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Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
LycanTheory
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Post: #1
Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
I've seen some discourse making the rounds again that therianthropy is a "cultural appropriation" of Native American beliefs.

While "appropriation" seems to be one of those loosely defined terms that's become a buzzword in identity politics - I have found a useful definition that I can agree with.

"cultural appropriation is where people from a group that oppressed or oppresses another group mimics or represents cultural artifacts or manners of the oppressed group in a way that expresses or reinforces psychological elements of the racist ideology inherent in the colonialist project responsible for the oppression. Such appropriating mimicry can take many forms, but what unifies them will be an implicit or explicit view of other people that makes them out to be less than what they are."

Granted that this is a highly subjective topic. I can definitely see how and why someone might feel like a part of their culture is being misappropriated if they have been exposed to therianthropy on social media. Overall, though, I do not believe any therian spiritual view or mannerism mimics that of any oppressed group of people in a derogatory sense.

A philosophical view of cultural appropriation can be found here.

What are your thoughts?

Lyc

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2021-05-20 12:42
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Tdae
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Post: #2
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
Facepalm. Please. No.

The definition of cultural appropriation you provided is a bit advanced for my early-morning brain lol. I think of cultural appropriation as when non Native Americans mass produce dream catchers, etc. and sell them in gift shops. Or when a new-age twit hosts a "sweat lodge" and gets people killed. Maybe "Black Hills Gold" being sold in shops. I don't know if this is cultural appropriation but it is highly offensive since it is desecrating sacred land. Maybe rock and roll being considered "white people music." These examples have to do with people taking cultural ideas and relics, repackaging them and making profits.

Now I have to get ready for work and I'll read the link later on.

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2021-05-20 13:36
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Aspen
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Post: #3
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
I legitimately cannot see therianthropy as cultural appropriation. It’s not spirit animals/guides or whatever culturally specific beliefs of Native American tribes are.

Therianthropy isn’t the same. The characteristics of therianthropy does not appropriate at all. (That i know of). Yet I’ve seen some younger members not understand that therianthropy isn’t exclusive to Native American type things. Like dream catchers. Spirit guides. Other practices found in the culture and wearing feathers (headdresses too, I’ve seen on tiktok)...

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2021-05-20 14:42
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Umbra
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Post: #4
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
It's not. Plain and simple.

I could easily give a large explination, but the answer stays the same.

Patience.
2021-05-20 22:03
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Kyra
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Post: #5
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
I find a great deal of cultural appropriation taking place in the Witchcraft community. I have read a couple of pages on it, and they all state that is a really hard subject to draw a conclusion from because every standpoint makes total sense. But one thing that I do see in all of these papers is that the thing you appropriate is something that was drawn from another culture. One, for example, chooses to work with spirit guides, but this is cultural appropriation since it is a closed practice amongst the Native Americans. One might argue that a spirit has always been with them, but there are many other explanations for these happenings. A great example of this is Thoughtforms.

Therianthropy, however, is not something someone chooses to practice/buy/part-take in/etc. It is a self-discovery. One is a therianthrope or not. It is something that someone finds within themselves without ever looking at what others are doing and (partially) copying that (excluding online therians looking to relate to others and getting inspired to do things with their already-existing therianthropy), let alone specific cultures. It is something that is entirely yours, you found out you possess the occurrence and you only chose to embrace it. That has nothing to do with cultural practice, so, in my opinion, it is not cultural appropriation.

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2021-05-20 23:48
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Post: #6
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
I was gonna post a bigger reply, but Kyra said it all.

Therianthropy isn't something we choose in any way, so how can it be cultural appropriation?

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2021-05-21 1:46
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Rune Wolf
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Post: #7
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
Not only is it not something you choose, but therianthropy has been seen in mythology for millennia across the globe.
2021-05-21 3:34
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Pinedirt
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Post: #8
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
no, its not. i can see how certain things that some therians may do could be insensitive and if so that should be addressed, but therianthropy itself? of course not. spiritually: believing in past lives and such can't be appropriation, especially since it's not an idea specific to any one culture or religion. and psychologically: also no. it's got nothing to do with culture. honestly neither of them do at least not inherently, but especially psychological therianthropy.

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2021-05-21 5:26
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Autumne
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Post: #9
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
I can potentially see someone looking at a practice from a culture they are not part of and do not understand, seeing a term of an experience there as being similar to their own experience with Therianthropy, and then claiming that their Therianthropy experience is that other culture's practice as being a form of cultural appropriation. It also is frequently inappropriate to use a term that has a community/culture/history/stereotype, such as "Therian" has, towards a practice; ex. it may misrepresent or miscolor a culture's traditional practice to label it as being "Therian".

I really think it matters as to whether you're passing off what you are as being that group, or taking vocabulary you learned from some approximation of that group's context, and then misrepresenting it elsewhere. It is particularly heinous if they are harmed, belittled, by actions that elevate and improve your own standing.


It is not cultural appropriation to have an experience and then try to relate that experience to others. It is not cultural appropriation to authentically live your life and have some portion of your life resemble the experiences of those in other cultures. It's not even cultural appropriation to recognize similarities and congruence between what you feel and what another group you're not part of has. Just don't pass off what you're experiencing as the same thing as that culture has - there are likely things you're missing about connotation, if not denotation.
2021-05-22 4:16
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Tdae
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Post: #10
RE: Therianthropy as cultural appropriation?
Maybe a bit off topic, but gangsta rap is definitely cultural appropriation when it's mocking African Americans and perpetuating stereotypes that get people killed. There have always been sellouts who will do anything for money. Meanwhile people are getting butthurt when whites wear unauthorized hairstyles. The political buzz drowns out legitimate concerns about the whitewashing and commodification of everything.

What I have found from the internet is that therianthropy might be mistaken for a belief system. It's difficult for people to grasp subjective experiences they don't experiences themselves (therians also have this problem), AND the experiences exist outside of cultural norms. Mostly people who don't have these experiences probably think we're delusional. Or as we see, appropriating "Native American" beliefs. Do they specify which Native American culture therians are allegedly appropriating, and how? I'm guessing not, because all Native Americans have the same culture and they're all vaguely into nature and animal spirits and stuff.

Some philosophers think animals are not conscious because they do not have language. I am autistic and I think in pictures. If the philosophers are correct, I would have to conclude that I am not conscious.
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2021-05-23 15:29
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