The 18-year-old student from Utah was heavily criticized on Twitter for her Chinese qipao, or cheongsam dress, with many accusing her of “cultural appropriation.”
Social media users in China, however, showered her with praise for her wardrobe choice. Many people viewed her as appreciating Chinese culture instead of appropriating it, reports the South China Morning Post.
“Very elegant and beautiful! Really don’t understand the people who are against her, they are wrong!” a netizen commenting on an article by Wenxue City News was quoted as saying. “I suggest the Chinese government, state television or fashion company invite her to China to display her cheongsam!”
“It is not cultural theft. It is cultural appreciation and cultural respect,” another one wrote.
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Daum’s story has also been a widely discussed subject on local social media platform Weibo, where many similarly expressed their support.
“Culture has no borders. There is no problem, as long as there is no malice or deliberate maligning. Chinese cultural treasures are worth spreading all over the world,” a user pointed out.
Similar sentiments have also been aired by Asian Americans on social media.
“I’m Chinese, and I’m not offended. She looks awesome and respectful in it,” a Facebook user commented on NextShark. “I mean it’s not like she shredded it into pieces or anything like that. People are trying too hard these days to make a fuss. I like that others appreciate my culture. Stop the idiocy.”
Of course, there is a wider spectrum of opinion on the matter, especially when it comes to the different experiences of Asians in Asia and Asians in America:
Daum has since expressed that she has no regrets wearing the dress, telling SCMP that it projected a “wonderful message.”
“I posted photos for my friends to see. I never imagined it would go so far,” she was quoted as saying. “I am sorry if anyone was offended. That was never my intention. I am grateful I was able to wear such a beautiful dress.”