Easily the most well-known and recognised charm in the world to ward off malevolent energies, the ‘evil eye’ motif dates back thousands of years with the earliest versions going back to 3,300 BC Mesopotamia. The concept of the evil eye curse which is the envious gaze cast upon a person causing them misfortune is rooted in numerous civilisations around the world, but the representation of the eye amulet that protects one from these negative energies varies from culture to culture. The ubiquitous blue glass beads we know today found their origins in the Mediterranean region around 1500 BC— known as Nazar Boncugu, they are a traditional talisman in Turkey.
Worn as jewellery, hung outside the house or used as auspicious gifts for loved ones— cultures all over the world have different ways to incorporate this protective emblem into their lives. It’s more than just a mere symbol, the eye represents belief systems. That being said, a quick web search will lead you to everything from evil eye pool floats to bath mats and nail stickers…..that my friend is the result of the ‘TikTok culture’.
The Evil Eye- Is It Just An Aesthetic?
‘Spiritual girl’ aesthetic is a very real phenomenon on social media where people dress a certain way, use crystals, incense sticks etc to give off a spiritual ‘vibe’ often without knowing or understanding the significance behind it. A prime example of spirituality becoming a trend is the eye motif— gentrified by the West, it has become an aesthetic symbol for the gram catering to a demographic far away from its origins. Leave it to the modern generation to turn this ancient cross-cultural symbol of protection into a fashion statement in a way that makes it seem like nothing more than a decorative element.
You scoff at the ‘superstition’ of the evil eye curse but have the eye motif on your beaded phone charm and on your crockery just because it’s trendy? Though it’s not generally considered culturally insensitive for agnostics to wear it, it’s a good practice to be aware of the weight it carries before you do.
Given that turning the ancient evil eye symbol into pool floaties might be pushing it a little too much, the flip side of this emblem becoming a fashion trend is that it allows for the cultural heritage to be introduced to and acknowledged by the younger generation— if not through ancient scriptures than at least through Gigi Hadid.
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