Peppa Pig and the American girl who wore a qipao to prom and was attacked for it

A lot happens on the Internet every day, not just in China but around the world. Two big things that stuck out for me were Peppa Pig and the US girl who got attacked for her qipao.
Keziah Daum's Twitter

Keziah Daum, a high school senior from Salt Lake City, Utah, caused an uproar when she wore a qipao to prom.

A lot happens on the Internet every day, not just in China but around the world. Two big things that stuck out for me over the past few days were Peppa Pig and the girl in the United States who wore a qipao to her prom and got attacked for it.

Last weekend one of the things everyone was talking about in the US, and then China, was Keziah Daum, an 18-year-old high school senior from Salt Lake City, Utah, who chose to wear a stunning red qipao to her high school prom.

Qipao is a traditional Chinese dress that received a makeover and became a cultural icon in 1920s Shanghai.

Keziah said she was on the hunt for something that wasn’t too skimpy and gave her a feeling of modesty, while still looking amazing.

But after posting pictures of herself in the dress online, something completely predictable happened — someone attacked her for her choice of the dress and accused her of “cultural appropriation.”

“My culture is NOT your (expletive) prom dress,” an angry man called Jeremy Lam tweeted, which was then re-tweeted 40,000 times and garnered 180,000 “likes.”

Self-appointed cultural police are rampant now in many Western countries, and the dreaded term “cultural appropriation” is one of their favorite new terms.

It basically describes the idea that you should stick to your own culture and your own cultural products, or else you’re somehow offending or denigrating said culture.

The problem here is that we live in an ever-global world, where sharing ideas and thoughts and art and progress is a key component. No one understands that more than the people of China, and I seriously doubt a single person living here would have been offended by Daum’s gorgeous prom outfit across in Utah. Quite the contrary.

Jeremy Lam, exhibiting irony that probably goes miles over his head, wears an adidas cap in his Twitter profile pic.

I wonder how many Germans are offended, and if he’ll apologize to the good people of that country when he’s done bullying teenage girls.

SHINE

A group of Chinese young people show off their Peppa Pig merchandise.

What’s with Peppa Pig lately in China?

If you’ve been online lately, you will have noticed the proliferation of Peppa Pig memes.

But the funny thing is that you might not even realize that Peppa is a cartoon character from a popular — at least with little kiddies — but otherwise unextraordinary TV show from the UK.

That’s because over the past few months, the unassuming little character has taken on hugely popular status among teenagers across China, especially in third-tier cities.

The little piggy even helped popularize a new meme, shehuiren (society people), which represents being worldly wise, despite being of limited means.

Peppa Pig tattoos and watches and other merchandise help these kids show, with a huge dash of self-awareness and irony, that they’re “somebody.”

But the popularity of the cartoon character with rural Chinese teens searching for identity couldn’t have come at a worse time following “Elsa-gate” earlier this year, when vulgar and violent cartoons were produced and spread online.

So Peppa, too, has had her tail clipped a bit, with popular Peppa search terms on apps like Douyin being blacked out.

The Chinese-language Global Times ran a piece recently saying that those who popularized the little pig as a cultural icon in this way are “unruly slackers.”

One thing is for sure, though: Peppa Pig will survive in some form or another in China. She raises US$1 billion per year in licensing and merchandise fees and has been streamed tens of millions of times already on Chinese platforms like iQiyi and Youku.

And don’t forget, next year is the Year of the Pig!


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