Today Talent Management wasn’t surprised to hear that Victoria’s Secret has sparked controversy yet again.
Having only just got over their stint of photoshopping accusations, we’ve now read several angry reports relating to a website image of their newly launched lingerie collection with the rather unoriginal title ‘Go East’.
Now removed from the Victoria’s website, the image labelled racist (seen above) shows Caucasian model Candice Swanepoel, originally from Sweden, sporting a contentiously named little number called ‘Sexy Little Geisha’.
The mesh teddy with “flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals”, which comes with a matching fan, hair chopsticks and obi belt with removable bow, was described as a “sexy little fantasy” and “your ticket to an exotic adventure” by the American lingerie brand.
But it seems not many people agree, with masses of offended critics finding the image an offensive Eastern stereotype of exotic sexuality.
Racialicious, a website that examines the connection between race and popular culture, said that the image was a “troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women”.
It continued: “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.”
The Frisky, a women-focussed popular culture website, agreed, saying: “Considering the complicated history of geishas, repurposing the [geisha] ‘look’ for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless.”
Similar views are also seen on a blog called ‘Angry Asian Man’, which says: “Hooray for exotic orientalist bulls**t.”
Talent Management would love to hear not only from our models with an Eastern background, but from all our models…does this image offend you?