Melbourne: Victoria’s Secret is said to have removed a newly launched lingerie collection titled ‘Go East’ from its website after one of it’s outfits - ‘Sexy Little Geisha’ - was labelled racist by offended critics.
The ‘Eastern-inspired’ cut-out sheer mesh teddy, which comes with a matching removable obi belt, fan and chopsticks, was described as “your ticket to an exotic adventure”, by the lingerie giant.
Victoria’s Secret, who are yet to release a statement, have tacitly responded to the backlash by redirecting users looking for the product’s page, along with the rest of the Go East collection, to the site’s main homepage.
After Racialicious, a website that dissects the intersection of race and popular culture, accused Victoria’s Secret of reducing Eastern culture to a stereotype of exotic sexuality, other critics quickly followed suit.
Racialicious 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,” the Daily Telegraph quoted the site as writing.
“Sex and sexuality don’t live in a bubble. They intersect with our historical and cultural contexts,” it said.
The Frisky, a popular culture website aimed at women, agreed with the issue Racialicious took to Victoria’s Secret’s cultural appropriation.
“Considering the complicated history of geishas, repurposing the (geisha) ‘look’ for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless,” it wrote.