An oldie, posted originally in 2013, but a goodie when it comes to cultural symbols and whether or not the adoption of them in pop culture is cultural appropriation. Selena Gomez is certainly not the first pop star to use a bindi, specifically, in her performances (e.g. Madonna, Gwen Stefani), but that is not a justification for the continued use. Or is it? Well the Hindu Leaders at the Universal Society for Hinduism were certainly not impressed…
The bindi has landed Gomez in hot water with Hindu leaders at the Universal Society of Hinduism who want her to apologize for wearing the religious adornment.
“The bindi on the forehead is an ancient tradition in Hinduism and has religious significance,” Hindu statesman Rajan Zed told WENN. “It is also sometimes referred to as the third eye and the flame, and it is an auspicious religious and spiritual symbol… It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory aiming at mercantile greed. Selena should apologize and then she should get acquainted with the basics of world religions.”
The Times of India noted that there were other traditional Indian motifs to Gomez’s performance. “Come & Get It” opens with a man singing in Punjabi with tabla percussions heard in the background. She paired the song with some classic Indian dance moves, done while barefoot.