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Fashion & Style
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'Sexy Little Geisha' by Victoria's Secret Stirs Backlash
When lingerie giant Victoria's Secret launched its "Go East" collection of Asian-inspired sexy underthings, little did they realize the backlash that would prompt calls of racial insensitivity and force them to scrap the line. Culture blogs and Asian community blogs decry the "hypersexualized" image that reduces Asian women to exotic sex objects.
Excerpt: "'A troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women,' Racialicious criticized of 'Sexy Little Geisha.'
'There’s a long-standing trend to represent Asian women as hypersexualized objects of fantasy, so it’s telling that none of the models wearing the Go East collection appear to be Asian.'
'Sex and sexuality don’t live in a bubble. They intersect with our historical and cultural contexts.
'Donning a "sexy Geisha" outfit to get the ball rolling in the bedroom remains offensive because it confirms a paradigm in which Asian people and their culture can be modified and sexualized and appropriated for the benefit of the West. This particular kind of racism has existed for a long time, and we’re far from moving beyond it,' the website concludes.
'Considering the complicated history of geishas, repurposing the [geisha] "look" for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless,' says The Frisky, a culture site targeted at women.
Geishas in Japan were professionally trained entertainers mostly targeted at male customers. They have been often misunderstood by non-Japanese as prostitutes."