Singer Kacey Musgraves Faces Ire For ‘Sexualizing’ Traditional Vietnamese Outfit

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Image via lev radin /

Country singer Kacey Musgraves has caused an outrage among internet users after “sexualizing” a cultural outfit onstage.

Last week, the singer sported a traditional Vietnamese garment called áo dài, which historically comes in two pieces. However, Musgrave decided to forgo the pants, wearing just the top as she performed on stage.

Vietnam Heritage Center, a non-profit organization based in New York City, described her act as “disgusting” and “annoying” before labeling it as a “misappropriation of Vietnamese culture.”

Thuy Pham, executive director of the nonprofit, explained that the áo dài consists of a top with two long slits at the sides of the garment. It is typically worn with pants and isn’t meant to appear sexual at all. The outfit is traditionally worn during holidays like the Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as during wedding ceremonies.

Pham called Musgraves “disrespectful” for appearing on stage wearing just the top, which featured two high slits that reached her hips, displaying her legs.

Beauty blogger Michelle Phan also weighed in on the issue, describing that the incident has frustrated the Asian community as “people are tired of the fetishism of Asian women.”

“Imagine seeing your national traditional dress being disrespected,” Phan said on Instagram. “She might influence more people to think it’s trendy.”

On top of the criticism on her outfit, many have taken issue with Musgraves’ headpiece that she had worn together with the top. The jewelry looked like the maang tikka, a traditional Indian headpiece.

can someone tell kasey musgraves to put pants on with her ao dai
— claire trần (@clairevtran) October 12, 2019

Áo Dài is the representation of the idea “women do not need to show skin to look pretty”. You’re doing the OPPOSITE of what this outfit was made for. Here’s how we wear it throughout the years (notice how it’s been decades and changes, we still have the pants on) :
— “FINALLY, LEO” (@LeoTs13) October 12, 2019

also what is that headpiece? she is really just putting random shit together to look exotic
— claire trần (@clairevtran) October 12, 2019

A mess
— 🌸Lolita Luna🌙 (@Lolitas_Love) October 12, 2019

vietnamese women are objectified beyond belief. the amount of times old, white vietnam vets have perved on me because they “knew a viet woman once 😏” is disheartening. to take a piece that represents us... makes us feel confident... and SEXUALIZE IT? disappointing
— elise (@eIisenguyen) October 12, 2019

Kacey Musgraves is an incredible human, but the self-awareness in this is lacking to say the least.

The nature of white ppl to pick and choose (half of ao dai and whatever is on her head??) pieces of Asian culture honestly repulses me.
— Melanie Liu (@MelCLiu) October 12, 2019

Vietnam is currently ripping up Kacey Musgraves for disgustingly appropriating áo dài but it's completely silent in the West..
— Viet pop rules (@VNhac00) October 13, 2019

kacey musgraves wearing about ao dai without pants is sickening,, ao dai were made to be conservative yet elegant n she rlly out here w her coochie out n a headpiece that ain’t even from viet culture... a whole mess!
— angel 💌 (@vietnganz) October 13, 2019

I usually don’t tweet but how many times does it have to be said...

My CULTURE is not meant to be sexualize. This is offensive on so many levels and I’m livid
— Nhung (@zoongz) October 12, 2019

What she's done to help the small 🇻🇳 businesses can't save her from wearing ao dai this grossly. Kacey Musgraves, I give you some choices of pants in different colors, choose one & do it better. Also, we don't wear that headpiece with ao dai, someone please educate this woman 🤯
— JASON B (@91jasonng) October 13, 2019

i love u @kaceymusgraves, really, like i just bought tickets to your radio city music hall show in nyc. and u lookin' slim thicc and all that. but girl u can notttt wear a vietnamese ao dai without the pants. it's just wrong. pls respond bc this hurt my feelings :(
— dan q. dao (@danqdao) October 12, 2019

Michelle Phan calls out Kacey Musgraves for one of the most egregious, disrespectful instances of cultural appropriation from r/asianamerican

[via NBC News, opening image via lev radin /]

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