Maybe I’m too much of a purist, and it’s very possible so feel free to call me out on it, but I hate Utilikilts with an undying passion.
First let me explain where I’m coming from: I play the bagpipes and own two kilts of my own. I come from a place where a kilt is neither a skirt or a costume, but rather a traditional article of clothing symbolizing an entire (and very proud) culture.
The Utilikilt is a poor knock-off of a symbol of the entire Scottish culture. In fact, it is just a skirt and the mere attribution of the name ‘kilt’ to it is an insult to kilts. I’m trying to make this not sound like a rant, but it’s sounding an awful lot like one. Let’s put them side by side and see if you get it.
Saint Patrick’s Day sort of makes fun of everyone who’s Irish because everyone puts on a green shirt and calls themselves Irish when they’re not. They’re just using it as an excuse to be drunk. It’s the same way with Utilikilts; they’re cheap knock-offs of something people take very seriously.
What I’m talking about is technically called cultural appropriation, or the adopting of some elements of a culture by another group (check wikipedia if y’all don’t believe me). However, it’s really hard to tell whether someone is trying to be nice about it and show their appreciation of the culture or whether they think something is just pretty or cool without knowing the object’s cultural importance. Now, usually it is considered offensive only when there is a minority culture and a majority culture, but I disagree with that definition. Why does the dominance of one party over another make it offensive?
I guess this sounds like a real first world problem, but I suppose if you haven’t been in this situation it’s hard to explain how an article of clothing can make one’s eyes burn. And I know there are so many more cultures that have more problems along these lines than one can shake a stick at (ex: Native Americans), but it doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem for those who take pride in their Scottish and Irish heritage.
What do you all think? Think I’ve played in too many St. Patty’s Day parades and need to go take a nap and stop whining? Let me know in the comments!