Not respectful?

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Henna Zebra
Last seen: 6 years 6 months ago
Joined: 2010-09-05 00:06
Not respectful?

So,I was with some friend at this place we hang out when my friend (Indian,if it matters) step sister looked at my henna. I'm sorta a nerd,and often put references to Internet in jokes (Memes) in my art. On my palm,I had a sort of Indian-style design,with a triforce (Zelda) in the middle,and in the circles enclosing it,I had put in script "N00bs Can't Triforce". As her stepsister looked over my other designs-An Awesome Smiley hidden in some intricate circles,A small Van within some geometric shapes( the van was purposely left almost orange),Some other memes, She said incorporating such things into my henna was wrong to do because she thinks henna is a thing only for weddings and celebrations,and that it is supposed to be traditional. Is it wrong to put Memes and In-jokes in my henna?

(I know it sounds like a stupid question and that I should ignore her,But I just want to make sure.)

Last seen: 7 years 1 month ago
Joined: 2010-05-08 22:45
Re: Not respectful?

Ignore her! She's totally off base or at the very least repeating mind-less "rules" she's heard from someone else. I have henna'ed someone's a** I don't really think that's very traditional but you know what? I don't care lol. You can henna whereever and whatever you choose to because in truth there are no "rules". Yes henna is used for weddings and religious celebrations but that's not ALL it's used for. Some people just don't know when to relax and let go.

Last seen: 5 years 1 month ago
Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: Not respectful?

Jeans were invented for big strong men to do serious, hard, work without shredding their trousers. Women shouldn't wear them simply because they're comfortable and look nice. See my point?

No one culture owns henna. Henna, although used for sacred occasions, is not in and of its self a sacred item. Think Christmas tree... Christians may take an evergreen into their home to celebrate the holiday, but the tree isn't considered sacred.

Last seen: 3 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2010-04-27 18:23
Re: Not respectful?

The cultural concept (meme) that there is a "right way (our way) to do henna because henna is a (our) sacred ancient ritual tradition" has largely been created and proliferated by two groups:

1) There is the meme of "henna is OUR tradition and ONE of US might be terribly offended if YOU do it" .  That one plays well into the memeplex of people who are trying to soothe their insecurites by claiming an ancient, precious and impenitrable heritage.  (Its fairly unusual the person actually claims that they are offended.  Please note that they are claiming this on the behalf of an anonymous "other")  If they admitted that henna is just fun and everyone can enjoy it, they would have to give up feeling special. 

2) There is a meme of "henna is THEIR exotic, ancient sacred ritual, and THEY might be offended if YOU do it".  This one plays will into the memeplex of white liberal wanna-be-anthro-heros who want to shelter poor fragile dark people who might be swept away by western imperialism.  (Its fairly unusual that the person actually claims that they or a specific person are offended.  Please note that they are claiming it on the half of an anonymous "other").  The person making that claim gets to feel very morally superior, and if they admitted that henna is just fun and everyone can enjoy it, they would have to give up feeling special.

These two henna meme variants are often propogated as absolute truth. They have only the most tenuous connection to verifiable reality, though they FEEL real to the people who are emotionally invested in them. 

The "claim upon the behalf of an anonymous other" usually positions a claim as a meme, and possibly in the class of "urban legend". 


Posted from my PhD, critical analysis and memetics of henna cubicle.

Last seen: 7 years 3 months ago
Joined: 2010-07-02 02:30
Re: Not respectful?

Okay, I can't put it better than Catherine, but I guess everyone has their own interpretation of henna, just like any art form.  She might not like it, and that is completely fine, but she shouldn't tell you you're wrong, that makes no sense.  If it makes you feel better, I've seen lots of henna designs like the ones you described.  Just like there is not one way to paint, or write, or sculpt, there is not one right way to henna.  Now...if you had done this hundreds of years ago, you might have had a problem :P

Would love to see some photos of your work :)

Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 2010-05-08 00:09
Re: Not respectful?

I don't get annoyed when somebody borrows MY ancient traditional Sharpie marker and draws silly stuff with it.  Why should she get her panties in a bunch over henna?  It's JUST henna - a shrubby little plant that doen't get offended by anything cos IT'S A PLANT.

:)  As CCJ says - people who get offended on behalf of The Ancient Secret Traditions of My People™ are full of Bologna.  And not the kind in Italy.

Last seen: 6 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2010-05-08 15:06
Re: Not respectful?

I agree with what's been said before, but more than anything, I'd like to see the henna! I'm intrigued now :)

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