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MTV Awards 2017: Farrah Abraham’s Bollywood-style lehenga stirs up ‘cultural appropriation’ controversy

Farrah Abraham's choice of a pink and gold lehenga-choli has been slammed for cultural appropriation.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
May 8, 2017 12:36:44 pm
MTV Awards 2017, MTV Awards 2017 red carpet, Farrah Abraham, Farrah Abraham lehenga, Farrah Abraham lehenga red carpet, Farrah Abraham cultural appropriation, cultural appropriation, MTV Awards 2017 red carpet, Farrah Abraham fashion controversy, indian express, indian express news Farrah Abraham channelled Bollywood on the MTV Awards 2017, in a bid to ‘bring culture to the red carpet’. (Source: AP)

Well, it’s not only Bollywood beauties who are ruling the international red carpet scene. Turns out, the fascination for Bollywood is such that now Western stars are opting for Indian traditional attires for prime events. The most recent being Teen Mom OG star Farrah Abraham, who dazzled in a mirrored golden choli and pink lehenga with golden appliqués (we call that gota) at the 2017 MTV Movies and TV Awards on Sunday (May 7) at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Abraham ditched the weirdly usual cut-outs and odd silhouettes that dot the awards red carpet for a lehenga from Taal Boutique & Bridal, teaming it with some over-the-top jewellery that included a couple of elaborate necklaces, a maang tika, a bindi, and a LOT of bangles – and hair styled by Guy Levi. According to a TooFab report, Abraham “wanted to bring culture to the red carpet”, adding that the look made her feel “freaking amazing, Bollywood and sexy!”

Farrah Abraham arrives at the MTV Movie and TV Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Source: AP)

Unfortunately, though, Abraham’s outfit stirred up a storm for all the wrong reasons. The reality show star was slammed on social media for appropriating Indian culture. Many said the choice of garment was very ‘culturally insensitive’, while some joked that she was a desperate plea to win over ex-boyfriend Simon Saran. From bad and desperate to being targeted for “lack of respect for a culture”, tweeple minced no words while lambasting her on the micro-blogging site.

Here are some of the reactions her very bridal-looking lehenga outfit garnered:


And though more neutral voices were drowned in the overwhelming backlash, there were a few who thought Abraham looked stunning, and loved her Indian-Bollywood look. Sample some of the tweets here.


The slamming of Abraham wearing a lehenga to a red carpet event poses an interesting question, though. If we, as Indians, are perfectly comfortable with wearing gowns to Indian events, then what’s the harm in Western stars wearing an Indian garb? Sure, it’s a bit over-the-top, but does it need to be trashed for ‘cultural appropriation’?

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