Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, especially not on the red carpet at the Met Gala, but that’s just where we find ourselves. I assume that like myself, most people look to Business Insider for the most nuanced and astute take on matters of both culture and fashion. So maybe it should be no surprise that they’re the ones who published an incendiary OpEd that’s been making the rounds on Twitter today, questioning the lack of criticism towards The Met Gala organizers and stars who participated in the theme Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and Catholic Imagination. Using Rihanna as an example (the only example, mind you), the author asks (and I can’t help but to hear it as a Carrie Bradshaw voice-over in my head) why have the “social justice warriors” allowed such a blatant display of “appropriating papal culture” to occur unchecked? Hmm, that’s a good question, Carrie.
I will concede that The Pope is an underrepresented minority, as is Rihanna. There’s only one Pope and there’s only one Rihanna. This is a plain and simple fact (sure, The Pope can regenerate, but Rihanna is forever). While there is no agreed upon, definitive definition of “cultural appropriation,” it is generally used to describe occurrences where the dominant culture (in this case, non-Popes) adopts elements of a minority culture (The Pope, Rihanna) that are enabled by an imbalance of power. If you don’t know this by now, then you haven’t been reading your back issues of Business Insider.
This OpEd has got a lot of people who have never really acknowledged or accepted CA as a phenomenon before, suddenly very concerned about it. As the OpEd suggests, the left has “left Catholics out to dry.” Sad!
If the #metgala was themed after Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. no one would hesitated call this cultural appropriation. My faith is not your fashion statement.— Overly Excited (@Tay_Day3) May 8, 2018
Re: #MetGala - I am not remotely offended by the appropriation of cultural and religious iconography we saw yesterday. I’m just curious to know why the professionally outraged took the day off and gave that red carpet a pass.— Ben Mulroney (@BenMulroney) May 8, 2018
I'm just realizing the Met Gala did "Catholicism" as its theme this year. Which is fine by me, but I don't want to hear any more complaints about cultural appropriation or, white people in sombreros on Cinco de Mayo, or whatever, from the Hollywood left ever again.— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) May 9, 2018
Robby makes a good point. At least I think I follow his logic. Let’s see: Many Mexicans are Catholic and therefore can dress as The Pope, the current and future Popes are allowed to dress up as Rihanna, Robby gets to wear a sombrero when he dines at Chevy’s on Cinco De Mayo, and whoever this “hollywood” person is, just has to deal. Did I follow that correctly? If so, damn, I can’t wait to see The Pope’s Rihanna themed Halloween costume this year!