Western Astrology Is Harmful Cultural Appropriation

And I’m not a fan

Isvari
Published in
6 min readMay 19, 2021

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This is a top photo for astrology on Unsplash. So much cringe. Photo by Tania Medina on Unsplash

I don’t like astrology. There, I said it. You can accuse me of being intolerant or ignorant, but you’d be wrong. Unlike most Americans, I actually grew up immersed in the culture. And I’m a woman, a strong feminist, and a frequent writer on gender politics. So don’t say I’m sexist.

But what I am is Hindu. And if I see one more question on if hating astrology is anti-women, I’m going to punch something. To me, that argument is simply the latest fad of rich white feminism — of people who are so privileged that they don’t realize claiming to be a minority is just another example of it. Men aren’t hating on astrology because it’s a female thing. White men are hating on white women who are into “Eastern things” because they’re racist.

And the women who are into it are often racist too. Fighting words, I’m sure, but hear me out.

Just look at the title photo. It’s one of Unsplash’s top suggestions for “astrology.” I could be wrong, but it looks like three white women, wearing cornrows and locs, random butterflies, flowers, and weird bindis. (Dear lord, third eyes aren’t literal, sheesh.) On top of that, it looks like they’re wearing kurtas. I have no problem with white people wearing kurtas — in fact, I wish more of them did. Kurtas are great office wear, party wear, and midnight-gas-station-run wear. But when white people only wear them in a “mystic” or “religious” context, then that’s offensive. Do you think 1.2 billion Hindus are sitting around meditating all day and waiting for the stars to align? Surprise, but we do lead normal lives too.

Yet the internet is teeming with op-eds on hating astrology being sexist, while there is barely anything about the blatant cultural appropriation. Why? Is it because, as always, the feelings of white women are much more important than the feelings of Brown people?

Astrology is not your thing to claim.

The rise in astrology was very much tied to the rise of interest in Hindu spirituality, but we get no credit

While several other cultures have astrological components, it is Hindu mythology specifically…

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Isvari
#StopAsianHate

CEO of DG Sentinel. We help superheroes like you find your squad, change the world, and share your story.