Keziah's Chinese Prom Dress

Keziah's Chinese Prom Dress

Part of a series on Cultural Appropriation. [View Related Entries]

Updated Mar 22, 2019 at 12:27PM EDT by Don.

Added May 01, 2018 at 11:30AM EDT by Don.

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Keziah's Chinese Prom Dress refers to an online controversy surrounding photographs of 18-year-old high school student Keziah Daum wearing a cheongsam (also known as a qipao) traditional Chinese dress to her prom, which was accused by some as a form of cultural appropriation.


On April 22nd, 2018, Twitter user @daumkeziah[1] tweeted several photographs of herself at her high school prom, in which she is shown wearing a cheongsam (shown below, left). On April 27th, Twitter user Jeremy Lam retweeted her post along with the message "My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress" (shown below, right).[2]

Keziah @daumkeziah PROM REM COURT F1 Jeremy Lam @jere_bare My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress. Keziah @daumkeziah PROM Show this thread


That day, other Twitter users tweeted various opinions on the dress, with some accusing her of cultural appropriation and racial insensitivity, while others defended her choice of attire and accused critics of bullying and virtue signalling.

Jeannie @JeannieBeanie99 Replying to @daumkeziah This isn't ok. I wouldn't wear traditional Korean, Japanese or any other traditional dress and I'm Asian. I wouldn't wear traditional Irish or Swedish or Greek dress either. There's a lot of history behind these clothes. Sad Michael Shermer @michaelshermer Ignore the idiotic criticisms of this "incident" @daumkeziah Critics are: 1. Ignorant of what culture is & how it develops (all cultures appropriate) 2. Virtue signaling to each other in a circle jerk of faux moral outrage 3. Cheerless saps jealous of your joy. 4. Losers.

Daum's Response

On April 28th, Daum posted several tweets responding to those criticizing her for wearing the dress, saying she that she meant "no disrespect to the Chinese culture" and that she was "simply showing my love for a beautiful culture" (shown below).

Keziah @daumkeziah Apr 28 I love and appreciate diversity and other cultures. I mean no hate. I love everyone 229 t 162 3.4K Keziah @daumkeziah Apr 28 To everyone who says I'm ignorant, I fully understand everyone's concerns and views on my dress. I mean no harm. I am in no way being discriminative or racist. I'm tired of all the backlash and hate when my only intent was to show my love Keziah @daumkeziah Apr 28 To everyone causing so much negativity: I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture. 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------ dress. And it's beautiful 5.4K 8.5K 124K Show this thread Keziah @daumkeziah Apr 28 I don't understand everyone's need or desire to cause so much hate. I'm simply showing my love for a beautiful culture and there is nothing wrong with that. Keep talking s---. I don't care. I have much respect for the Chinese culture

In an interview with Teen Vogue,[8] Daum claimed the praying signal pose was a reference to the h3h3productions memes "Vape Nation" and "Papa Bless":

"The signs and hand signals had nothing to do with the culture. They were in reference to a famous YouTuber named Ethan Klein from h3h3 productions. For example, the praying signal means ‘Papa Praise’ and the other one is ‘Vape Nation.’"

Online Reaction

On April 29th, 2018, H3h3productions uploaded a video titled "You're White Do Not Put This On," which mocked and criticized those who were offended by the prom dress (shown below). Within 48 hours, the video received more than two million views and 23,200 comments. Meanwhile, a post about the controversy was submitted to /r/asianamerican,[5] where the top comment defended Daum's choice to wear the dress to her prom.

The following day, Twitter published a Moments[3] page titled "People are outraged this teen wore a traditional Chinese dress to prom," highlighting various reactions to the photographs. On May 1st, Twitter user Melissa Chen tweeted a screenshot of a Jeremy Lam tweet in which he jokes about "eating tamales with chopsticks" (shown below).

Melissa Chen @MsMelChen Life comes at you fast... Maybe live by your own rules of gating cultures and not partaking in any that aren't yours? I'm eating tamales with chopsticks. This is why America was founded 9/11/17, 12:46 AM Jeremy Lam @jere_bare 1d My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress. Keziah @daumkeziah PROM Show this thread


Jeremy Lam's tweet has been used as an exploitable template for parody variations, often featuring photographs of women wearing various costume dresses along with the message "My culture is NOT your goddam prom dress" (shown below). On May 5th, Redditor master-cunt submitted a post asking "What's up with the memes that say "My culture is NOT your object?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop.[6]

Anakin Skywalker @sand_hater 66 My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress. 4/27/18, 2:34 PM from Where The Fun Begins spider @a_spider 1d My culture is NOT your goddamn hero outfit Spider-Man@SpiderMan shoots sticky stuff Show this thread 2,368 28.9K 126K Show this thread 226 32K Guy Fieri @GuyFieri My culture is NOT your goddam prom dress Barry B Benson @Barry_B_Benson Folgen My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress! 14:02-13. Aug. 2017 4 Gefällt mir-Angaben rudy mustang @rud y_mustang my culture is NOT your prom dress Italian People @italian_people My culture is NOT your goddam prom dress

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