Zac Efron, Dreadlocks, and the Double-Standard for Men and Women

zac efron dreadlocks

Zac Efron is now rocking dreadlocks and everyone is totally cool with it. Um, what the fuck?

Obviously, there’s the cultural appropriation, which seems to be getting more and more common with celebs.

But just as problematic is the way Zac was treated. Most fans on Instagram seemed to love the look, complimenting Zac on how good he looked. Only a few alluded to cultural appropriation, only to be shot down by the masses.

Zac is a white, heterosexual male getting a free pass on cultural appropriation. Does anyone else see the problem with this?

Just recently Kim Kardashian wore cornrows (twice) and was absolutely demolished by the public. Of course, the Kardashians are repeat offenders, with nearly all of the women (perhaps with the exception of Kourtney) appropriating black and latina culture more than once. They’ve all been slammed for it, and rightfully so.

But why hasn’t Zac gotten slammed for it? In fact, most news outlets are totally into his hair and the worst comment he got on Instagram was,

“Oof wearing dreads is a bad idea for someone like you, I hope your publicist is ready.”

Wow. I’m sure that really taught him a lesson *cue eye roll*.

If we’re going to tackle cultural appropriation then we can’t pick and choose who gets punished and who doesn’t. Appropriation, white-washing — it’s all become a part of popular culture and we need to keep everyone accountable.

One fan wrote on Instagram that this generation was being “oversensitive,” but I think we’re being just sensitive enough.

There’s a reason that we cannot let things like this pass. This country has a long history of systematic racism that lives on to this day. There are still schools that ban locks, people who are still fired from jobs just for wearing cornrows. This is directly targeting black individuals and condemning them from wearing natural hair in these historically black styles.

The reason why cultural appropriation is not ok, for women or for men, is because we are allowing those with white privilege to have something that someone without privilege would be punished for. It’s completely racially motivated and I dare anyone to argue otherwise.

In another world where racism was a thing of the past, perhaps we could start integrating cultures. But we all know that world is very far away from ours.

White nationalism is on the rise, Nazis are running for office, police brutality continues to go unpunished, black churches are burned down — I could go on and on.

So next time you want to give anyone a free pass on adopting another’s culture, next time you want to tell us we’re being “oversensitive,” go ahead and check your privilege.


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.