Students at Pitzer College are demanding white women stop wearing hoop earrings. I know it sounds absurd. They are claiming that they “belong to the black and brown folks who created the culture.”
Yesterday, the student newspaper, the Claremont Independent, reported that a message spray-painted on the college’s free-speech wall said, “White Girl, take off your hoops!!!”
Also in a campus-wide email, Alegria Martinez of the Latinx Student Union expanded on the message, saying she painted it with other women of color who were “tired and annoyed with the reoccurring theme of white women appropriating styles.”
You might be asking yourself, as I did, since when has a hoop earring become only a ‘Latina’ or ‘brown girl’ thing? The answer is as follows: Martinez said that hoop earrings come “from a historical background of oppression and exclusion,” and that they are worn, along with winged eyeliner and lip liner, as “an everyday act of resistance, especially here at the Claremont Colleges.”
Jacquelyn Aguilera, a student at Pitzer, also believes she has the right to say who can and cannot wear hoop earrings. I have never heard such nonsense. Not only are these girls presuming to tell other women what they can and can’t wear, they are also presuming to know something that just isn’t true.
“If you didn’t create the culture as a coping mechanism for marginalization, take off those hoops,” Aguilera wrote in an email to her fellow students. “If your feminism isn’t intersectional take off those hoops, if you try to wear mi cultura when the creators can no longer afford it, take off those hoops, if you are incapable of using a search engine and expect other people to educate you, take off those hoops, if you can’t pronounce my name or spell it … take off those hoops/ I use ‘those’ instead of ‘your’ because hoops were never ‘yours’ to begin with.”
The historical claims made by Martinez and Aguilera are wrong: The use of a search engine or two will verify what is to follow:
Hoop earrings have spanned diverse cultures. The New York Metropolitan Museum’s collection alone includes Sumerian hoops created between 2500-2600 B.C., Egyptian hoops possibly as old as 1981 B.C., Frankish hoops that date between 675-725 A.D., 6th or 7th century Byzantine or Langobardic hoops likely made in Italy, 8th-century Indonesian hoops, 11th-century Iranian hoops, and dozens more.
In other words, hoop earrings have been worn by cultures over the centuries by oppressors and the oppressed alike.
To say a culture has a monopoly on hoops is silly. In fact, to claim a monopoly on hoop wearing or eyeliner may look more and more like a case of bullying and oppression than cultural appropriation.
In my view these ignorant Latinas need to get a life, and stop the bullying; because quite frankly, it's ignorant.