Victoria Secret is receiving accusations of demonstrating racism through their new “Sexy Little Things” collection called “Go East,” intimate apparel inspired by oriental influences.
The lingerie retailer removed the collection off of their website after a feminist website called Bust came across a blog on Racialicious by 26-year-old Nina Jancito, a non-profit development manager, bashing the latest “Sexy Little Geisha” design donned by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
“When someone creates a collection like this, making inauthentic references to ‘Eastern culture’…it reinforces a narrative that says that all Asian cultures–and their women–are exotic, far away but easy to access,” Jancito wrote. “It’s a troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation and humanization of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women.”
Jancito makes a strong argument (obviously, since the company removed the collection from their website), but I think she’s chalking the situation up to be way more than what was intended. The company was taking a fashion cue from a culture and came up with something different from other lingerie companies–in short, doing what Victoria Secret does best.
Then again, Jancito is right in a sense: if society allows big-time retail companies like Victoria’s Secret to continue to perpetuate racial and social stereotypes, there will be no end to them. Taking a stand against the powerful is the only way to ensure the stigmas are put to rest. So what may seem like no big deal at first glance may really be something quite influential on the mentality of today’s society and how they perceive individuals.
Although what Jancito did was the right thing to do in the end, I still say don’t take everything so seriously; you’ll never be able to enjoy life.