What 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' Can Teach Us About Cultural Appropriation

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

Cultural appropriation happens all over the United States... all the time. 

For those late to the game, cultural appropriation is when one cheaply imitates another culture's values and traditions.

Examples? The popular "sexy" Native American costume and Kylie Jenner's cornrow braids

But also the plot of Tim Burton's classic film The Nightmare Before Christmas might be an example of cultural appropriation too.

Here's why:

Halloweentown's pumpkin king Jack appropriates Christmas.

He does this from the people of Christmastown because he's infatuated with the holiday's aesthetic, but doesn't bother to get to know the people.

Source: Giphy

Just like Jenner and other white people cornrow their hair because they're infatuated with the aesthetic of black culture but doesn't advocate for black people's equality.

In a recent Tumblr post, users katrinageist and jumpingjacktrash said they use the film's plot to explain cultural appropriation to children. Here are points she makes to illustrate this:  

"There was nothing wrong with Jack seeing the beauty and differences in Christmastown," katrinageist wrote.

Source: Giphy

"It's when he tried to take what is unique about Christmastown away from those it originally belonged to without understanding the full context of Christmas things is when everything went wrong," katrinageist added.

Source: Giphy

"What I like about this is the implication that if Jack had taken the time to understand Christmastown, bringing Christmas to Halloweentown would not have been harmful," jumpingjacktrash wrote.

Source: Giphy


"That's how it works, folks. Cultural sharing is good, it's only misappropriation when it's done in ignorance and disrespect," jumpingjacktrash added.

Source: Giphy

Read more: Is This Viral Video of Newlyweds' Bollywood Dance Actually Cultural Appropriation?

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Jessica Eggert

Jessica is a staff writer at Mic, covering breaking news. She is based in New York and can be reached at jessica@mic.com.

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