Oh wow, she must be the coolest 9-year-old in town!! I've never seen anything like this before (for a young girl's birthday party), and I think it's fantastic!! I love all the details :) It's all so lovely!!
What a creative theme! A very worldly 9-year old, I'm impressed!
Okay, so I know I am getting in a bit early, but after I saw these photos my sister took I have been wanting to throw Priya a Indian themed birthday party. I can't believe that you are posting this! WOOT! Great ideas for me to save. I probably won't do it till she's at least 6 or so, but as her name is Indian, I thought it might be fitting (we'll have to have a greek one for Theo!).
Do these pictures, particularly the birthday invitation photo, not make anyone slightly uncomfortable?
Oops, meant to also add, perhaps there is some connection to India or Indian culture I am missing and couldn't garner from the blog posts. But um, yeah.....
I don't know, Elita. My impression was that the party looks like a very respectful celebration of many beautiful aspects of Indian style and culture, obviously translated into a children's party context. I don't see what is bothersome about the invitation, but perhaps I'm missing something. Sorry if you found this offensive! I would love to know more of your thoughts and reasons why...
That CAKE looks SO yummy! I love all the little details and think that girl is so pretty. I love her doll and would love to know where she got it. I will visit the site for more. I think it's so important to teach kids about different cultures and this party seemed perfect for teaching, and I'm sure the guests had lots of questions and things to talk about at the party and at home with their parents. Love this.
It feels like a misappropriation of Indian culture to me. I know that often white people can't see these things so it's not surprising to me that no one here could find it offensive. Do you remember this cover of Ms. magazine? http://bitchmagazine.org/post/ms-magazine-offends-with-summer-coverLots of Asian people found that magazine cover offensive. It's not just the cultural stuff, that invitation is an appropriation of religious iconocgraphy as well. As someone commented on the Bitch magazine page, it's not offensive if you feel entitled to use iconography from a minority culture for your own purposes. It just smacks of exoticising and othering and makes me very uncomfortable as a person of color.
I definitely hear what you are saying, Elita. I appreciate your willingness to point these issues. So, a few things:1) I do not assume that all the people on this comment thread who like the party are white.2) I agree with you about the ickyness of exoticism or othering. I guess I just have to figure out how one can steer clear of those things altogether while at the same time seeking to expose kids to the customs and traditions of different cultures. I remember attending a Japan-themed party as a kid, and it was both incredibly educational and fun. My (yes, white) friends had lived for a time in Japan and this kid's party was thrown after they returned to the US. The mom had a gorgeous, authentic Kimono and accessories, down to the Geta sandals and Tabi socks. She took turns carefully dressing each girl at the party in the outfit, explaining the ritual of dressing and the significance of each piece of clothing. She gave us a mini-language intro, we ate sushi (the first I had ever had) and we made origami crafts. It was wonderful, and I have never forgotten it! So, I guess this whole conversation now has me asking myself, was that type of party "wrong" or in bad taste?3) I see crafty american bloggers doing Parisian themed kid parties right and left. If I had a dollar for every mustache, cockeyed beret, and badly rendered Eiffel tower...I guess my point here is that white people can be the subject of stereotype or cliche as well (by other white people). So, I don't know -- is it all harmless... or horrible?
i think this party is great, especially for the age group of the girls. i suppose id be interested in hearing from an indian person if this is borderline offensive to them, with their personal significance to the themes touched on in the party.
I have to comment again. From a Latina (born in El Salvador) perspective. I am definitely not white. And I definitely don't find this party offensive. If Leigh would have highlighted a Salvadorean birthday party with cultural dresses, food, and children dancing to Salvadorean music, I would have totally fell in love and admired the children learning about my culture. I think pointing out a specific part of the party, like the invites for example, and stating how it would be more culturally sensitive is one thing, but to say that the party and pictures are offensive, I think is a bit extreme. I think the party was a beautiful way to learn about the Indian culture. I love the Indian culture (specially the food), and from what I read from the original blog and post, they researched and read books on the culture, not just threw together what they felt like.
Elita, there are well over 1 billion Indians in the world, I don't think that qualifies as a minority culture! Theirs is much bigger and older than ours. Especially since this doesn't have much to do with NRIs (non resident (in india) Indians) but just, Indian culture in general.While it's definitely something to take into consideration, the fear of misappropriation can be overdone as well. If this was celebrating the culture of say, some eastern european country, it wouldn't be an issue. We should encourage the learning about other cultures, their dress, their language, their customs, their food, their history, not deem it "off limits" just because we are of a different culture.I can speak from experience here, because I am madly in love with India and it's culture, but I'm so well trained from my feminism classes that I am too shy to even mention India to an Indian lest I come off like one of those over-yoga'd crazies, or like i thought that just because they're from india they'd want to talk about it with me. But my husband loves to tell every indian we meet that I am learning Hindi and love everything india since he gets free stuff and instant BFFs all the time when he speaks to Chinese people in Chinese, so my secret doesn't usually stay a secret anymore! I was also part of the Indian Student Association in college (they asked!) and Inter-Cultural Exchange so I also know that, at least everyone I've met absolutely love it. The Indians I meet get a real kick out of a gori learning Hindi & having the same movie star crushes as them. They can't believe it when they say "Hi, I'm from India!" and I ask them where.. and not only do I know of their town, I usually know what their state and native language is. All Indians (and of course I mean Indian-born Indians, I don't assume that just anyone of Indian heritage shares my interest) who's ever learned my little secret has been super excited and friendly and talked my ear off. I also worked at the International Center at my college, and we tried so hard to get the American students involved in the cultural events of the international students, to try to share their awesome cultures/food/dance/dress...and rarely did any Americans show, so it was always just the international kids teaching each other about their homelands (and me, because I love it.) One of my Indian friends gifted me a Sari & another helped me put it on, and every Indian there came up and had their picture taken with me, lol. But I was one of the few American students there, and it actually hurt many of their feelings that no one seemed to care about their cultures, when they like our culture so much.So in summary: If it's done respectfully and without resorting to stereotypes or outdated ideas of those people, it's usually well appreciated when people learn about (and love) another culture.
I am colored too! And there are a few times when I wish Said's Orientalism was more widely read. But this party seemed beautiful to me, an honoring of the gorgeousness of how the Indians can really throw a party. I love how the girls were dancing it up Bollywood-style.There are so many ways to be offended in this world, but just as many if not more ways to feel delight in imitative flattery!
Hey!So Im not trying to be mean or harsh, but this makes me a bit uncomfortable. This seems like essentializing orientalism. I think white people taking on the 'costumes' and aesthetics of a people of colour is kind of questionable. No matter how much respect one has for another culture, unless one is of it, it is kind of a problem to dress up as 'others'. This is my impression.
Boy, it would be a major drag if all I could wear was a hanbok and rubber boat shoes! The flip side of this is the issue of cultural hegemony. That's a bigger buster for me; that 'white' constitutes the default.I say, let's melt together babes!I'll stop the world to melt with you! I've seen some changes and it's getting better all the time! There's nothing you and I won't do!The future's open wide!
I think some people just like to find a problem with everything. Oh, can Americans only have "American" themed parties? Hot-dog, red, white, and blue, picnic-themed? Seriously. It looks like a wonderful, sweet party!
I am Indian "from India" living in US. I think this party is awesome. Yes there r some elements missing but considering work you put, think this Party seemed great. Very creative. Most important, your daughter had fun. I am planning something creative for my 8 year old and your party has inspired me. Keep up the good work. as we say in India, "When an Elephant walks on the streets, (being, large, strong, unique animal), Dogs are bound to bark.
So, I'm totally tardy to this party, but felt compelled to comment! I am Indian, and a true believer in a "world-wide" culture, and find this party in no way offensive, degrading, or American-izing/ White-washing of Indian culture, art, or visuals. It's beautiful. I have heard, for the amount of times that India was invaded anciently, most Indians actually possess some level of Western blood. I believe it's beautiful to blend cultures, and for children to be shown how beautiful they are. Just my $.02. Anything can be taken out f context; I've been to many Indian celebrations and gatherings here in the states where things were not "authentic" to a T, but whatever, the meaning was there, the beauty was there. This party rocks.