Earlier this week, TikTok star Addison Rae posted an Instagram photo posing with a motorbike. At a quick glance, it's Rae, styled in a white crop top, matching miniskirt, and black knee-high boots. But if you zoom in and look a little closer, you'll find an elusive hair accessory woven into her blonde highlights: a teeny-tiny feather extension.
The clip-in feather might bring back memories of dragging your mom to Claire's when you were in middle or high school. Like butterfly clips and scrunchies, hair feathers were hugely popular in the early 2000s, and much like butterfly clips and scrunchies, they appear to be making a comeback. However, in the year 2021, we've come to consider that the colourful feather hair clips might be problematic and could potentially be considered to be a form of appropriation of the Native American culture.
The question of whether or not hair feathers are okay is nuanced, and there's an entire Reddit thread on the topic. Some argue that wearing a feather in your hair is inappropriate because it feeds into a "tribal" stereotype, similar to the way it would be offensive to put on a traditional Native American headdress and call it a costume. Others argue that it depends on the type of feather and whether or not it's real.
While there are different viewpoints, if you're looking to bring back the throwback hair accessory yourself, it's important to first consider the significance of feathers in the Native American culture before you do. When it comes to beauty "trends" that are rooted in a specific culture, it's crucial to educate yourself first, learn from the mistakes of the past, and above all, always be respectful.