Chinese back United States teenager who wore qipao dress to school prom

Pretty prom dresses ready for young shoppers crowd the rack

After Keziah Daum posted her prom photos online, critics were quick to point out that wearing the dress with Chinese historical and cultural significance was not OK.

In a tweet that's since gone viral, a guy named Jeremy Lam retweeted Daum's post.

On prom night, Daum says she received compliments from strangers, waiters at the restaurant she and her friends went to, and teachers, so she was sad and confused when she learned people were offended by her outfit choice.

"Yes, I would definitely wear it again", said Daum.

Fordham Law School Professor Susan Scafaldi, author of "Who Owns Culture?: Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law", defines cultural appropriation as taking or using of elements, artifacts or knowledge of a certain culture without that culture's permission. "It is cultural appreciation and cultural respect".

According to English-language outlet South China Morning Post, Daum is winning support in China, with Wenxue City News readers applauding her look, otherwise known as a qipao. The qipao, in an early form, was baggy and worn predominantly by upper-class women during the Qing dynasty, which ruled China for more than 250 years until 1912, according to The New York Times.

Last week, an 18-year-old named Keziah Daum posted pictures on Twitter of herself, her date, and her friends at their prom.

"There's going to be people who aren't always going to be pleased".

While Daum was originally attracted to the dress due to its modesty and elegance, she explained that after doing research, she fell in love with it even more for its rich background and symbol for female empowerment.

Some people took to Weibo, a China-based blogging platform, to write that Daum looked handsome.

Many others backed Daum's decision to wear the dress, saying it was just a handsome prom dress and that Daum wasn't being malicious. "There is no problem, as long as there is no malice or deliberate maligning".

Many people agreed with Lam, accusing Daum of being a racist who was culturally appropriating Chinese fashion and history.

Daum is not letting the social media backlash get her down. "And I feel that if we are able to do these things - whether it's wearing a dress or supporting them verbally - we can maybe even end racism", she said.

She was not aware of the dress' history before buying it at a vintage shop in Salt Lake City, she said in an email, but "simply found a handsome, modest gown and chose to wear it".

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