Why is it okay for non Scots (or rather non celts, but I’m focusing specifically on Scotland in this post) to appropriate tartan? I don’t get it!
That tartan belongs to a specific clan, a family, whose heritage (and my culture) is being reduced to a miniskirt in Hot Topic. I mean, we’ve had to fight for our national identity; we’ve had to fight to be freaking recognized as our own people; our culture was made illegal in our own country and we’ve been the subject to mass genocide in the past. We’ve got a lot of baggage as a country, so why are there no social justice warriors out there fighting to stop the appropriation of Scottish culture? Is it because we’re mostly white?
Seriously? It’s okay to appropriate some cultures but not others?
Ok so. Whenever anyone says something along the lines of ZOMG PLAID APPROPRIATES SCOTTISH PEOPLE, I have to laugh. Because I know some stuff about plaid.
Firstly, that not all plaid is Tartan - Tartan being the specific patterns representing specific scottish clans. Most fashion is plaid, not tartan.
Secondly, that the whole tartan thing was largely invented in the 19th century.
“James Logan’s romanticised work The Scottish Gael, published in 1831, was one such publication which led the Scottish tartan industry to invent clan tartans. The first publication showing plates of clan tartans was the Vestiarium Scoticum published in 1842.”
It’s true that the people of the British isles have been weaving cloth with a crosshatch pattern roughly since they worked out how to dye wool, but it was -just clothes- until some super-romanticized exotified fucking fad in the 19th century.
But that said, hey, I will totally back serious Scottish people who are petitioning for the removal of specific tartan patterns from popular use in fashion; to my knowledge any plaid that I buy and wear (generally in form of flannel shirts and PJ pants) is just plaid and not tartan, but if a Scottish person saw me wearing it and said ‘hey that’s actually [this specific tartan] and you don’t have the right to wear it’ you better believe that I’d actually stop wearing that garment. Because i do in fact make it my business not to hurt people if I can avoid it and it is not that important to me to be able to keep wearing a specific article of clothing.
But really, I’ve never heard a Scottish person bring this up. I’ve only ever heard it brought up by Americans of Scottish descent who are uncomfortable in conversations of cultural appropriation that aren’t focusing on them.
You’re upset that no one is being a legitimate voice about Tartan? Be one.
I don’t blog about tartan because I am not Scottish.