Racist lingerie? Yes, apparently there is such a thing. Victoria’s Secret has “taken off” a newly launched lingerie collection “Go East” from its website, after one particular get-up called ‘Sexy Little Geisha’ was labeled racist by offended critics.
For $98 you could get “your ticket to an exotic adventure; a sexy mesh teddy with flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals.” Oh and thrown in a matching fan and hair chopsticks.
Racalicious, a blog that analyzes race and pop culture, was quick to hate on the ‘Sexy Little Geisha’. It called the outfit “a troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women.”
“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.”
It went on to say that “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.”
Do you think this lingerie is racist?
Viewers serve up their thoughts:
Linda: I understand the femministic view of it. But I’m not that femminist. So I personally don’t think it is. Then again, I’m not Asian. So that’s why it doesn’t offend me. Maybe if I was, I would think differently.
Britney: Fine line… People wear several Halloween costumes that could be taken to be racially offensive (sexy geishas included!) but they seem to be socially acceptable.
Over sexualizing Asian cultures and the glorification of geishas is a long term problem that goes beyond America.
I do think that VS might’ve stepped outside the line of what’s appropriate with the name and accessories (fan and chopsticks). But if equal rights groups wanted this off the shelves, why aren’t they targeting several products in Halloween catalogues as well? Is it ‘okay’ to dress in a racist way if its meant to be funny or if it’s a costume, but not okay if it’s for sexualizing someone?