Underlying cultural pressures of FON

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FON, otherwise known as Festival of Nations, is a celebration of a variety of ethnicities through cultural dances. Despite it being a festival of “nations, ” in which case all cultures are, as said, celebrated, some members feel that there exists a pressure to join a FON that represents their own culture. Others feel the contrary, saying that rather than joining their own FON they feel compelled to avoid it. Whether it’s due to patriotism, a sense of guilt, or tradition, this cultural celebration occasionally causes conflicting feelings among a number of its participants.

A few students feel pressured to join their own culture’s FON to support and represent one’s own culture. Junior Fabiha Samiha, a member of Bengali FON, stated, “I’d feel a little guilty whenever people from my culture would ask whether or not I was doing their FON and all I’d reply with was ‘I don’t know…I’d feel bad that I’m not supporting where I’m from.” 

Sophomore Diana Katanov added, “While I don’t personally feel pressured…some people might feel obligated because they fear getting judged or questioned.” In addition to this, there is a “self-imposed pressure to represent one’s background and family,” junior Eric Han added. 

On the contrary, others seem to feel a pressure that prevents them from joining their own culture’s FON. Junior Hali Huang said, “Some people might not want to join their own culture’s FON because they don’t want to feel stereotyped. Sometimes, you don’t want to do what is expected of you and break societal expectations.” 

In the case of certain FONs, some students are intimidated by their size or reputation. Other times, there is a sort of anxiety stemming from the fear of not fitting in with another culture. 

Despite these concerns, FON remains a celebration of cultures. No matter the existing anxieties one might feel towards certain FONs, each and every one of them welcomes all students. “I encourage people to step outside of their comfort zone and try whatever FONs they’re interested in,” said Eric. Fabiha agreed, adding, “At the end of the day, FON is an event where we can embrace other nations and get a glimpse of other cultures.”