, evictions, crime, etc, they’re ten times worse in South America and they have been for a long time (with rare exceptions like Chile, and Brazil to an extent, even though they stillhave a long way to go). The only difference is that we’ve grown accustomed to them (sadly), and that there’s not a clear chance of getting away from that in the near future (but hopefully I’m wrong).

          Now, I do agree with you that certain European ethnicities are also discriminated against but, generally speaking, I don’t think it’s the case.

        • Afanen May 9th, 2013 3:44 PM

          I don’t think priviliged is used in a monetary sense here. “Priviledged” in this sense is someone, who is not subjected to discrimination.
          In a way it is the opposite of discrimination: Where someone is discriminated someone else has to be priviliged. For example: A company discriminates people of colour, by paying lower wages to them. Then you can say the white employees are privileged, because they have a better income. That, however, does not imply that anyone of them gets a fair wage!

          So even in Greece some people can be privileged, although all of them are going through a pretty rough time right now, and none of the, feels like that. Simply because there is inequality between groups of people.

          In that sense, I don’t think privilege is about money. It’s about power. It’s about the power to define, more precisly.
          Those who hold this power, grant privileges to one group, by discriminating another. There for, the privileged often don’t even know, they are privileged. They see their status as normal, because -in most cases- it is normal. But of cause, those who are discriminated go against the privileged for their privileges, which leaves the real oppressors in a very comfortable position.

    • Moxx May 8th, 2013 6:19 PM

      This drives me crazy. Sou brasileira too, and I have trouble when people ask me my ethnicity. I am no doubt racially white, but I consider myself culturally latina (my family is Brazilian and Chilean, among a lot of other things, and I speak Spanish and Portuguese and eat Brazilian food, etc). Sometimes people have told me that hispanic/Latina only applies to non-brazil Latin America (why?). Worse yet, people have said “yeah but you don’t LOOK Brazilian! You’re not tan and don’t have a big butt (please, people…)”. I feel that brazil is so like Cuba in the sense that it’s a very mixed population, but it also has “pockets” and some people from brazil look NOTHING like other people from brazil, and there are lots of cultural differences inside the country as well. I just don’t see what I should call myself, then, just because it seems to be a grey area thing…

      • Afanen May 9th, 2013 3:59 PM

        I am, what most people would consider the archetypical white girl, so I’m probably out of my line here, but if someone asks you about your ethnicity, why don’t you tell them to please sod off? I, personally, think this is quite an impertinent question to ask someone.

        One of my closest friends comes from a Pakistani background. But if you hear her speak, there is no doubt she’s Welsh. And yet, whereever we go she’s asked where she comes from. She always simply answers “Mumbles” (which is the borough in Swansea were she grew up). Nobody ever asks me questions like that (and here they are again, the sodding “privileges”).

  • pearl irene May 8th, 2013 12:26 AM

    As far as vegan shoes go, canvas classic Vans are vegan and oh so comfortable for humans with wide feet. May not be the style everyone is looking for but I’ve found I can wear them with pretty much anything.

  • woahmeredith May 8th, 2013 12:49 AM

    A thought for the vegan shoe wearer: The faux-leather stuff is actually really terrible for the environment and the people who make it. The stuff is made from scary chemicals, is toxic for the workers, and could take thousands of years to decompose. Faux fur is equally terrible. Also, there are many myths about animals who are skinned, like that they are abused and killed in really awful ways. That isn’t really true with most tanneries, because when you abuse the animals, the leather comes out at a lower quality and costs you more in the long run. So abusing your animals doesn’t make good business sense.

    However, pleather is still really cool because it’s cheap and you don’t feel like you’re wearing the skin of something, so I personally always make sure to buy it thrifted or vintage.

    ps extra points rookie for bringing up Ezra Miller in a convo about hair. His hair was the reason why hair was invented.

    • Stellalune May 8th, 2013 3:10 AM

      I had the same exact thought about the shoes… If you want to be really Eco friendly you should go with thrifts/ second hand shoes.. (Why throw them out if they’re still good to wear)
      Congrats for living vegan though, I never had the will power and I love cheese waaaay to much ;)

    • soviet_kitsch May 8th, 2013 8:52 AM

      yeah, i agree about leather. actual leather is sometimes better for the planet than vegan leather. i am a vegetarian and i wear thrifted leather and would have no qualms about buying it new because it is a legitimately useful material (not that i’m trying to put down anyone! i admire somebody who can make a commitment and stick to it). converse are awesome vegan shoes, too. i wear mine every day lol.
      also +10000 points for your ezra miller comment. he’s so pretty <3

    • marthaflatley May 8th, 2013 3:17 PM

      I am sure we all wish that this could be true–that animals at fur farms and leather tanneries are not abused and killed in awful ways.

      Most animals are anally electrocuted and kept in ridiculously tiny cages where they go crazy and chew their own limbs off. There are many great documentaries about this where you can see it with your own eyes.

      My favorite is The Witness about a guy with a cat who made the connection to animals at fur farms one day and goes around in a van showing people footage from fur farms.

      Also watch earthlings on youtube.

      and see for yourself.

      • woahmeredith May 9th, 2013 12:09 AM

        Marthaflatley, I used to be in your boat. I’ve seen one to many videos to count of animals being abused in different tanneries, and they’re all from anti-fur activists. The problem with their videos, is that the places they’re investigating are cheap tanneries that make cheap leather and cheap fur. A huge issue with the fashion industry today is that fast fashion has made for terrible working conditions. So yes, there are extreme conditions where animals have these issues, but really, leather and fur are luxury products so those are abnormalities.
        Most luxury brands carry the OA seal of approval, which means they are in a country which heavily regulates standards in the fur trade. In fact, many fur brands support legislation that will make factories safer for animals and the employees. ex, Kopenhagen Fur which runs the largest fur action house in the world. They have to live up to code or their business gets shut down.
        Also, most animals are killed with carbon monoxide, it’s cheaper, faster, and the animal just goes to sleep. The fact is that abusing animals like in those videos doesn’t make business sense. Profit is the most important part to these businesses, and that’s what their priority. Anti-fur activists, on the other hand, their priority is to validate their point and change public opinion, so they’ll find extreme conditions to do that. Further, you’re not really seeing it with your own eyes, you’re seeing what the activists want you to see.
        The businesses legally have to be transparent, PETA and others don’t.
        Just saying.

  • elliecp May 8th, 2013 2:21 AM

    these posts are so helpful!
    There’s amazing vegetarian boots from Brighton, but I can’t think of any other vegan shoes, I hope you find some! Vans are always a good option, and you could customise them :)

  • bigbird May 8th, 2013 2:32 AM

    I know in your thing about cultural appropriation you do say that ‘yes you are talking about another country’ when you explain how Japanese people were persecuted in America, and I’d just like to say well yes she is!
    I don’t mean to be rude but when dealing with a cultural appropriation issue in the uk, it might be an idea to have a British girls input, otherwise by telling someone foreign to behave like or analyse their behaviour like an American would/should, that’s cultural appropriation too.
    Britain has an entirely different set of issues surrounding racism and multiculturalism than the USA does.
    I’m British and I’d say wear it, specially if its a garment that means a lot to you personally, however if there are any Japanese kids in your year run it by one of them first? but don’t worry about Japanese people being a persecuted minority in Britain, to my knowledge, they aren’t, everyone I know sees Japan as a kindred culture being a creative island nation and all, and thinks Japanese fashion is cool. Saying that a British Japanese girl might see it differently, but they’re the one to ask, not an American maybe.

    • starsinyourheart May 8th, 2013 5:51 AM

      I agree with this — UK/US are very different. Check with Japanese girls in the UK maybe :)

    • Akua a May 8th, 2013 10:57 AM

      I agree so much with this post.

      Almost all the stuff I have seen on the internet on cultural appropriation is from the viewpoint of an America, or about how American’s appropriate, but I hardly ever see anything about other countries.

      I grew up in Australia where we learn Japanese and, at my school, had Matsuri day every year. We were encouraged to dress up in full blown Geisha gear, or as me and my friends did, full on Harajuku style. It’s a culture that’s celebrated and we had Japanese exchanged students who would come over and absolutely love it they saw people who had taken Japanese influences in their style of dress.

      That has nothing to do with the question though since Lala is from Britain. The answer had a lot of good info, but I thought the actual answer to the question was neither here nor there. I think that the answer would have been different if coming from someone who lives in Britain, even better, a Japanese person who lives in Britain.

      I live in England now, and my school has a fairly large Asian population, I know that if I chose to wear a Kimono the vast majority of them would not care at all and some of them would think it’s amusing or kind of cool.

      • Rae0320 May 8th, 2013 7:16 PM

        Sorry, this isn’t really related to cultural appropriation, but it’s just my two cents – I wish Rookie had a more international approach to the articles/themes in general – I sometimes feel it is VERY focused on the USA, life in the USA, the American Dream, and so on.

        I would love more articles/photos/stories from abroad, from far-flung places and countries, recipes for international cuisine, more about travelling, about cultures and belief systems etc that aren’t based from an American viewpoint. Maybe even a World theme. I don’t know, just an idea.

  • enchantedviolin May 8th, 2013 3:02 AM

    As a westerner who’s been very lucky to spend a lot of time with Japanese people I’d say one of the easiest ways for a non-Japanese person to offend a Japanese woman is to wear geisha make-up as it reads as though you think the only women who wear kimonos are geisha. Though the majority of Japanese women rarely wear kimonos on a daily basis they are still worn for all sorts on traditional and religious events.

    On the extreme end of the scale I have a friend who used to work in a ‘hostess club’ and she gets very upset when anyone calls her a geisha.

    Also geisha make-up is of very high quality and symbolic (as is being a geisha in general) – it’s so easy to mess it up – so unless you’re very certain of what you’re doing I’d say avoid.

  • hellorose May 8th, 2013 7:00 AM

    I haven’t looked at the rest of the article yet, but I clicked onto Nadia’s blog and she is SO HOT! She looks incredible – such a great sense of style! New crush right there.

  • Samantha Tennant May 8th, 2013 9:45 AM

    To the girl with the inense under eye circles… the Make Up Forever concealer is amazing. Yeah it’s spendy, but you don’t need much. It covers EVERYTHING (even tattoos). It got me through a rough semester in college when I was tired (ha) of everyone asking me if I was part zombie.

    Here is the link to it at Sephora:

    • taste test May 8th, 2013 4:40 PM

      seconding this! I have dark circles under my eyes too. I almost never wear makeup on my own, but my mom makes me on special occasions. the concealer I had did absolutely nothing for my eyes. one day she got fed up with it and said “we are going to the mall and finding you a concealer that actually works.” and that’s what I ended up with! it’s like magical. it is expensive, though- I’m just lucky enough to have a mom who’s kind of crazy about keeping my appearance up to her standards.

  • loonylizzy May 8th, 2013 9:57 AM

    very interesting bit about cultural appropriation. i’ve heard a lot about it lately, and i’ve been confused about the concept for awhile. i’ve never been able to find an article that explains the issue as well as this one. this definitely clears it up.

    also, ezra miller’s hair! <3

    also! vegan shoes – i'm surprised nobody has mentioned TOMS yet. they have a whole line of vegan and sustainable shoes and are insanely comfortable. plus they're versatile, AND they're for a good cause.

  • Chloe22 May 8th, 2013 10:08 AM

    Cultural appropriation is so complicated…I mean, my dad grew up in an American Indian family, but his father was Scottish, and his mother remarried, to a racially Native American guy. Does that mean my dad appropriates when he keeps his ceremonial feathers and occasionally takes me, my sister, and my mom ( who are Polish)to Indian pow wows? Was he appropriating when he went to Indian Dance competitions in his teens, with his brothers who looked completely different from him? Stealing and making it your own is terrible, but just participating in cultural activities that aren’t your own culture is fine with me. Does anyone remember that boy who was African American and became a star in the Irish Dance community?

  • Wisteria May 8th, 2013 1:15 PM

    The argument that tribal dress is only trendy on white people is something that irks me.
    If I was to walk around in a kilt and torque with blue swirls painted on my face I would probably be getting some funny looks.
    A LOT more funny looks than a South Indian wearing a sari.
    I can how an Indian girl wearing a bindi might be viewed as a weird religion thing, while a white girl doing it could be seen as more trendy and pop culture-ish, but thats not exactly appropriating full on traditional dress.
    All I’m saying is, its actually less acceptable for white people to dress like their ancestors than it is for non-whites.
    To dress like other race’s ancestors may be, for some reason, more acceptable to white people.
    But only to a certain extent.
    A white girl wearing a feather might be considered stylish or something. A white girl wearing buckskin robes, moccasins and a feather headdress would be stared at very badly.
    Just because they did it in some hipster clothing store’s catalog does not mean its acceptable or widely done in real life.

  • marthaflatley May 8th, 2013 3:08 PM

    To the vegan shoe wearer,
    I have a blog and an awesome pinterest board with a ton of cool vegan shoes on it. I scoured the web to find cool but classic shoe styles and there are links so you can buy them all online. I hope it is helpful to you!

    I started a vegan shoe blog a few years ago to try to help people find vegan shoes but it has turned into more of an animal rights blog recently as I have learned and watched so many more videos of the way animals are treated in our culture. I really respect what you are doing–it is so hard to give up SHOES…but you will see that there are actually a lot of cool vegan shoes out there, you just have to know where to look. Also the plus side is vegan shoes are usually very cheap…because real leather is expensive. is my vegan shoe/vegan blog. I hope you find it helpful!


  • RaineFall May 8th, 2013 3:16 PM

    On top of the amazing advice, I’m so glad that I’ve found Nadia’s blog and Racialiscious through this! As for the cultural appropriation issues its something that really irks me but I can’t explain why. I’m Indian ethnicity, born and raised in the UK, and my first school was majority white, and my second majority ethnic minorities. Jenny I thought your argument was really well explained and carefully thought out and I felt it really helped me with trying to get to terms with my own issues with it.

  • Leah Rose May 8th, 2013 4:42 PM

    I totally understand where Emma is coming from I am 14 and have had short hair (never past my shoulders) all my life but for the past 5 years I have had a pixie cut of some description. However a few months ago I started growing it out and it now is just past my chin e.g a kids haircut, my reasons for this were so that I could begin to experiment with it but also I was sick of being mistaken for a boy due to my boyish figure and style of dressing. It also lead to me facing constant questions upon my sexuality most in a joking manner I may add and I usually laughed it off but it began to really get me down. I now really miss it though and that feeling of empowerment and confidence it gave me!

  • AnoHana May 8th, 2013 5:57 PM

    What I sometimes miss here is a point of view that is NOT American. Like, I’m very European and I often feel like many topics are treated only for Americans from Americans. The question about cultural appropriation definitely needs a different point of view.
    I live in Europe and I have never understood the American views of “race” and heritage. To me, race is a stupid concept to categorize people, but I do agree that people from different parts of the world have different looks. That’s just how it is, but I hate using the terms white, black or brown because I have never seen a person who was LITERALLY black or white. There are just people with dark skin and people with light skin and there’s a million shades in between. And that’s totally fine and doesn’t matter at all.
    However, the American concept of heritage and ethnicity is another weird thing. Like, people claiming that they are 25% German, 12% Irish, 35% Russian and 28% Italian. I don’t really see someone whose great-grandfather was German as German.
    So what I actually wanted to say that the whole culture thing is a really complex topic that should be seen from various points of view. There aren’t as many people from Middle & South America in Europe, so when people talk about “latino” race etc. it is very US-centric.

    • Wisteria May 9th, 2013 12:07 AM

      Yes, these topics are US centric, but thats because this is, after all, a US based website.
      These issues tend to be more touchy over here, so it is relevant to us Americans.
      I would not expect to find a lot of articles aimed at Americans on, say, a Finnish based website.
      A non American approach to the topic of cultural approbation may be refreshing, but it does not apply as well when you are actually living in the US.
      You say there aren’t as many people from Middle and South America where you are, but the thing is, they DO live over here, so these topics need to handled in a different way than they would be where you are.

    • marj0 May 13th, 2013 10:17 AM

      as an European girl (Dutch) I couldn’t really understand these articles about race and stuff. It felt like I was that ignorant, privileged white girl (according to these articles) , but in RL I don’t feel like that at all. I don’t discriminate, I don’t think in black, white, asian etc…
      Should I feel guilty when I wear a cardigan which is kimono inspired? And what if i want to wear cowboy boots?

  • bridiebird May 9th, 2013 1:44 AM

    Jenny, I really liked reading your response. Was really interesting and very well put. I personally am interested in learning about Asian cultures and I feel as if my style is influenced by this, and although I’ve never really worn something like a kimono I have never really thought about the reasons why I choose to dress like I do (e.g. Is it because of my interest in Japanese traditional wear or because I saw Grimes wearing it and I thought it looked really good?). Thank you.

  • Susie N-W May 9th, 2013 11:33 AM

    You don’t have to wear geisha makeup to dress properly in kimono!
    Everyday makeup, an updo hairstyle, and you’ll look lovely.

  • Kitty07 May 9th, 2013 5:21 PM

    Does anyone know where that Flair picture is from? If someone could link me that, I would really appreciate it, and you would receive many cyber-hugs!

    • Kitty07 May 9th, 2013 5:25 PM

      I meant Flare magazine. Oops.

  • Unicorn At Play May 10th, 2013 9:19 PM

    Thank you these ar always so helpful!!!

    Hey anyone, quick style question (Sorry this is this column), what is a good brand of mascara for us newbies?? Thank all ya Rookies out there!

  • littlesherbert August 12th, 2013 6:36 AM

    To the lass with the dark circles. I used to look puffy but I seem to have grown out of it, your body will change. My diet also seemed to have an impact on it, more greens and good stuff helps.