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Teen Defends Her Chinese Prom Dress After Cultural Appropriation Backlash

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A Utah teen is defending her decision to wear a traditional Chinese dress to her prom in the wake of cultural appropriation criticism.

After photos of 18-year-old Keziah Daum posing in a red cheongsam—also known as a qipao—began to go viral, the Woods Cross High School senior was accused by some of appropriating the Chinese culture. Daum herself is not Chinese.

“My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress,” wrote Twitter user Jeremy Lam in a tweet that has been liked over 178,000 times and retweeted nearly 42,000 as of Wednesday morning.

“This isn’t ok. I wouldn’t wear traditional Korean, Japanese or any other traditional dress and I’m Asian,” added user Jeannie. “I wouldn’t wear traditional Irish or Swedish or Greek dress either. There’s a lot of history behind these clothes.”

However, Daum insists she meant no offense and that her decision was made purely out of appreciation for the dress’s beauty.

“To everyone causing so much negativity: I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture,” she wrote in response to her original post. “I’m simply showing my appreciation to their culture. I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a f—ing dress. And it’s beautiful.”

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com