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Selena Gomez Under Fire for Wearing Bindis

Selena Gomez
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

If she’d never heard the phrase “cultural appropriation” before her performance at Sunday’s (April 14) MTV Movie Awards, you can bet Selena Gomez knows what it means now.

Gomez has been very open about her efforts to capture a “tribal, Middle Eastern feel” in her new single, ‘Come & Get It,’ but a number of viewers felt she took it a step too far when she performed the song during her appearance at the awards show — specifically because she took the stage sporting a bindi.

While the forehead jewelry added an undeniable bit of extra glamor to Gomez’s ensemble, it also proved offensive for a number of people who recognize the bindi’s true meaning as a religious symbol in the Hindu culture. As a Hindu statesman put it in a press statement, “The bindi on the forehead is an ancient tradition in Hinduism and has religious significance. It is also sometimes referred to as the third eye and the flame, and it is an auspicious religious and spiritual symbol … It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory aiming at mercantile greed. Selena should apologize and then she should get acquainted with the basics of world religions.”

And it isn’t just stuffy religious types who took umbrage with Gomez’s getup, either. MSN published a couple of online comments from viewers, including one who wrote, “Selena Gomez the bindi is not just some fashion accessory you can throw on, cultural appropriation man,” and another who added, “Selena Gomez, take that bindi off your head, cultural appropriation is not cute.”

Gomez hasn’t responded to the controversy yet, but during Monday’s (April 15) appearance on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ she delivered another bindi-assisted performance of ‘Come & Get It,’ so she can’t be taking it too seriously.

Next: See Selena Gomez Without Makeup

Watch Selena Gomez ‘Come & Get It’ at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards

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