China has stood with an American teenager as she faced a barrage of criticism for wearing a cheongsam - a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress.
The debate started after the 18-year-old Keziah Daum from Utah in the United States posted pictures from her prom on Twitter showing her wearing a red cheongsam. She has no Chinese roots.
Another Twitter user Jeremy Lam commented on her tweet and pointed out that it is not fair to show Chinese culture in a prom dress. He also posted a thread of tweets explaining the significance of the dress.
He said: "It was then altered and embroidered as a beautiful form-fitting outfit to wear publically, which Chinese women were not allowed to do at during the times of extreme patriarchal oppression."
"In a time where Asian women were silenced, they were able to create, not only a piece of art but a symbol of activism. This piece of clothing embraced femininity, confidence, and gender equality through its beautiful, eye-catching appearance."
"It even broke the division of financial classes! It could be made with high-quality materials that only the upper class could afford such as special silks and linens, but a dress just as beautiful could have been made with just cotton and low-quality linen."
"Femme factory workers wore this dress!!! And the style was then spread throughout Asian as a beautiful garment and sign of women's liberation."
His tweet garnered 42,000 retweets at the time of writing the article and was liked more than 179,000 times.
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What is cheongsam?
1) Cheongsam, which is also known as qipao, is also the national dress of Hong Kong and first appeared in China after the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911.
2) According to encyclopedia.com, after the fall of the dynasty, China began to modernize quickly both in politics and economy and this began reflecting in culture also.
3) Women who started fighting for their freedom wanted to modernize their clothing to allow more freedom of movement and comfort.
4) To cater to their needs, Cheongsam, which was made from traditional Chinese silk but had a western style form-fitting cutting and lacked binding ties came into existence.
5) The cheongsam soon came to represent the politics of a modernizing China and was often worn by women with high heels, which is distinctly western.
6) However, after the rise of Communist Party in 1949, Cheongsam, which was considered bourgeois, disappeared from everyday life.
7) Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, which was a British colony, Cheongsam thrived.
Chinese people supported Daum
However, people from China supported the girl.
According to South China Morning Post, one person commented on an article by Wenxue City News wrote: "Very elegant and beautiful! Really don't understand the people who are against her, they are wrong!"
Another person wrote: "It is not cultural theft. It is cultural appreciation and cultural respect."
People on Chinese microblogging website Weibo also appreciated Daum's dress.
A Weibo user, according to the website, wrote: "Culture has no borders. There is no problem, as long as there is no malice or deliberate maligning. Chinese cultural treasures are worth spreading all over the world."