- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A viral photo of a Utah teenager’s prom dress labeled “cultural appropriation” in the U.S. has received a far different reaction in mainland China.

Keziah Daum, 18, sparked a flood a criticism on April 22 after posting images on Twitter to celebrate Woods Cross High School’s prom. Her traditional Chinese qipao, or cheongsam, prompted calls of racism and “cultural appropriation” by throngs across U.S. social media, but Weibo users had a very different perspective.

Some of the positive feedback was aggregated by The South China Morning Post on Tuesday.

Weibo reactions included:

  • “Very elegant and beautiful! Really don’t understand the people who are against her, they are wrong!”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”

The teenager, who picked up the outfit at vintage clothing shop in Salt Lake City, told Fox News on Wednesday that her intent was never to malign Chinese culture.

“I wore the dress because I really respect the culture and I believed it was very beautiful,” she said.

Her original tweet was “liked” more than 102,000 times and generated a conversation with over 16,000 comments.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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