Kendall & Kylie Back On The Cultural Appropriation Debate

It begs to be seen if the Kardashian/Jenner family will ever get tired of getting dragged on the Internet for being culturally insensitive. Earlier this month, their sister (and Interview cover star) Kim Kardashian received backlash for defending makeup artist Jeffree Star against (well-documented) claims that he's racist, telling her fans to “get over it.” Kendall and Kylie were literally just called out for putting their faces on a line of “vintage” band tees that included Tupac and Biggie Smalls. Now they are being accused of appropriating Chola culture.
On Saturday, @lipstickittty called them out on Twitter, sharing a screenshot from their clothing line, @KendallandKylie’s Instagram account, alerting followers to new arrivals on the website. The model in the photo was wearing a plaid shirt with only the top two buttons fastened, a black lace bralette underneath, black slacks, and huge hoop earrings. @lipstickittty captioned it, “@KendallJenner @KylieJenner will you ever come up with your own ideas? #culturevultures
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“I first saw the image on the explore page and I immediately noticed something was wrong when I saw that it was posted on the @kendalandkylie page,” Ashley Sherengo, who goes by @lipstickittty tells Refinery29. “What bothers me is that they don't ever come up with their own original ideas. They are always taking ideas from others and never give credit. Aside from being unoriginal, it's definitely irritating to see these girls making money off a culture they know absolutely nothing about. When we —Latinas and Xicanas— dress in flannels and big pants, we get profiled and frowned upon. But when they do it, it's ‘fashion.’”
The post clearly struck a nerve and was retweeted over 2,000 times. Even makeup artist Kat Von D chimed in on the conversation, writing “Damn posers.”
One user, @esa_maldita responded to @lipstickittty's tweet with an article explaining what exactly made the Instagram so problematic. In an article for Vice, author Barbara Calderón-Douglass laid out the history of chola culture and what it signifies. “The chola aesthetic is the result of impoverished women making a lot out of the little things their families could afford,” Calderón-Douglass wrote. “Many of the early cholos and cholas were the sons and daughters of farmworkers, a group of people exploited at high rates because of their lack of education and their vulnerability as undocumented people.” Cholas often wore wife-beaters over baggy pants, with plaid shirts not unlike the ones for sale on Kendall and Kylie’s website for $145 (£112).
“They can educate themselves by interacting with us (Latinas/Xicanas) but even then, it still wouldn't make it ok for them to be selling clothes that look identical to what cholas in the 80's and 90's would wear,” Sherengo continued.
The post has since been deleted off on Instagram but the shirt is still available online. “I don't know their thought process but I really hope they will learn from this experience and take time to reevaluate their strategy when it comes to putting together designs,” Sherengo said.
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