The Problem with DIY Culture


Kenedi McCoy

DIY or do it yourself is very common in social media, from videos showing people how to make recipes to giving tips on how to do things like fix a chipped cup. One thing that has been circulating lately on social media is the recreation of popular cultural styles. This can range from clothing, foods,  hairstyles and more. While this may seem exciting and fun to most it can also seem disappointing or disrespectful to others. When a dominant culture does not acknowledge elements of a minority culture and takes those elements as their own, it can be seen as tasteless. 

Certain cultural styles have been trending ever since the late 90s to early 2000s as most can remember the Chicano/a and Y2K style era, but most don’t know that these styles originated from Latino and African American culture. A lot of these styles with accessories like bandanas became very popular and soon everyone was wearing them which led to more blatant appropriation of cultural clothing and accessories like bindis, headdresses, and hijabs. Another example of this is cultural clothing in halloween costumes. While halloween is a day to dress up as whatever you want, dressing as someone’s culture is not very considerate.

Things like this happen today but have another side to it that makes it even more skeptical. A recent video surfaced on August 23 on Twitter and Tiktok of Hailey Bieber doing a lip liner gloss look and claiming she created it. She called it the Brownie Glazed Lips. This was lining your lips with a brown eye pencil and putting lipgloss over it. What many people came to realize is that women of color have been doing this style of lips for years. Another video surfaced of a famous Tiktoker claiming she started what she called the clean girl aesthetic and sticky bangs which was using gel to slick back your hair and edges and applying minimal makeup. This is a style that women of color have been doing for years also. It doesn’t stop with just clothing and styles but also food.

There have been many videos surfacing on social media of people taking cultural foods and claiming they created it. One example of this is food and drinks from Hispanic cultures like conchas, horchata, agua fresca, elote, esquites, and ceviche which many are calling seashell donuts, mud water, spa water, street corn, mexican corn salad, and shrimp salsa, respectively. As Hispanic culture has grown, their native foods have become more popular causing many to try to recreate them. Naming these foods something different or even something offensive is the very definition of cultural appropriation.

The problem is not that they are embracing the style or culture, it is that they are claiming it as their own and not giving credit where credit is due. All of this is not to say that people shouldn’t embrace different cultures and try different cultural foods or styles, but they should be aware of where these things come from and appreciate the originators.