On this week’s episode of Keeping Up With Kim Kardashian, the multi-hyphenate is in the heat of cultural appropriation allegations — once again. Last week, the reality television star took to social media to tease her latest photoshoot with photographer Sita Abellán in tandem with a KKW Beauty launch, one of the many brands from her sprawling empire. Kardashian posed in a floral and fur top, webbed red bottoms and long nails, but what really stole the show were her oversized silver hoop earrings adorned with the sacred Hindu “om” emblem which symbolizes ultimate consciousness.
The internet spares no one and nothing, not even time, so the backlash that quickly followed comes to no surprise. One user on Twitter wrote, “Is now a good time to mention that the Om is a sacred symbol to Hindus and not just an accessory?” Another added, “Please stop abusing my religion and my culture for clout. You have no idea what it means.” Much of flak centers around the commodification of culturally significant imagery as fashion statement. Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, released a statement imploring the mother of four to issue an apology to the Hindu community and emphasizing that “celebrities should be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. Zed continues, “It was deeply trivializing of immensely revered ‘Om’ to be displayed in such a manner.”
As we all know, this is far from the first time that the 40-year-old has been set aflame for her blithe outfit selections. In 2018, Kardashian sported Fulani braids (a style indigenous to Black women) and then in a brash turn of events, dubbed the style “Bo Derek braids.” The following year, she wore traditional Indian maang tikka head jewelry to a Christian church service. Ahead of the launch of her shapewear collection, she also filed for a trademark of the word “Kimono” as wordplay on her name for the brand but after the internet swooped in to call her out she opted for “Skims.”