Forever 21, who will soon have to change their name to Forever Controversial, is hearing it from critics once again, over a $1.50 "Oriental Girl Necklace" that some find offensive and derogatory towards Asian women.
The necklace — kind of a Hello Kitty-crossed-with-Princess Leia sort of thing — depicts a white-faced girl in traditional Asian dress with her black hair pulled back into two small buns. In other words, it's nothing worse than Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers perfume bottles.
Back in September, as you might recall, Forever 21 ended up pulling their "Allergic to Algebra" t-shirt aimed at young girls, due to complaints from shoppers that the shirt conveyed an "anti-education" message. And then came Urban Outfitters' infamous Navajo Pants underwear line, whose detractors ultimately forced a name change. (There seems to be a double standard when it comes to professional sports teams though, with the Braves, Chiefs, Redskins, Blackhawks, etc. still going strong.) Style blog Fashionista also posted a picture on their site that shows a necklace sold by Forever 21 in-store but not online, depicting a swarthy girl with her hair in two braids wearing traditional Native-American clothing.
As in all of these cases, opinion was, and is, divided. Dani Mau of Fashionista wrote, "Apparently, Forever 21 thinks that people want to wear outdated, cultural stereotypes as necklaces, and that it's okay to sell them." And the other side, of course, thinks it's all an overreaction, that everyone should stop being overly PC and take a chill pill already. I guess the only solution going forward is to just make everything ethnically ambiguous, so as to preemptively avoid any huffing and puffing from interest groups.