Earrings have been a popular piece of jewelry for centuries, and they come in different shapes and sizes. Hoop earrings, in particular, have been a go-to choice for many people due to their simplicity and versatility. However, in recent times, hoop earrings have been criticized as cultural appropriation.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of hoop earrings and their association with cultural appropriation. It will explore the definition of cultural appropriation, the history of hoop earrings, and the cultures that wear them. The article will also address the controversy surrounding hoop earrings and whether they are considered cultural appropriation.

Key Takeaways

  • Hoop earrings are a popular and versatile piece of jewelry that come in different shapes and sizes.
  • Hoop earrings have been criticized as cultural appropriation, and this article aims to explore the controversy surrounding them.
  • The article will provide a comprehensive understanding of hoop earrings, their history, and their association with cultural appropriation.

Jewelry Cultural Appropriation Definition

Jewelry cultural appropriation refers to the inappropriate adoption of jewelry pieces that hold a certain level of cultural significance, using them as fashion. This becomes cultural appropriation when the original group of people subscribing to the culture is offended by the use of their heritage as fashion or in an unintended manner.

However, there are exceptions to whether the use of the elements holding cultural significance is cultural appropriation or not. When the jewelry is used solely for aesthetic purposes, and there is no scope of the jewelry being misunderstood or misinterpreted, it does not qualify as cultural appropriation.

It is essential to understand that cultural appropriation is a sensitive issue and should be handled with care. One should always be aware of the cultural significance behind the jewelry they wear and avoid using it inappropriately. By respecting and acknowledging the cultural heritage behind the jewelry, one can appreciate its beauty without causing offense.

What Cultures Wear Hoop Earrings?

Hoop earrings have been worn by various cultures throughout history. They have been used to symbolize beauty, social status, and even struggle. Today, hoop earrings have evolved into a fashion accessory worn by people of different cultures for various reasons.

Here are some cultures that wear hoop earrings and their reasons for doing so:

1. Black American Women: Hoop earrings hold a special significance for black American women. They wear them as a symbol of their struggle for freedom and dignity in a white-dominated world. For some, hoop earrings are also a show of beauty.

2. White Women and Models across the Globe: Not just limited to black American women, hoop earrings are also popular among white women and models worldwide. They wear them for fashion and red carpet events. Some white designers have been seen imitating the black culture and incorporating hoop earrings into their designs.

3. Ancient and Current Egyptians: Egyptians have been wearing hoop earrings for centuries. Both men and women wear them to enhance their beauty, and in some cases, as a symbol of wealth and power. The earrings were made from twisted gold wire and beads and were popular among the Royals. Today, some communities in Egypt still preserve this heritage and wear hoop earrings.

Hoop earrings have a rich history and cultural significance. While they may have started as a symbol of beauty and social status, they have evolved into a fashion accessory worn by people of different cultures for various reasons.

Hoop Earrings Criticized As Cultural Appropriation

Hoop earrings have been a fashion trend for decades, but for women of color, they hold cultural significance. The adoption of hoop earrings by those outside of the culture has been criticized as cultural appropriation. According to Ruby Pivet, a woman who values the cultural significance of hoop earrings, the jewelry is a symbol of resistance, strength, and identity.

Pivet is not alone in her belief that hoop earrings should not be embraced as part of a white woman’s identity. The issue stems from the fact that the initiators and owners of the culture are not acknowledged with the same praise as white women who wear hoop earrings.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that hoop earrings are losing their cultural significance and are now considered a fashion sense rather than a traditional attire with a story behind it. This is evident in the way that Vogue magazine credited white models for popularizing the trend.

Pivet believes that the hoop earrings culture is slowly being replaced by a piece of alternative jewelry without considering its significance to the ancient black community. This is a concern shared by many other like-minded individuals who believe that white women should not appropriate hoop earrings as part of their identity.

In conclusion, the adoption of hoop earrings by those outside of the culture is a sensitive issue that should be approached with cultural sensitivity and respect. The cultural significance of hoop earrings should not be overlooked or dismissed as a mere fashion trend.

Are Hoop Earrings Cultural Appropriation? Why?

Hoop earrings have become a popular fashion accessory in recent years, but there is a growing debate about whether they constitute cultural appropriation. Some argue that the definition of hoop earrings is subjective and that anyone should be able to wear them without fear of being accused of appropriating another culture’s style. However, it is important to understand the significance of hoop earrings in certain cultures and to respect their origins.

Cultural appropriation occurs when a dominant culture adopts elements of a minority culture without understanding or respecting their significance. In the case of hoop earrings, they have been worn for centuries in many cultures, including African, Native American, and Latinx cultures. In these cultures, hoop earrings are often associated with strength, power, and spirituality. When people from outside these cultures wear hoop earrings without understanding their cultural significance, it can be seen as disrespectful and appropriative.

One recent example of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry is Kylie Jenner’s alleged appropriation of black fashion for profit. She has been accused of taking black trends, such as hoop earrings, and using them to make money without understanding or respecting their cultural significance. This kind of appropriation is harmful because it perpetuates cultural stereotypes and erases the contributions of minority cultures.

In conclusion, while the debate about hoop earrings and cultural appropriation may be subjective, it is important to understand and respect the cultural significance of certain fashion styles. If someone wishes to wear hoop earrings, they should take the time to learn about their cultural origins and wear them in a way that is respectful and appreciative of their significance.

Are Small Hoop Earrings Cultural Appropriation?

According to black people’s culture, hoop earrings were specific to certain sizes. Appropriating these earrings would mean misusing their original essence in their original size. However, any other variation or imitation of the hoop earrings would not qualify as cultural appropriation. Therefore, small hoop earrings do not fall under cultural appropriation.


In conclusion, wearing hoop earrings without respecting the original intention is inappropriate and unwelcome. The jewelry holds significance as a statement of confidence, strength, and diversity for women in the black community. It is important to acknowledge and respect the history and diversity of a group of people by replicating the same level of praise that other cultures get for wearing hoop earrings.

As a jewelry designer, Stephanie understands the importance of respecting the original intention of hoop earrings. She encourages individuals to let the original essence hold and to wear hoop earrings as a statement of confidence, strength, and diversity. By doing so, we can honor the initiators of the jewelry and show respect for the cultural significance of hoop earrings.

For those interested in fashion jewelry, there are many options available. It is important to choose designs and brands that align with personal values and beliefs. By being mindful of the cultural significance of jewelry, we can make informed decisions and show respect for diverse communities.