September 26th, 2012
05:42 PM ET

'Sexy Little Geisha?' Not so much, say many Asian-Americans

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Joz Wang doesn't buy things at Victoria's Secret - overpriced, she says, though she occasionally strolls through the store known for racy lingerie sported on runways and in catalogs by sexy, sultry models.

But even if she could spare the money, Wang, founder of an influential Asian-American blog, might be tempted to stay away from Victoria's Secret for the moment. At least until she gets an answer to what the clothing company was thinking when it launched its recent "Go East" collection.

One particular number in the collection - the "Sexy Little Geisha" - raised eyebrows, especially from the Asian-American community. Many found it offensive and accused Victoria's Secret of exploiting sexual stereotypes of Asian women.

You can't find the image of "Sexy Little Geisha" on the Victoria's Secret website anymore. Apparently, it and the entire "Go East" line vanished after the online firestorm.

But several blogs posted the catalog picture of a voluptuous blonde model in a sheer mesh teddy with cutouts and strategically placed Asian floral patterns.

Wang could see why the getup was called racist.

It was, after all, a hyper-representation of the geisha girl with chopsticks in her hair and fan in hand. Seriously, asked Wang. Chopsticks in the bedroom? It could make a great costume for Halloween or perhaps even a bad porn movie, she thought. But as lingerie?

"Part of me says: maybe they’re just clueless," said Wang, a co-editor of the blog 8Asians.

She said Victoria's Secret has not used Asian models very much - in their catalogs or on their runways. So, its plausible that they just didn't know.

"Then there’s another part of me that’s more cynical – this is a sexy little controversy to get people intentionally riled up."

Others were less generous.

The blog Racialicious decried some of the catalog descriptions, calling the “Sexy Little Geisha” a perversion of its reference.

Racalicious contributor Nina Jacinto wrote:

"When someone creates a collection like this, making inauthentic references to 'Eastern culture' (whatever that means) with hints of red or a fan accessory or floral designs, it reinforces a narrative that says that all Asian cultures – and their women – are exotic, far away but easy to access. It’s a narrative that says the culture can be completely stripped of its realness in order to fulfill our fantasies of a safe and non-threatening, mysterious East.

"But when a company takes it one step further by developing a story about how the clothes can offer a sort of escape using explicit sexualized and exploitive language, it takes the whole thing to another level. It’s a troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation and humanization of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women."

The fury started, apparently, with a post on the blog Angry Asian Man.

"Have you seen Victoria's Secret's new Go East line of lingerie? Yup. Asian-inspired. With "touches of eastern delight," whatever the hell that means.

"This one above's probably the worst of the bunch, called Sexy Little Geisha. Seriously. And it's not even Halloween yet. Yaaaay, hooray for exotic orientalist b--t."

Angry Asian Man's Facebook page acquired a collection of comments:

Devika Srivastava wrote: "Exoticism, the ultimate insult. Dummies."

Tressa Berman wrote: "The new Orientalism a la mode."

The story was also picked up by Bust, a women's pop culture magazine.

The Bust reporter said she rushed over to the Victoria's Secret website only to discover that the "Sexy Little Geisha," and the “Go East” Collection had vanished.

"Excited by the possibility that all “Go East” merchandise had been collected from Victoria’s Secret stores and warehouses under cover of night and burned in a ritualistic fire to banish the racism and exploitation, I looked up their press contact. Of course, the press office didn’t confirm my fantasy version of what had happened, and instead suggested that the product had sold out. (I had asked specifically about the “Sexy Little Geisha,” the piece in the collection that seemed to piss people off the most.) However, when pressed, they couldn’t confirm that the piece had, in fact, sold out. Nor could they explain why an error message comes up on the website even for a general search of the phrase “go east.”

Bust pointed out that there wasn't necessarily anything wrong with a clothing company incorporating Japanese patterns.

"That in itself isn’t racism, it’s globalization," Bust said.

But, "considering the complicated history of geishas, repurposing the 'look' for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless," it said.

The Frisky, another women-centric website, agreed.

"Again, 'Sexy Little Geisha' is part of a 'Go East' line, which, again, is not in-and-of-itself racist. This particular execution just makes me, well, want to execute myself," The Frisky writer said.

Asian women have long been typecast in Western society. Think the Dragon Lady, the China Doll.

Nor is it the first time a retailer has come under fire for stereotyping Asians.

In 2002, an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt featured two Chinese laundry workers with conical hats and the phrase: "Wong Brothers Laundry Service: Two Wongs Can Make It White." Another shirt image showed a smiling Buddha and read "Buddha Bash: Get Your Buddha on the Floor."

Abercrombie & Fitch said it never intended to offend anyone. They just wanted to add a bit of humor.

Problem was that Asians were not smiling. The retailer yanked the controversial T-shirts off store racks after the Organization of Chinese Americans called them racially insensitive.

Urban Outfitters encountered the same opposition when it issued its line of  "Everybody Loves..." shirts. As in "Everyone Loves an Asian Girl." There were Jewish, Catholic, Latin and others, too.

Everyone, however, didn't love Urban Outfitters.

Navajo Nation sues Urban Outfitters for alleged trademark infringement

The buzz is greater now, said Wang, because lots of people are using social media and websites to rail against Victoria's Secret.

"I think this has caught fire, especially with Asian American women, who are having to overcome exotic stereotypes."

Asian-American women have had to find their own sexual identities outside of the stereotypes. It did not sit well to see "something that was so overtly Orientalist and exploitational," Wang said.

Victoria's Secret's silence on the matter has probably helped fan the flames. A CNN call to a company publicist was not returned Wednesday.

Wang found it interesting that the Victoria's Secret model wearing the "Sexy Little Geisha" was not Asian, but white. A few years ago, the company drew fire for a fashion show segment in which black models wore body paint and African-themed wraps.

Cornell University's Minh-Ha Pham, an academic whose research focuses on the convergences of race, gender, fashion and social media, said it was significant that the model was obviously white.

The image was a version of racial drag that has a long history in the United States, said Pham, curator of the blog Of Another Fashion. "Playing Oriental" can be traced back to 1900s Vaudeville stages, where playing out fantasies of racial exoticism (as a way of dealing with racial anxieties) was a wildly popular cultural activity.

"That Victoria's Secret produced such a line based on racial drag makes a kind of sense in that lingerie is so much about fantasy and fetish," Pham said. "Playing Oriental is clearly a part of that wheelhouse."

Pham found Victoria's Secret not to be very fashion-forward.

"I mean, is there anything worse than a stale fetish?" asked Pham. "This has been my gripe about racial provocations in fashion. They're often so boring."

What struck Wang when she looked at the photo was that it so went against Victoria's Secret's brand of modern clothes for modern women. It was so, well, 30 years ago.

For the time being anyway, Victoria's Secret is not a brand that speaks to Wang. After "Sexy Little Geisha," she is hardly alone.

Posted by
Filed under: Asian in America • Ethnicity • Gender • How we look • Pop culture • Race • Who we are • Women
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. SPC

    Perhaps it's a cultural thing. Liberal ideals such as freedom of speech and other personal liberties are largely a European invention, so maybe that's why people of European descent seem to value these freedoms more than other groups.

    October 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soccer312

      The people mentioned in the article are Asian-American so if you think America is 100% white, you are delusional.

      November 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Network

    Ok, this is NOT news...

    October 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anex

    .." catalog picture of a voluptuous blonde model"..

    I'm staring at those sharp hip bones and wondering if the definition of the word "voluptuous" has changed.

    October 8, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. ash

    it is just clothing, get over yourself

    October 4, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Bing

      Thank you.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jorge

    Women need to understand, if they're careless slobs who never exercise, smoke like trains, drink like fish and eat like hogs (I see a lot of this in the South), no amount of costume-party lingerie is going to make a man crazy about you unless he's truly desperate, but if you take care of yourselves, your birthday suit will do nicely. It is what it is.

    October 1, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Asian American Male

    I am a average height, size, and fit Asian Man, and I am proud of myself as far as sometimes called handsome or good looking. I mean, let's face it, European cultures have exploded very early and commericalized globally for most part. Some people think they the role model as far as many things. So, there are some Asian women do prefer Western man. But in reality, so the theme has been overly advertised in many forms. Same as some people think being with Black man is more man. That's not always true, it depend who you talk to. Every group has it own muscular. But I mean certain groups are being advertised more and brained wash others. In fact, I feel I am man enough that if someone wants to start a fight, dominate me, or even trys to step on my toe. Hey, it is just what's in your mind and intention than what's others perceived outside.

    There are cultures prefer Eastern man, so it is the opposite. It is a hard subject.

    September 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sugar

    Oh, well if we're wiping racial fashion off the board then no more "exploiting" the fake nails and big butt movement. Damn. I looked good with braids.

    September 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bing

    I sure wish we had more American-Americans. No matter what their ancestry.

    September 28, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • sugar


      September 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      I was born and grew up in NYC, lived & married in the land of my heritage, loved it, came back for the money only, so keep your generic "American-American" for yourself, count me out.

      October 1, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
      • Truth Whisperer

        Asians discovered America! 🙂
        They were here before Columbus...

        Current understanding of human migration to and throughout the Americas derives from advances in four interrelated disciplines: archeology, physical anthropology, DNA analysis and linguistics. While there is general agreement that America was first settled from Asia by people who migrated across Beringia, the pattern of migration, its timing, and the place of origin in Asia of the peoples who migrated to America remains unclear.

        October 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      What is an American-American?

      October 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bing

    Sexy Geisha outfit?! Are you kidding? I have never seen a geisha look remotely as-attractive as the VS model depicted.

    September 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tesla

    You're a little bit racist!
    Well, you're a little bit, too!
    I guess we're both a little bit racist,
    admitting it is not an easy thing to do,
    but I guess it's true, sad but true!

    Everyone's a little bit racist sometimes,
    but we don't go around committing hate crimes!
    Ethnic jokes might be uncouth,
    but you laugh because they're based on truth!
    Don't take them as personal attacks!
    Everyone enjoys them, so relax!

    Avenue Q. Let's see if this goes through.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      I love the CNN filters. A well crafted response to a comment with facts, logic, and no offensive language to speak of gets caught by them, but lines from a song in a raunchy puppet musical go right on through. Awesome.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bing

        You are invited to express your opinion as-long-as it expresses someone elses opinion in a manner that suits some faceless robotron PC librarian censor.

        September 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      No, thanks, I prefer to see no racism.

      September 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TL

    Predictable responses from I'm assuming mostly White Americans, lol. I wonder if the situation were reversed, and White Americans were in the minority and continually had their image controlled by others, mostly in unflattering and stereotypical ways, can they so easily laugh it off and shrug their shoulders? I doubt it. Many are so used to being in positions of privilege, they would whine about every single injustice, whether real or merely perceived. You know this would happen.

    Come to think of it, that's exactly what happened in Japan when the local McDonald's made a commercial depicting a nerdy White guy who spoke Japanese weirdly, but happened to love McDonald's. Certain White expats didn't take to this too kindly and made it into an issue that reached international news outlets. I wonder how many of them thought that stereotypical images of Asians in the West were no big deal? There have been similar cases in other Asian countries as well.

    According to demographic trends, White Americans will be a minority in the near future in the U.S. How many White Americans feel uncomfortable with this? I'm guessing quite a few, most likely because they fear losing their privilege – privilege like being able to ignore the complaints of minorities. When that time comes, and if there are unflattering, stereotypical images of White Americans being portrayed over and over again in the media, remember what you wrote here and try to shrug it off if you can. Good luck with that.

    Or, better yet, here's a thought... why don't we all, regardless of race, work to get rid of all stereotypical portrayals. Earth shattering, eh? If everyone comes together on this, then this can be accomplished with very little effort. It will make the lives of everyone better. To the White Americans, at the very least, your lives will not get worse without these racist portrayals of minorities, and who knows, your lives, or the lives of your children, may benefit from this in the near future as well.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Very well written. I am a white woman and I am very aware of white privilege. As you said many white Americans do not think they have any privilege and everyone is created equal so anyone offended should just shut up. I teach about intercultural communication at the college level and I plan on paraphrasing you in future classes.

      October 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      I wanted to post again so I could check notify me if any comments are made to post. I hope you see my reply.

      October 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobbie

    I am french, do i get upset if somone wears a fench maid outfit, no. it sounds like some people need to get over themselfs and quit crying foul over every tiny thing.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      And, yet, I hear that the French don't like Americans that much. The French maid outfit doesn't help. Just sayin'.

      September 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Anex

        Only in the US for we call it a "French maid" in France it is called a "soubrette".

        -American Living in France

        October 8, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Don't look them in the eye and they won't attack

    Picture 1, Who noticed what she was wearing.
    2, I've seen African women dressed just like that in the U.N. (the earrings I mean)
    3, The cuffs should be higher to help keep their pants up.
    4, He's smiling, she's not, nuff said.
    5, If it had been white athleats with a black supervisor, we wouldn't have heard a word.
    6, Throwing a decapitated head? Yeah, that's real civilized.
    7, The name of any people by context is not copy write protected. All Army helicopters are named after American Indian tribes.
    8, OK, That was pretty stupid.
    9, Once again, he's smiling, she's not. lmfao
    10, Reality check.
    11, Dubai skyline my ass, I'll never drink another pepsi.
    12, World War one? Really? Somebody actually remembers that?

    These comments were ment to provoke humor at the stupidity of people everywhere, if I offended anybody, well, tough.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. evette

    As a half french person i do not get mad someone wears a french maid outfit, I really dont care what you wear under your clothes or do in your bedroom. If you really wanted to wear it out in public I would care either although I might do a double take.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HonestOpinion

    For those who casually brush off this incident as a case of the Asian community being overly sensitive, how many of you have been treated as a second class citizen because people think your race and ethnicity makes you weaker? Have you ever been told to "wait your turn" as other patrons are served before you even though you where there first because they think your subservient and won't make a fuss? That other people are more important than you because they are white? Have you ever been viewed as a meek plaything that should wait hand and foot for another person pleasure?

    Racism is an insidious thing. It's all those small stereotypes that dehumanizes a group of people into a grotesque parody. The reason why VS is getting such flack is due to the fact of it's mainstream appeal. The Asian community has every right to protest, just as VS has every right to produce their products. There are consequences to their actions .

    If VS wanted to celebrate the culture and beauty of Asians, they should have used Asian models in their regular line as well as their limited editions. They should have used more discretion and cultural sensitivity in their designs. The Geisha motif is a clumsy caricature of an often misrepresented aspect of Asian culture. I've seen several commentators point out the fact of why wasn't the movie "Memoir of a Geisha" protested if it was so controversial. Well, guess what? People did protest. It just wasn't covered by the media.

    September 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Just more desperate attempts to grab 'headlines' under the pretext of 'racism', read 'hate whitey, it's ok'.
      Shheesh. If it had been a cute asian model in Durndel and Hosen carrying beer steins CNN would've reported how creative this ad was.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Huh?

        Hey, Joe, your racism is showing. FYI.

        September 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bing

      I can't wait till VS comes out with their new line of BURKAS.

      September 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  16. K

    Gee. How terrible for Asian women to be seen as, "exotic and sexy." Poor things.

    September 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Pay my bar fine, I love you long time!!!!

    I think for so many people they have gone overboard with the whole PC thing. I mean, the whole African-American, Asian- American, Spanish-American, etc. blah, blah, blah. I personally like the outfit, and it would look outstanding on my girlfriend when I get dressed in my old, Navy (20 years retired) dress white uniform and we play out our "Sailor on Liberty" fantasy. For God and Country's sake people, lighten the hell up already! There really are people being oppressed, maimed, and killed in the world and it's not happening at the VS store in the mall!

    September 27, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • greg

      what's his name?

      September 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Your shrug-off on this racism shows your true colors.

      September 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. HAL

    What a non-article !

    September 27, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  19. ANNA

    Geisha are highly skilled traditional artists, musicians and dancers who spend their whole lives training to perfect their arts. This media controversy is utterly offensive to the geisha. The geisha have a complicated history? Whose stereotype is that and who suffers as a result of that stereotype? I think you will find that it is actually mainly an Anglo-saxon stereotype and not a mistake made by the Japanese media. The media here should issue an apology to the Japanese embassy and the geisha communities of Japan.

    September 27, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Franklin

      and h.ookers. They were fancy h.ookers.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Dana

    If I saw an American stereotype used in Asian lingerie I would voice my outrage everywhere possible!

    Not really. I would laugh and roll my eyes at how silly it is and move on.

    September 27, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  21. Greg

    Our society sucks at this point, how many people complained? 100,000, or was it a million, 10 million, well I'm sure it was a lot less, the whining I'm sure most of it came from our country, if that is the case, if 33 Million!!!! people complained about this, it would be 10% of our population (of the US), that number is a joke, it was more like 50,000, and that is just a guess, that number would be less than .02 % of the population, so I guess every time a bunch of whiners speaks out we should change business, this applies to all of the politically correct crap, I think if it doesn't hit 25% of the population, then policies, ads, and the now normal firing of people for what they say should all go by the wayside, we as a nation are now a bunch of pussies!

    September 27, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  22. Gary

    More and more I am hating what we have become... Not sure what is worse the over PC stuff, the totally lack of a spine by so companies and/or people, or the fact that the media brings this stuff up.

    September 27, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Bing

      You nailed it!

      September 27, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  23. mouse24

    Does this mean we have to get rid of the French Maid costume also?

    September 27, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  24. Tarin

    I'm Asian-American and I don't see anything wrong with the ads. Some people are just plain prude.

    September 27, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  25. edgyone

    Quick everyone, to the outrage mobile! Oh, brother....

    September 27, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  26. Sagebrush Shorty

    What next? Ban all bubble heads ?

    September 27, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Bing

      Please do, before another equally inane and insipid article is published.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  27. jillian

    Really people? Should be offended as an American that they also have a sexy little cowgirl?

    September 27, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • FiveLIters

      Only if it's reverse.

      ...nah,not even then. LOL

      September 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  28. POD

    Everybody.....and I mean EVERYBODY......needs to get over themselves and lighten up already......what is our major malfunction with this cultural hyper-sensitivity that borders on PC paranoia

    September 27, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  29. fiftyfive55

    Geishas are basically "kept" women any way so what's the issue here

    September 27, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  30. cb

    would you care for some whine with your cheezzzzzzeee

    September 27, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  31. hyphenite

    Black & Tan?? WWI, really? I somehow doubt there are many who really thought that when hearing that name.

    We really need to ratchet down the hypersensitivity to everything. Aren't there actual important things to worry about?

    September 27, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  32. Dino

    If you are not offended by everything insignificant then you are not American.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
    • blckwdw

      Pay attention. The person offended was Asian. Not American!

      September 27, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Soccer312

        I didn't know "American" was a race. Idiot.

        November 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Dino

    In a country like the US with everyones phones being tapped and cameras everywhere ignoramus feeble minded fools still find idiotic topics to be butt hurt about.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  34. Karloff

    Well, Im offended by the...by the...well. I'm offended and I want it stopped...whatever it is.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
  35. Inderson

    I'm surprised at most of these comments– people aren't reading this article for what it is. It's just social commentary for goodness sake, not a criminal indictment!

    Of course, VS is a company that sells low quality lingerie in middle-market malls ("5 for $25!" lol), so it does not come as a huge surprise that they would produce something like this (like Abercrombie et al).

    And for me, and many other people probably, it is not so much upsetting that VS made this (people have lots of fetishes), as just really perplexing and kind of interesting.

    What does it say about our culture that this very racially stereotyped look was produced by the largest mainstream lingerie company? I think that is the question. Whatever the answers are (personal taste, history, race, etc.), they're interesting answers.

    All in all, a really thoughtful article. Thanks Moni Basu!

    September 27, 2012 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Bing


      September 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gonzalo

        Posted on Congress is betting the coeiusttnnts are the lame ducks of course.And the concensus proves it. all one needs to do is turn on the boob tube CNN And your statement was on target! As healthcare is concerned you bet obama will muck-it-up as we can see its all about greed and power. I think we all see the big power grab and control by the government course this country is heading for. The problem is How do we stop it?.. Many feel as if a vote next year will fix the problem. I think it adds fuel to the fire not only that but I believe it is planned and controlled. Frankly speaking this will play rigth into obamas lap. he gets rid of the ones that oppose him. This is a very dangerous man he plays to win but not for America. Do you think that the democrats have no clue that they are going to be voted out? They have drones a model of themselves called republicans. All they need to do is e2€œchangee2€9d teams in mid streamI hate that word.Healthcare is no more than a money grab and nothing less than a power hungry dictatorship / totalitarionship. Ultamitly the micromanagement of the US. This is the avenue of the mark of the beast. The control of life from birth until death with the government making all of the decisions.

        October 15, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  36. Bing

    When enough women get their hands on the nuclear trigger, the world will end over one tacky piece of cheap lingerie.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  37. bluegillonthefly

    I lived in Asia for 10 years, and WRT the idea that East Asian women are exotic, far away, but pretty accessible, well, yeah, that's about the size of it 🙂

    During my 10 year stint there, I marred a very successful (and hot) entrepreneur. One of the many things we had in common was that the first time I dated an Asian was the last time I dated a non-Asian, and the first time she dated a white guy was the last time she dated anyone else. We both really found something in the other culture that we didn't find in our own. As they say, once you go Asian, you never go back.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • cb

      welll,i will say you are not short of hot air...

      September 27, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  38. RasPutin

    There are actual things to be offended by and true horrors that exist in the world that deserve our efforts to stop. This is not one of them.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Bing

      Oh No! This is an INCREDIBLY big deal!

      September 27, 2012 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  39. Chris

    I like it and that's all that matters to me.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  40. Jason

    Seriously this is offensive? I'm guessing the women protesting against this line are butt ugly.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  41. Capone

    So if you don't belong to a specific demographic, but try to use anything inspired by that demographic's culture, it's racist?

    I wonder if any of the Asian-Americans that complained that his was offensive own any clothing that would be considered "caucasian" inspired. If so, is it racist if they wear that?

    Or how about if they own anything that resembles something inspired by the "hip-hop/urban" culture? If an Asian-American wears a Sean John hoodie and a pair of Lugz, would that be offensive to black people?

    Or is it that white people aren't allowed to wear anything or associate themselves with any culture outside of the european cultures?

    Plain and simple, the people whining about this need to get a life. It's clothing.

    Go to your favorite search engine's image section and search "gesha". Now, are you still unable to comprehend why Victoria's Secret decided against keeping the "authentic" look and going for something more racy?

    It's Victoria's Secret you idiots.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  42. the fear

    "Victoria's Secret's silence on the matter has probably helped FAN the flames"

    now THAT'S racist... lol

    September 27, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  43. joe

    Seriously, they pull a brand called Cocaine, but Swisher Sweets is allowed to sell cigars called "Blunts". Double standard by the FDA!

    September 27, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      "Blunt" is a term for a broad tipped cigar, larger than a cigarillo, but smaller than a Corona, with a single continous tobacco leaf as a wrapper. This term has be bastardized due to the use of Blunt wrappers to create cannabis cigars.

      History! It's your friend! But seriously, that's understandable. The term blunt has been around for a really long time for cigars though.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  44. the fear

    This is ridiculous. I've seen dozens of "s3xy geisha" costumes when halloween shopping... I even have one myself. how come it's not an issue until victorias secret sells it? These over s3xualized geisha outfits have been around forever and are all advertised in the exact same manner. Go to 3wishes.com and you'll find all kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinds of reasons to be offended there, whether it be the s3xy native costume, geisha, cleopatra... etc.

    September 27, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  45. Juck

    That would be all fine and well if it was a stereotype,, but it's not.

    September 27, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  46. Nathan

    lol...get a life

    September 27, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  47. Jorian

    well, these are basically paid-for cosplay clothes, not to be taken seriously, and usually worn for "bed scenes" only anyway

    September 27, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  48. DC

    The latest media obsession: MANUFACTURED CONTROVERSY

    September 27, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  49. lewtwo

    Joz Wang is right. The belt is a bit too much. It detracts from the rest outfit (and the model).

    September 27, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  50. Janet

    There’s no lingerie like French lingerie! VS should go back to Paris for inspiration!

    September 27, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Lill

      Here in NZ a news item on TV two nights ago had preminont climate scientists from our Gov. NIWA and Met. Service telling us that painting our roofs white will help combat imminent catastrophic global warming. Confused experts? The very next TV item had our Met. Service (unfortunately not the same employees) warning us of an unseasonal and bitterly cold weather system that will give us snow right down to sea level. Maybe the MSM are developing a sense of humour. And yup our Met Service got the weather forecast right.

      November 15, 2012 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  51. Fred Lynn

    It is stupid political correctness to try and complain about lingerie...men buy lingerie for themselves, beyond some thigh-highs most women wouldn't buy a teddy. I know, my sister worked at a VS, and she said over 80% of the paying clients are male buying for their loved ones. It's a storm in a teacup, made worse by a woman who doesn't even shop there. I bet SHE is lots of fun..."Dear, foreplay will begin 7:45 tonight. And FYI, thank you."

    September 27, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  52. Dustin

    Aw, did someone blink?

    September 27, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Gino

      diarrhea was caused by glbaol warming. Diarrhea is due to a fluid imbalance in your intestines. This can be caused by many things. This is just a short list food borne pathogens (food poisoning), malnutrition, food allergies, radiation exposure, dysentery. Trust me, there are many more, and most of these are due to poverty conditions rather than the planet warming. Strike three and you are out of here, Kofi!

      November 15, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  53. Peikovi

    The "crazy whre waves fan" slogan didn't work either, and crazy whres were offended.

    September 27, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  54. JT

    Look up the meaning of "Geisha"... this is how it becomes racially charged.. not the chopsticks.

    September 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Bill

    Let's see ... a company creates a controversial product, and consumer pressure causes them to "unrelease" it.

    This sounds like capitalism worked perfectly in this instance.

    Tell me again how this is news?

    September 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  56. mugwump

    AHHHH!!!! Freedom of Speech!!! What a novel idea!!!! Unless of course it's a crappily made video mocking a "prophet", then it's ixnay on the eech-spay, PRONTO!!!!

    September 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Ninian Beall

    Dude, I prefer "pre-pupae".

    September 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Fred

    I find it funny that the posters here are drilling the person offended. Straight up, if someone is offended that is their opinion. If it is about race and you are not of that race you should just put a cork in it rather than attacking her for being too sensitive.
    I think we have forgotten about compassion and trying to see something from another persons perspective once and a while.

    September 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • the fear

      i don't mind putting myself in someone elses shoes when something RATIONAL happens to them. this is irrational and I am sure many asian people ordered the costume themselves. anger is an emotion that we either choose to or not to be. unfortunately, some people enjoy being angry and complaining.

      September 27, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • jim jones

      That's absurd. Someone cries racism, and unless I am of their race I must keep my mouth shut about the topic? What you suggest is far more frightening and threatening to a free society than the perceived racism addressed in this story.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      As an American, I'm offended by them being offended. Your move.

      But seriously, if it's about race it's untouchable? Ok. Let's go. I'm gonna make a list of everything I could possibly be offended about, and we'll see about banning all of it.
      -I'm of Polish descent, so the Polish jokes are gonna have to go (Oh, but I'll still make them; it's my people after all).
      -I was raised Roman Catholic, so the Catholic jokes offend me. They've gotta go (But I won't stop!).
      -The term Caucasian is offensive, as I know of no one in my family line for the past 6 generations that is from the Caucus mountains (What are you saying, all white people look alike? THAT'S RAC1ST!).
      -I think that cracker companies should be banned, because "cracker" is a derogatory slur for white people.
      -Also white bread, horn companies (honkies), and tighty "whities."

      Waah! Your rights end where my feelings begin! Waah! And you can't say anything about it because you're not an upper-middle class 20-something American male of Polish/Anglo descent living in the midwest! You just don't get my people!

      September 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  59. theseconddavid

    Instead of making a list of who gets offended these days, let's save a whole lot of time a make a list of who doesn't. If you are offended by the stereo-type, its because it hits too close to home. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

    September 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Jacob M

    "I went to the comedy show, and the comedian said something about the lord. And, I was offended... And, when I woke up in the morning, I had leprosy."

    September 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Robert N

    We need another global catastrophe to remind people what's really important in life.

    September 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • RasPutin

      Here here. When your week is influenced by your offense to which style of lingerie is being sold, that means your life is too comfy.
      There actually are things to be offended by and actual horrific things out there. This is not one of them.

      September 27, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  62. Frangible

    I like how the only people offended by this "racism" are whites and an American-born Chinese whose credentials include *blogging on the internet*. Maybe she should do less blogging and more reading about the Nanjing Massacre and Unit 731. Who are you that you have forgotten your own history?

    September 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  63. a slozomby

    if we're going to play geisha dress up please get a proper kimono.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Tim

    good one !!

    September 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edilce

      Juan Gomez October 18, 2011 From now on, I’m gonna try and sum up Kate’s date experience in 5 words or less so you won’t have to read thgoruh all that stuff, kind of a condensed Cliff notes. This one is easy:William Ron Jeremy with horses Next!

      November 15, 2012 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  65. tony

    Why do bra companies think pushed up and inwards, distorted breasts are attractive? Just makes real breasts look like ugly implants

    September 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • bitnar

      I agree with you.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  66. mugwump

    Oh, please Asian community – don't go down the overly touchy path of some others from the Eastern world – you are too good for this, and unlike them, willing to live in the 21st century (as opposed to the 12th). You are the last group that DOESN'T see offensiveness lurking around every corner. You just work twice as hard as all the others (including us Americans) and thrive.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Stan Freberg

    Elderly Man River, he must know somethin' but he don't say nothin' ... he just keeps rollin' along.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  68. George Orwell

    This article bears out the sheer insanity of political correctness. Why not end the cries of racism by dividing the country into ethnically oriented Republics. Nobody I know wants to smell egg rolls all day. Or curry for the matter either. Or ham hocks. Or gefilte fish.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Sierrah

    Victoria's Secret has Asian models...one of their main models is Chanel Iman. And every culture has harmless stereotypes based upon them! Yes, this does rile me up, I can honestly find false logic within every comment in this article.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • notredamegirl

      Chanal Iman is Bi-Racial and she is not considered a Asian model, hence her being in the issue of Italy Vouge that show cased black models.

      September 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Sunny2012

    ...aaaaaand this is why the so-called useless anthropology degree is important for business. Think of all the wasted capital that could have been avoided.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Land of the free???

      No, its still a useless degree. This is just PC gone wild, and if anything,.. some anthropology major just ruined the bedroom fun of others... well done.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sunny2012

        No, an anthropologist would have explained the spectrum of reactions expected from their consumer base, whether interested or outraged in the product. You can complain about whether the outcry is PC or not–judgment like that doesn't matter. What matters is there is a calculated amount of outrage, enough where this product should have been sniffed out as the money drain it now is.

        September 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  71. David

    As we can all see, this racism bit has gone overboard, because next we will be calling chocolate cake racist. By the way, what is wrong with role playing?

    September 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Mark

    If the ad featured an asian or black model wearing, let's say, lederhosen-themed lingerie, would the Germans cry racism? Must be a slow news day. There is so much tripe and BS in this article, it's laughable. But the outfit itself isn't racist at all. People need to stop complaining about every damn thing they see.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • msk

      As an Asian woman, I think the hubbub is silly and outdated. But some of those other ads are seriously offensive and frightening. E.g. the Belvedere one makes my blood run cold.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheri

      I agree!!! If it had been an Asian model, the world world would be at peace and everyone would be able to sleep tonight. But because it's a white woman, there must be something racist or degrading about it? Seriously, people! Get a life. Also, I happen to think it's a beautiful piece of lingerie and too bad it wouldn't look that good on me!

      September 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • FanMan

        >too bad it wouldn't look that good on me!

        I think you should prove it by posting a pic and letting me judge. 😉 j/k

        September 27, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  73. Van

    What's wrong with the Geisha thing? Looks great to me.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  74. msk

    P.S. It's Victoria's Secret. Big surprise it's cheesy as all hell.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Paige Chia

    I get the impression that the writer of this piece isn't quite clearheaded. Just look at the first two sentences. I'd like to point out to Moni Basu that it is Joz Wang's opinion that Victoria Secret merchandize is overpriced. Noting that something is overpriced does not mean that someone cannot spare the money to buy it. Moni Basu made a ridiculous assumption there. Or perhaps she has no sense with money.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • edgyone

      She was perpetuating the "frugal Asian" stereotype. Without even realizing it, she did the same thing as what she was decrying in her stupid article.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  76. McGoo

    Once again a small group of vocal individuals are offended and ruin the fun for the rest of us. Geez, get a grip. If you feel that strongly about it, don't buy it. You do have the power of choice. Just like all the folks who are offended by the likes of Howard Stern, once again, it's simple, change the station.
    If you want to be offended by something, be offended by the fact that this outfit was probablly sewn by a 12 year old in some sweat shop in SE Asia making $0.50 for an 18 hour day.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      Yes true and so was the outfit that they were wearing when they were complaining about the victoria secret one

      September 27, 2012 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  77. John

    Oh my god, how sad. Maybe these women are just jealous because they're too fat or old to be wearing in this. I think it looks hot and would love to have an exotic chick in my bedroom wearing this.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  78. K Lee

    I think I'll protest Lean Cuisine's stir-fry dishes for not being authentic now – they are nothing like mom's.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Doodlebug2222

    To me there are many factors at work here – #1 – important people that want their hands in the mix and basically bully everyone else at the table to their way of thinking. They do this to say "they" were a major part of the creation. Except my guess is when things get mucked up such as this – they withdraw that claim fast. #2 – People that hire relatives or friends – instead of people that are qualified. #3 – People that do not think though every part of the equation and ask questions that should be asked. #4 – People that RUSH things to decision and then production to once again, help their growing ego and of course .. resume. All of these – I could of seen issues coming down the road. Let people do their job w/o interference, hire people that are qualified to do the job and stop chasing away the ones that are good at their job and omg – stop hiring YES men and YES women....

    September 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Richard

    Omg, who the hell cares. Get over it, another senseless point in been too politically correct.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • K Lee

      I agree. I suppose that that a non-asian woman in a Cheongsam would be disrespectful if you followed the culturally PC line of thinking?

      September 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Richard

        The idea is that people are dressing up and having fun. If this had some evil sense behind it it would be different but it's not. This might not be about Asian women as much as the idea behind geishas who after all were highly expensive courtesans. Sort of the way someone would enjoy their boyfriend wearing a cowboy hat or a guy wanting his girlfriend to wear a french maids oufit. This is stupid news. I'm gay, I'm Latin, and I'm brown and I recognize this is people been way too sensitive.

        September 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  81. BC

    The publication referenced and linked is not germane to the story. It is pushing more gender politics as a whole and gender bigotry-what a surprise. CNN is pandering more and more to this. Less and less serious news and more trite pop culture... An effective and destructive marketing thread to make X's angry, thus manipulating X's to sales pitches. Like the publication linked to in this "story". How about more serious work, how about it Ms. Basu?

    September 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  82. joesmith

    same old cnn..too much honesty, can divide the camp..

    September 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Tim

    this is just rediculicious. Why did they not ban the movie, Geisha then? I don't see a problem with the outfit. I see a problem with people's sensitivities.

    September 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Geisha or Not

    To top it off, the Geisha outfit looks like a hideously lame design.

    September 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Matt

    Is there anything that someone doesn't get offended about these days? You can't look sideways these days without someone accusing you of racism or trying to offend. When did not being offended become a right?

    September 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpc65

      You, sir, have just offended me with your remarks. *snicker*

      September 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • IndianaGreg

        And you're offense has offended me....Gott in Himmel...we're in an Offensive-Spiral!

        September 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Runkle

      They should rename the campaign " Go South" because that's where I want to head when I see this picture. and I'm Asian

      September 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Well spoken Matt! Everyone's hyper-sensitivity to EVERYTHING these days is beyond ridiculous – what a bunch of whiners!! If they came out with a cowgirl outfit I suppose that would be racist in perpetuating the "farmer's daughter" stereotype. All this extreme PC BS is a HUGE threat to free speech and it's turning people into non-coping pansies.

      September 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sally

        yeah, I'm just about to set my French maid's outfit on fire...

        September 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ellie


        September 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |