Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lime Crime, you're doing it wrong.

*If you want to read updates on the events that have been happening ever since I wrote this post, please click here for the first update, here for the next update and finally here for my response to Doe Deere's blog post on the subject*

Oh the things I have to say about this advert campaign. 

I should preface this by saying that there's nothing wrong with learning about and enjoying another culture. I'm certainly not saying that other people can't be inspired by other cultures or in this case, that non-Asians can't enjoy, appreciate, or be a part of an Asian or outside culture. We wouldn't be aware of other cultures if it weren't for people outside the culture seeking to study and learn about it and for members of the culture to want to inform others. Cultures are all different and are meant to be appreciated for their differences.

Cultural appropriation crosses a line when you borrow aspects of another culture without understanding the importance of it within that culture (feather headdresses for Native Americans for example). I think some people need to understand the concept of exploitation of other cultures.

I should also add in that this is my viewpoint based off of my experiences living in the United States. What may be offensive to me may not be deemed offensive to you based off of where you live and your cultural experiences. 

This is Lime Crime's Chinadoll advertising campaign for their newest product, which is a five pan eyeshadow palette. I know nothing about the product itself but I'm extremely displeased at this image, the text and description, and what it represents. I take opposition to the way that Lime Crime has chosen to do this advertisement and how Chinese culture is somehow twisted in their interpretation and done in an ethnocentric and orientalist way. I'm not saying that the owner Doe is a racist since some people might interpret what I'm saying that way. I'm saying that the campaign was done in a culturally insensitive way and the entire thing is rather ignorant of Chinese culture, past and present.

I should also add that this post is meant to be an informative one. If you want to purchase from them with your own money, I'm not in a position to dictate that you shouldn't. It's your money and spend it however you want to! I'm just giving my two cents on a topic that I think is important.

CHINADOLL
Image taken from Limecrimemakeup.com

The text that accompanies the image:

"Don't let her milky skin, pouty mouth and flushed cheeks fool you, underneath the poised facade, there lies a heart of a tigress"

and the text that describes how to create the Chinadoll look

"Chinadoll is fragile and bold, soft-spoken and out-spoken, a free spirit of undeniable presence. I created a romantic duality by casting watercolor gradients against sharper lines -- Lotus Noir was applied under lower lashes, blended into Jade-o-Lade, then faded seamlessly into Parasol. Finally, I added soft-red accents to her cheeks, brows and around the temples for an innocent glow evocative of vintage Chinese advertising posters"

Okay, let's talk a little bit about the inspiration for the look. Based off of the text, the look and image seems to be inspired by vintage Chinese advertising posters. Doing a quick google image search pops up many advertisements from the 1920s and 1930s.

*EDIT 2/13 Prior to this, the actual inspiration for the look was ambiguous and I had only based it off of the description that was given in the look and the accompanying text. I thought I'd update with a snippet from an interview I found that Doe did with a blogger wherein she spoke about her inspiration for the palette.

"Chinadoll is a multi-purpose palette, our first foray into the realm of pressed eyeshadows. The name is a pun: China + porcelain (china) doll. I'm partial to the Chinese aesthetic and collect clothes, jewelry and furniture... I love the Shanghai advertisement posters from the 1920s, they have such innocence and purity to them even though they're often advertising cigarettes, haha. Chinadoll is not a literal reference however, more of a fantasy character inspired by the beauty of China. In our campaign, she is portrayed by the tattooed indie style icon, Hannabeth"*
Now in these Shanghai advertisements, the women are wearing a traditional Chinese outfit called a cheongsam, qipao, or in English, a mandarin gown. Specifically, the women are wearing a tight fitting version. According to Wikipedia's page on the qipao, the tight fitting version that's most common today was created, popularized, and made fashionable during the 1920s in Shanghai by socialites and upperclass women. The qipao used to be loose fitting but it became outdated due to the popularity of the tighter qipao.

Now in the advertisement, it looks like the model is wearing a Japanese Kimono. First off, Japanese culture and Chinese culture are not interchangeable. Secondly, many of the vintage 1920s and 1930s Chinese advertisements feature the tight qipao in that era, so why wouldn't you use it? Doe Deere has specifically said that she loved the advertising campaigns from Shanghai during that period yet she failed to use the clothing that was popular during that time in her advertisement? Oh how you're completely doing it wrong!

The tight qipao is still in use today, so it wouldn't be difficult to find one to use for the shoot. Further research pops up this Buzznet photo album of the model at the shoot that shows the full outfit which actually looks like a Chinese and Japanese inspired robe as opposed to a kimono. The sleeves are large like a kimono while the collar looks like it has frog button clasps.

It looks lazy to not use a traditional Chinese dress when you're doing an advertisement inspired by Chinese culture and a Chinese advertisement in an era that had a clearly defined fashion style and you clearly said later on that you were inspired by it. Even on the Wikipedia page on the qipao, you can see a picture of a 1930s Shanghai advertisement featuring two women wearing a tight qipao. I know I first thought the Lime Crime model was wearing a Kimono, which makes me wonder about who else did too. The styling of the shoot makes it look like a watered down stereotype of Chinese advertisements and culture, not an homage to them. I don't have qualms with the paper parasol since that's prevalent in many Asian cultures.

I do wonder why she chose to not use an Asian model when she's being inspired by and doing an homage to Chinese advertisements. It's already bad enough that Asian models aren't common in the fashion world and popular media and have only started to become more popular in the modeling world to appeal to the up and coming Chinese buying power but that's a subject for another post.

Oh and now onto the text. The texts accompanying the image and describing the look is offensive but I can just sum it up by saying that the "China Doll" stereotype is freaking old, the orientalism is ridiculous and I'm pretty tired of the idea that Asian culture is "exotic" or "mystical". It's ethnocentric, describing the Asian culture as outside the realms of what's considered normal according to your own culture. For a mainstream campaign, it's narrow minded and ignorant to continue to perpetuate Asian stereotypes of "meekness, fragility and mystical strength" within the text and description of the look for the campaign. Adding that this is just a "fantasy" palette is rather ignorant. If you'd like to read more, you can look up the "China Doll" stereotype and orientalism on Wikipedia. If you'd like to read up more on Asian stereotypes, positive or negative, please click out this source which nicely encompasses the restrictive Asian stereotypes.

*Added 2/13: In regards to statement that Doe says that it's not "a literal reference however, more of a fantasy character inspired by the beauty of China", I call utter appropriation on that statement! That is ridiculous that she thinks that it's okay to borrow or bastardize aspects of Chinese culture and styling and then to top it all off with a spew of insensitive and stereotyping descriptions on Chinese women! *

Also, please stop using the term oriental? In America, that term is outdated, derogatory, and Eurocentric. Please just use the term "Asian". Many people might not know that it can be seen as derogatory and I hope that by addressing it now you'll know the impression that it'll give when you use it in the United States.

Since some people seem to think other wise,  I understand that china dolls are not from China specifically. The word "china" in china doll refers to porcelain, which came from China, but not specifically dolls that were made in China. It seems that most china dolls are European in origin.

To sum it up, I'm extremely displeased at the advertising campaign.

I've only just noticed an apology posted (a day after many of us commented expressing our displeasure) on the comment thread. This is what it had to say-

"I'm very sorry to hear that some of you found the Chinadoll concept offensive. Chinadoll is inspired by a time and a place, and is not meant to depict any contemporary or even real person. My Chinadoll is strong but not afraid to cry, rebellious but in control, traditional and untamed all at once. She is a living contradiction and, above all, a *woman* -- she can never be, or will be stereotyped. I hope you guys can continue to support our independent brand, we truly do pour our hearts and souls into it. Thanks for your feedback!-Doe"

I'm glad she apologized, but I really don't know what to make of the rest of her comment. I should note that a few people have had their posts deleted, one of which was of this image on the facebook page wall.

culture4

I understand that people can and will say "oh why bother with this, it's just an advertisement and there are bigger things in the world to care about". Well, that's a pretty big red herring. Saying that doesn't make what I'm saying and my opinion any less legitimate. I feel rather strongly about this and I'm allowed to have these feelings and many others share the same sentiment. We may agree to disagree but I'd like to see more people discussing this.

All opinions are my own and not influenced by anyone. Thank you to everyone who's been kind enough to read, tweet, comment, and link to this post! I think it's important to say that while you may not agree that it is offensive, I'd like to be able to show people how it could be taken offensively.

102 comments :

  1. I hadn't seen or read anything on this campaign until just now, but I agree with you 100% - it's offensive and unacceptable. The "apology" is also one of those fake "I'm sorry you feel that way" type deals, which is not even an apology at all. And then, she continued to reinforce the stereotypes, all in the same breath. Just....NO.

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  2. That isn't an apology. Read that text and look back at the image. Yep, all I'm seeing is a white girl in a cliched costume.

    Ugh.

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  3. Great post! I think if you didn't mention about the costume.. I wouldn't have realised. The model DOES look like she's wearing a Kimino.. or anything but a qipao. Meh!

    I could pass if a blogger created this inspired look and labels it 'Chinadoll' inspired or whatever. But from an independent company, who are also supposedly to be professional, I do expect them to be much more and spot-on with simple things like costumes.

    With this campaign/advert, it should be reasonable to be so furious! I'd be hella pissed if they did a 'Vietnamese' inspired shoot with the model wearing another's culture costume too!

    X

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    1. I read other comments that this "wasn't as bad as black face." People only say that because in the US, we are more aware of racist toward African Americans, therefore we're more aware of why black face is offensive. ATTN LIME CRIME: It is offensive to dress up a model of one race and pass her off as the ideal beauty for another. Exact same as black face.

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  4. Again, it bounces back to this not being the first time she's done something so ignorant and culturally insensitive.

    Difference is, last time it was based on the Romanovs, and she's Russian.

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  5. Nicely done post. And I didn't see an apology. "I'm very sorry to hear that some of you found the Chinadoll concept offensive," isn't apologizing for any choices or actions. Or taking responsibility for being disrespectful to a culture. Even though it seems as though it was unintentional, if people are offended then a real apology is in order, in my opinion.

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  6. Urgh, definitely crossing a line! And of course there's the "I'm sorry you were offended" apology. I've heard pretty much only shady things about Lime Crime and this racist ad is just further cementing their place in my bad books.

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  7. I think that the image is most certainly ignorant, especially if it is specifically aimed for a certain time period and place. I agree that they should have used an asian model or at least a couple models and have different ethnicities then it would sort of be like spreading the joy and traditions of a culture to others. The kimono is sadly a huge error and her apology sucks plain and simple. I mean the image itself is beautiful but not correct. I agree with what Tram said, for the average person this could just be an ignorant (though not intentionally hurtful or purposefully insensitive) mistake. Something that an uninformed individual could do, but companies and media campaigns should have more research behind them. I personally had no idea about the chinadoll origin as it is a common description used in many media/television/novels etc. for a petite pale skinned, dark haired asian woman; or even just a woman with lovely almost perfect beauty and pale super skin. It's interesting to know, but I think it has morphed beyond the original misunderstanding and beyond the cultural inaccuracies to just mean something neutral with no offense intended. (In fact I often hear chinadoll in a positive light- a beautiful ethereal sort of quality or a treasure). Also I had no idea that oriental was considered in anyway offensive. I know where I live it is commonly used without offense meant in the slightest- and I like to think I am a friend of multiple asians so I certainly wouldn't mean to insult or seem negatory to anyone. I'm not trying to defend the ad, I'm merely stating that sometimes different places or cultures don't realize that they are being insulting and instead are neutral or even positive in their meaning but are being interpreted differently.
    Anyways, an excellent post, and I hope you don't mind me stating my view.

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    1. I don't mind you sharing your view at all, I'd like to see more viewpoints on the topic other than the people on the Facebook wall saying "calm down".

      I think perhaps since Asians aren't commonly seen in media makes it so issues like this aren't discussed much. I certainly value your viewpoint and wouldn't ever want to censor what you're saying.

      Oriental is a really really old term not used much now and I know you wouldn't mean to be derogatory to anyone, I think it's good that you know now that it can be seen as offensive and I don't think you ever intended your use of it to be offensive.

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    2. I'd prefer to stay anon on this one since I am remaining neutral for many reasons. I have a lot of Asian family, I am an educated woman with two master's degree's, and I am very familiar with Asian culture because I grew up in it (my family is Hong Kong Chinese & Filipino). I agree with so many things you say, yet also see much of the attack on the ad campaign as 'nit picking' at best. I know the dress is inaccurate, but it's not intended to be presenting a seductive body (at least this is how I take it), so focusing on loser-fitting clothes seems understandable.

      The only small point I wanted to make is that I learned a few years ago that there are many places--even some shockingly metropolitan areas in Southern California--where the term "Oriental" is still a commonly used word. I do not use it (it became non-PC where I'm from at least 15-20 years ago), but when I was in college and asked why there was a shift from "Oriental" to "Asian," the "educated" answer I was given is that "oriental" is too over-generalized, not that it is so much offensive. It means "of the east," as opposed to "Occidental" which means "of the west." It has been phased out because there are so many places that qualify as "oriental" that it is too non-specific when you are referring to people of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, or Filipino cultures (or any other over-generalized Asian culture). It would be the same as to call all Americans, South Americans, and Europeans, "Occidentals" which is a more obvious over-generalization. If you really want to get nit-picky, I think you should know that in my area, it is considered offensive to say "Asian" instead of "Chinese" or whatever other culture you are referring to, because these Asian cultures are so very different. Many of these cultures have actually hated each other for centuries, and they certainly do not like to be confused with one another.

      I suppose, when you get right down to it, the real question is: "When are we 'nit picking TOO much?" Just a thought. Please don't kill me.

      Nice blog, btw ;)

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    3. I must agree, I feel it as being very nit-picking too. I'm Czech and it's like whenever somebody says Czechoslovakia I know it's not correct, it's quite ignorant not to know that country is non existent for almost 20 years but I don't make a big whole drama out of it. Or if somebody says Czech Republic is East European country and pictures poor Ukraine. That is also offensive yet very common. There are so many misconceptions in the world and there's not point to make big deal out of it.

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  8. I think cultural representation is lacking in Hollywood, period. It's a predominantly white and male-centric industry with the token this or that thrown in. From my understanding, Asians are considered the "model minority" and have excelled in many fields and are worshiped in the blogging community. It can get a little grating at times with the wapanese constantly saying "kawaii desuuuu" after every sentence but that's besides my point. The presence of the Asian community and their influence is not to be overlooked or belittled by anyone. It would be nothing short of disastrous so that is why I'm amazed that Doe would use anyone but a CHINESE model in this advertisement. What does irk me is that no one's feathers are ruffled when those of Latin origin are presented as interchangeable. I want to read a blog post about that. That being said, a lot of the Asian stereotypes have more positive connotations than not.

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    1. A large issue is actually the idea that Asians are the model minority, it certainly sets a high standard for some people to live up to and a pressure that's really unnecessary. Positive stereotypes are not, it'a nor fair to say Asians are this, this, and this making them feel like they have to be a certain type of person and live within a certain confine. I can't tell if you clicked the link that I posted along with the Wikipedia article but it does talk a lot about the stereotypes and how unfair they are

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    2. Daphne, I am so glad someone else gets irritated by "omg kaway desoo" all the freakin time, with murdered pronounciation. Damn white kids.

      Sincerely, a white kid who was too poor for anime growing up.

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  9. To be fair, the robe didn't raise immediate red flags for me (I'm Chinese with a passing knowledge of the clothing) since older styles of Chinese garments have the wide sleeves. Google "Chinese robe" or look up Wikipedia's entry on Chinese clothing -- some of the examples there are clearly the loose basis for the model's costume. That said, it's a shallow imitation of the actual thing, not to mention the model's description of it as a "kimono" is clearly incorrect. Like you said, cultures are not interchangeable!

    The fact that LC chose a white model for a Chinese-themed campaign is what made me roll my eyes the most, actually. Something about non-Asian people dressing up as ~exotic Asian beauties~ always got under my skin. Aside from the blatant fetishization and objectification, it is tiring to see Asian models/actors continually passed over even when the choice to cast them seems damned obvious. (See: Avatar the Last Airbender movie debacle)

    To be honest, I'm not even offended. Just astonished that people continue to be this ignorant (and proudly defend said ignorance) in this day and age. Then again, I can't say I'm surprised to see this behavior from LC or its loyal fans.

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    1. I think it might helped fuel my indignation because I wasn't aware of the older styles of Chinese garments; I really thought it was a kimono at first glance (and then I learned that the kimono was based off of Chinese clothing, who knew?)

      Oh man do not get me started on The Last Airbender. I could rant about that for years, they didn't even bother trying to find a young Asian child to play Aang!

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  10. my initial thought after seeing the model was, shouldn't the palette be named japanese doll than china doll?

    kimono probably has its origin from china but it's linked with japanese nowadays.

    a lot of major cosmetic companies use caucasians to market whitening products in asia so i'm sort of immuned to the model's race.

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    1. But as you see... Amy of Sugarpill has lots of Japanese friends so a Chinaderp campaign is Xenia's way of copying her and be able to defend herself by saying how different it is.

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  11. I'm half Filipino, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. I do think the use of a white model is a bit of an odd choice, and it does seem perpetuate some pretty awful stereotypes about Asians. I have to say though, that I am strongly offended by the term "oriental". That is simply NOT an acceptable term for Asians/Pacific Islanders. She needs to educate herself on these cultures before embarking on an advertising campaign based on ignorance! (Okay, I guess I do know how I feel about it after all!)

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  12. Great post! Couldn't agree more. Also, I remember a teacher from a women's studies class I took years ago used to HATE the word "oriental" and "exotic."

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  13. Thank you Mai for posting this. I obviously agree with you 100% seeing as I for one am asian (1/3 Chinese) and did find that ad a bit offensive. It really bothers me when people call asians... Oriental. Thanks but i'm not a rug.

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    1. The term oriental is offensive because that's the name that explorers made up for a continent they "discovered". It's why Indians is not an acceptable term when referring to Native Americans. But Lime Crime doesn't care what she uses as long as Dough makes a buck.

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    2. I am a half-Japanese, half-Cherokee and I am involved with both sides of my family and cultures. In both cases, we use these terms to describe ourselves! Nobody that I've dealt with or spoken to takes offense to either the term Oriental or Indian. Seriously, people nowadays are overly sensitive when it comes to race. I'm not white, and I don't think all white people are inherantly racist (by virtue of being naive). Minorities just have a stick up their ass and insist that words that were used by Europeans are somehow inherantly degrading. Yes there is a long history of Eurocentric racism, but take any college-level history class worth it's salt and you'll see that whites aren't the only ones who were colonizing, slave-trading, and conquering.

      All that being said, I still think Lime Crime is a nasty company with no morals and should be avoided like the plague.

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    3. I think it's important not to discount the experience of others with the term and it's important to remember that while others may not find offense, it's clear that many do. I don't think all white people are racist but I find it a little silly to you think all minorities have a stick up our asses. I'm also not claiming that it's only the white people that colonized, dealt with slave-trading and conquering, but I will note that at least in America's history, we were the only ones to do it based on race.

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  14. She uses a WHITE model and claims she's celebrating the beauty of Orientals. What kind of message is that?! Way to spit in the face of an entire continent. I've been blocked from the facebook page, which is really Dough's loss. While I do not buy Lime Crime for myself, I have purchased LC for three of my cousins. Needless to say, LC has just lost itself 3 teenage customers.

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    1. Oriental is lime crime's word, not mine.

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  15. I've been following this closely and knew from the moment that I first saw the Hanna Beth photos that this was a bad idea. I've commented before on other websites and have said pretty much the same things there that everyone has been saying, so I won't go into how irritating it is that an Asian model wasn't used or any of the other larger issues that have been raised.

    I would like to say though that it truly amazes me that during production, nobody on Xenia's team told her that maybe it wasn't a good idea to make a culturally-inspired collection. Maybe she was told, but chose not to listen; but it doesn't mean she couldn't have been persuaded. I understand that for someone like her who was born and raised in a country where cultural diversity is scarce, she might not be able to fully grasp how unintentional cultural-stereotyping affects people, regardless of how "positive" or negative the stereotype is.
    Then again, she's been living in the US for a little over a decade now and has since lived in the two most populated and diverse cities in the world's most diverse nation, so how she hasn't caught on to how hurtful stereotyping can be is rather upsetting. What's more, her husband and business-partner, Mark, grew up in the US and yet it seems that he either didn't care or didn't realize that creating a collection based on a culture unfamiliar to them wasn't a good idea. For someone who has invested into his wife's company, it's surprisingly pretty careless on his part, especially since money is at stake and they've been known to be quite greedy in that side of business. But I guess that when a person or two are so set on beating out their competition, reputations don't matter and they don't stop to think who they might be hurting to get to the top. In the end, regardless of who they hurt with their poor business ethics, nobody will feel the damage more than Xenia and Mark, who will be forced to lie in the graves they've dug themselves. It's a shame they've pretty much destroyed the potential they once had to create a great company.

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  16. I'm just stunned about how poorly this whole campaign was made.

    Sure I've faced the fact that people abroad see my native culture as something quite different than it is for me, but to me as a graphic designer and a marketeer it seems that it was not just being ignorant but even lazy to a stage undefined. If she was more educated in this trade she might have actually gotten it right but this is just ridiculous.

    Besides that it is stereotypical, clichéy and ignorant it also looks kitschy and cheap. I would not spend my money on lc's Chinaderp.

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  17. Not to mention that she photoshopped Hannah Beth into looking more "oriental" whatever that means.

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  18. Lazy, half assed and ignorant. I don't expect anything else from Lime Crime but this is very dissapointing.

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    1. half assed is so on point. Everything she does is looks only, no quality or substance (especially the product).

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    2. Yeah. I have to say... I have not heard any good thing about LC or Xenia or whatever name she is going by these days. I think she's adorable, yes, and I don't honestly believe she meant any harm or insult by initiating this campaign. I also think that her response is not appropriate. That said, I wouldn't want her lying and giving an appropriate one, if she's not sorry for her actions full stop. I think that it's interesting she fetishized another culture, when she belongs to one which is also fetishized. Personally, the only thing that I think is off for this campaign is that a white girl was styled to look Asian, and while cosplay is A-Okay by me, and I definitely love kimono and geisha accessories and makeup and hair, it's a little weird to use a white girl in place of an Asian girl. There are TONS of Asian models in the alt community, I don't see why she didn't find one? Maybe because they're all loyal to Sugarpill (NOT that any lines should be drawn in the sand - There's enough money and makeup for everyone, no reason to make battles or take sides in this)? I don't know. It's questionable how this was executed, but I think it's sweet. I expect the quality isn't so good, I have not heard any good word about LC at all. Ever. "Cute packaging, but that's about it." is the general top opinion from everyone. Not bad makeup if you're not already a makeup rockstar, but if you already know what real quality products are like, you'll be disappointed with LC.

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  19. I don't have anything to add, but good job. I find this absolutely distasteful- and I'm not even chinese. I hate racial stereotypes. What makes me even angrier is no matter WHAT happens on her page, no matter how many people protest this, she's not gonna refuse to release it. At least MAC had the sense not to release Rodarte when the beauty community got to foaming over it. Doe simply doesn't care. She doesn't care if she's offended anyone.

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  20. I'm really glad I have read this post: I really wouldn't have thought twice about it until you pointed out the issues. From my perspective, I write quite a bit about Chinese/Japanese/Korean brands and love their diversity and have enjoyed discovering them more than I can say because they are so different to anything we have in the UK; I use the term Asian to encompass a lot of beauty products but I'm not sure I know if that is deemed offensive; it's certainly not meant that way. I feel a little bit ignorant now, but wonder how you can best describe products from the countries mentioned without causing any offence? At first I thought the Lime Crime image was beautiful.. I still do in a way.. but now I've read the cultural concerns, I feel rather differently and feel the image represents something very far from its original intention. On the other hand, it is not okay to aspire to beauty from other cultures? Genuine question.

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    1. I think that's the tricky bit, what may not be offensive in one country can be viewed as such in another. I've personally never had any issue with the term Asian, only that I know others feel that the term is often seen as only referring to countries like China, Japan, Vietnam, etc while ignoring India as an Asian country. In my experiences, people tend to use regional terms like East Asia when talking about China and South East Asia to refer to countries like Vietnam.

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  21. I would agree that the ad looks distinctly Japanese. I saw it a couple days ago but didn't really think anything of it. MEHH WHY must they do this? I use their stuff sometimes, I wonder if that's why no one ever comments on my blog anymore haha

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  22. I would agree that this ad looks distinctly Japanese, not Chinese. She looks like she's dressed up like a geisha. I saw it a couple days ago but honestly didn't think anything of it. Mehh WHY must they do this crap? I use their stuff sometimes, I wonder if that's why no one comments on my blog anymore haha

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  23. I should preface this by saying that I'm half-Asian (Indonesian) and my boyfriend of 3 years is Chinese-Australian. So we've had a long chat about the image thanks to your post (which was very well written!) and these are the thoughts that came out of it:

    1 - The decision to put a white girl in the ad was probably a deliberate one. If they had put an Asian girl in the image, it would have been too obvious, and LimeCrime want people (in this case, white middle class girls who want to experiment with bright lipstick presumably, who are their target market) to see the makeup palette and think they could recreate the look. So I don't blame them for that.

    2 - Like it or not, Chinese and Japanese culture have basically the same roots, and the problem is that the Cultural Revolution destroyed a lot of the old Chinese culture. If you're looking for vintage Chinese culture, it's not an unreasonable suggestion to look at Japanese and even Korean culture for inspiration, because the last 100 years notwithstanding, that's what it's very similar to. If you base your entire opinion of Chinese culture on the last 100 years (and 1920s Shanghai) then I think that's very shortsighted.

    3 - The LimeCrime apology was completely rubbish. Saying "OUR China Doll isn't a stereotype" is like grabbing your colleague's a$$ and saying "But I didn't mean to sexually harass you". They're feeding into the stereotype, and people are right to be upset.

    4 - I don't think it's all bad. By having the conversation, and by talking about what we find offensive about certain things, is drawing attention to the issue and that's a good thing. I found your post because the Sam Chapman from Pixiwoo replied to liloo (@tsunimee) to say she didn't even know the word Oriental was offensive in other cultures, because it's a common phrase in the UK.

    5 - I don't buy LimeCrime anyway. I don't care if they have every celeb on the planet raving about their lipsticks. I wouldn't touch their products with a barge pole, and this farcical advertising campaign further cements my position.

    :)

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    1. Within the context of the picture, I based it off of 1920s Shanghai, my intention wasn't just to say that Chinese culture exists within a small margin of time. I'm still waiting on Lime Crime to answer my question as to what time and place they specifically based off the advertisement on. I think it'd give us a lot of insight into their intentions (because for now,the text accompanying the look is basically the only hint I've got now since it specifically references Chinese advertisement posters)

      I should note that I don't think anyone should feel bad for using the term "oriental" if they're unaware of its connotations to other people and if they used it without malicious intent. I find offense when people are aware that it's offensive to others and use it anyway. I do think it's difficult to be politically correct and socially aware, when what's offensive in one country isn't in another.

      In some ways I'm sort of glad they did the advertisement because it does bring up the idea of Asian stereotypes and how restrictive they can be to the Asian population, whether it's considered a positive stereotype or not.

      Delete
    2. What she wrote was perfect ^

      - Lindsay Beauty Trix

      Delete
  24. I would just like to mention the fact that Doe dressed up as Hitler for Halloween and didn't think that was offensive at all. She said it was okay because someone in her family (I think she said her grandmother) was Jewish. I don't know how easy it is to find the picture, she removed it from her blog after people complained.

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    1. Personally, I DID find it offensive, but I was even more offended by the fact that she refused to understand why people would be offended and she thought it was clever.

      And yes, most of my ancestry is German.

      Delete
  25. Great post Mai! I'm not very familiar with the Asian culture, so just looking at the ad doesn't bring any strong opinions to me. I think it is great that so many of you have left feedback for her expressing your opinion of her advertising. My guess is she did not intend on pissing people off with this; it seems to be honest and true ignorance on her part. But you would think that when using a different culture as part of an inspiration and ad campaign, you would want to do some serious research on the culture first. Pay justice to the culture, not just make yourself look like an idiot.

    It's always interesting to learn about other cultures, so I appreciate your thoughts about this!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just wanted to toss in my two cents - I'm a kimono merchant, and I will tell you right now that is NOT a kimono. Not even close; it's actually closer in material and make to older Chinese styles than it is to a kimono. So the resemblance to Japanese apparel is probably accidental - there's a veritable minefield of highly specified garments out there, and if you don't work with them regularly it's easy to get lost.

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    1. Ah okay, thank you for the input! Yeah, like I said upthere, once I saw/searched for the behind the scenes pictures, it became more obvious that it wasn't a kimono. I think for me it's just the fact that the promo image makes it look like a kimono and that it may easily be the impression that other people take too, you know?

      Delete
    2. Oh absolutely! They've covered a large portion of the garment with her hair, which should have been styled up anyway (for accuracy, though that seems to have taken a backseat here). I think this concept could have been beautifully done, in a positive way that celebrated the look, but there just wasn't enough care/research done. There's a lot of mixed culture in that image and the effect is... not good. Frankly, I suspect said garment of being a glorified polyester bathrobe.

      The other thing (and this is really just grist for the mill), is that the term "china doll" isn't really meant to refer to girls or even dolls from China - it actually was meant to refer to dolls made from porcelain, especially high quality porcelain. So I guess we can say this is a clear case of Did Not Do the Research, eh?

      Delete
    3. Oh absolutely! They've covered a large portion of the garment with her wig, which should have been styled up more anyway for accuracy (though that seems to have taken a back seat here, and anyway artists are always trying to make the model look sexier etc). Frankly, I suspect said garment of being a glorified polyester bathrobe, which would only further add to the confusion. Not to mention being rather tacky/cheap.

      As a side note (and this is really just grist for the mill ) the term "china doll" isn't really meant to refer to girls or even dolls from China - it actually refers to dolls made from high-quality porcelain. So I guess we can call this a clear case of Did Not Do the Research, eh?

      Delete
    4. after clicking the link to see what the model's full picture, it is in fact not kimono but chinese custom as seen in a lot of chinese drama, but the chosen photo for the campaign does give an impression of kimono and the overall image gives me the same impression too.

      Delete
  27. Thank you very much for this article. I'm not going to lie, due my age and lack of travel. I am incredibly ignorant of other cultures. However, when I first saw this campaign ad, I couldn't shake the feeling of "Something about this isn't right". It's wonderful to be able to read something well written which clearly explains the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ack! Sorry for the double post - the first one I wrote looked like it had gotten deleted, so I had to try to rewrite it. My apologies.

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    1. It's okay, unfortunately I think Blogger is messing up or something!

      Delete
  29. For all you "haters" - in my country "chinadoll" its synonymum to doll... Something with porcelain skin and cute child look. Its nothing with chinese or asian people expect that porcelain was inovated in China. So I really dont understand why this is so "racist" and hurtfull...

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    Replies
    1. I'd like to ask if you read my post and missed out on the part where I said that I understood that "china" in china doll refers to porcelain, and not the country China? The rest of my post explains specifically my reasons why I feel the way I do about the campaign and it's not just because of the name.

      Delete
    2. I really wish people would just stop assuming that everyone is a "hater" I'm not but I don't think I can convince you otherwise. I'd also like to point out that your country may not be another country and to generalise one population as thinking in the same way is unlikely.

      I also wish that people who don't understand why people are getting upset because "it's not like that here" would realise that "here" is not the same as "there" or "here" in a different place. Just because it is not hurtful to you does not mean it isn't to someone else. Being ignorant is one thing, but remaining so is another which is what Doe has chosen to remain. The whole concept reeks of I have a nice idea lets just go with it! It's pretttyy and pretend it's artistic license.

      Also, china Doll? as in porcelain? Sure I might pay that, but not the fact that there are plenty of clues in the language, background concept and style of the ad which point to it not being a doll of porcelain but a marriage of that idea AND some, (and this is where people get offended), stereotypical idea of an "oriental".

      Delete
    3. Except she wasn't made up to look like a porcelain doll. She was made to look "Asian" with Xenia "Doe Deere" using the word "oriental" and throwing in every Asian stereotype she could think of. It absolutely obvious not only from the picture but from the text she wrote along with it that it's supposed to be related to Chinese culture, not a porcelain doll.

      Delete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. I think my favourite part is her apology. "I'm sorry that you people were offended by my genius. My china doll is (STEREOTYPES GALORE) but cannot be stereotyped. Please continue to buy our crap"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Her apology added even more insult.

      Delete
  32. This seems reminiscent of that photo spread Vogue (ref?) I think (may be another big mag, but point is they did it) published with models of all colors and builds being "painted up" and "styled" to look like other ethnic races. In a way, yes... I can see how it's "artistic". However- I can also see the reason and anger that can be there when a line is crossed and a style (or more) is overdone to the point of ridiculousness just for the sake of causing drama and getting the media all riled up. Not to mention the people it's sneakily making fun of.

    Celebrating our cultures and our ethnic backgrounds is something I always found pride in- and being curious and loving to read, I've researched a lot of other cultures outside of my own Italian and Irish descendants. (My kids will be Italian, Irish and Polish eventually)
    I'm genuinely and honestly curious about other cultures, traditions, religions, practices, etc. I read, I research, I admire. But to think I'd mock myself up and parody anyone in that kind of a way- that's just disrespectful and mean. Not to mention just completely insensitive.
    Now I just might try to create a look based off a culture, color palette from a promo or event, makeup techniques, or something I simply like... But I'd never, ever do it in a mean, mocking, or over-the-top-I'm-really-making-fun-of-you (that's plural people) kind of way.

    This is a great post, and the topics and questions and points you raise here couldn't have been said in a much better way!

    ReplyDelete
  33. The entire advertising campaign is terrible, even if it wasn't racially insensitive. I loathe LC, but their advertising was their strongpoint. What's with the extreme overexposure on the sleeves, for example? The obvious poorly-applied makeup? This is one of the worst photos they have ever used, INCLUDING the one where they used Mosh, drew her eyebrows on 9000 feet above her natural eyebrows, and then didn't bother to cover/photoshop out her natural brows, leaving what looked like a forest of unkempt brows behind. Xenia Vorotova has this way of acting, where she just goes, "Well, sorry, but i'm awesome and special and amazing so I can't be wrong. Sugarpill paid you to say bad things, didn't she? She did. I can tell." like she did with Anastasia of Lipsticks and Lightsabres, and Lillian Low from Funny Face's Place.

    Yes. She actually accused Amy's boyfriend of paying bloggers to negatively review LC, and positively review Sugarpill (trying to pretend to be someone else while she was doing it, too, but was found out quite quickly).

    I'm waiting to see how bad the actual makeup is. By the looks of it, it's a $2 formula, and looks like 50c children's watercolour paints. How to people keep buying this stuff? I have seen it irl and it's really terrible.

    All that aside, she needs to stop saying she's Eurasian. She's from the Europian part of Russia. Here in Australia, "oriental" is a word we use to describe flavours, food (two minute noodles in "Oriental" are pretty delicious), interior design, but not people. I often say "the Orient" when talking about "classical Asia" (India, China, Japan and Korea, generally) but only when speaking about the history between the West and "The Mystical Orient", as it was called in the 19th century (I am a 19th century re-enactor). I hope to god i never offended anyone!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Tbh, the first time i look at the picture - i automatically think of a Japanese chick, mainly because it LOOKS like the kind of advertisement most people would associate with Japanese culture. I don't really see how it's extremely offensive, but mildly offensive yes. I don't like when people group all or similar Asians together and not bother to make any differentiation between it. If someone uses another's culture as an 'inspiration' or concept, they should make the effort to make sure their advertisement or anything isn't misleading to the public. YAY for her apology, but the rest of her response is just bleh.

    p.s. sorry for a late comment, been lacking in blogging recently and now i understand the Lime Crime China Doll campaign spaz that's been posted on your twitter... LOL

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love your post. I definitely think it crosses a line. It seems like Lime Crime didn't really research anything, they just grasped at straws to put this out without thinking about the implications. It was definitely not well done.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you so much for this post. I have gone back and forth with Lime Crime over the past few years, buying products only to be disappointed in their quality, but then receiving a heartfelt apology from Doe and deciding to give them another try. I got upset when I saw this new campaign and ended up being blocked from LC's Facebook for discussing it, even though I was being respectful, while others were calling me "retarded," and said I had my panties in a knot, yet their comments remain undeleted. Because of that and Doe's half-assed "apology" I will no longer be supporting Lime Crime.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you so much for this post. I wasn't too offended by the initial advertisement but I still wished it had been done differently. What REALLY got me offended was the rude comments that ensued after complaints had been issued. Most of the comments towards people who weren't in agreement with LC were straight up ignorant/hostile/rude. It makes me sad.
    I get some people aren't offended, that's OK, I respect that. But if someone IS offended please just extend that same respect.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you for such an informed and well written post.
    I really wish people would open their eyes to cultural appropriation and just how damaging and hurtful it can be.
    Like some other people have said, I was shocked by some of the comments which ensued on the makeupbee facebook page after they announced that they were closing the competition. By shocked, I actually mean that they made me want to bang my head against a brick wall in pure rage.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I don't find the advertisement offensive, as it isn't my culture or race or ethnicity she's badly stereotyping, so I don't have standing to be offended. But it *is* in poor taste *and* very badly done. The styling is terrible, it made me think of some high schooler with too much time on their hands and a few too few brain cells trying to cosplay a geisha after watching too much Sailor Moon and overdosing on clown face paint. Between the cheap-looking and badly styled wig, the ugly fake flowers, the weirdly applied bottom lashes, the tragic attempt at contouring the model's cheeks, terrible lipstick application (she looks like she just finished a lollipop or something), the nails that don't go with anything else in the picture, the weird bracelet thing she has stuck in her ugly wig, the random almost-falling off tear, and the cheap-looking robe thing? Even if it was culturally sensitive, it's still incredibly poorly executed. My first thought was that she was meant to be some weird hybrid of a geisha, a pierrot clown, and that Sesshomaru dude or however you spell it.

    Ignoring for a second the obvious problems with it (the white model and the attempt to throw in every single Asian stereotype ever into one sentence), even if the point was to recreate an actual porcelain doll, the look is a failure. While the model is very pretty, she also has large and clearly visible pores on her cheeks that the garish makeup is highlighting, so even claiming that she's meant to look like a perfect doll doesn't really work because of concealing her skin problems, the makeup accentuates them.

    As to the term oriental, again, I don't have standing to say anything about whether or not it's offensive, but it just makes me think of rugs and vases. Also imperialism and 19th century Western middle class attempts as seeming oh so cultured and what not. Since back in the day "oriental" didn't even mean "Asian" or "East Asian," but was tied to Moors and Islamic cultures in North Africa and around Turkey or so (or basically anything east of Cyprus or the Balkans, depending on what time period we're talking about), I always get confused when people start talking about the "Orient." The "Orient" used to be anything that wasn't European, basically, until it took on a more derogatory meaning in the 20th century. So the word always reminds me of lazily-costumed French painting and Marco Polo going on a spice caravan when applied to people. Maybe it's just my educational background (degree focusing on 18th and 19th century Western art and literature), but that's what I tend to see. Regardless, she should know better than to call people that since it's kind of ignorant and lumping in a whole lot of cultures that have very little to do with each other.

    And to think, I might have been willing to overlook the whole white-girl-in-Asian-garb thing with an eyeroll if the styling had been done well and she wasn't issuing non-apologies.

    ReplyDelete
  40. If someone had come out with a palette called "Mail Order Bride" and created shades like Soviet Red or Siberian White, I'm sure she'd have something to say about that.... In my opinion this campaign brings up the same negative, stereotypical connotations about Asian cultures. Plus, why didn't she use a model who was actually part of the culture she is claiming to glorify?! The whole campaign is just so bizarre, something is off with the PR department.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. ^^THIS. Big fat word.

      And something IS off with the PR department - I mean, I'm pretty sure there isn't a real one, right? It's either just Doe, or Doe's flunkies, so why would they bat an eye? If she had a real PR department, not only would this have gotten slammed down, but her behavior online (in response to this, as well as in general) would be severely policed.

      Delete
    2. She had a few good people working in PR, but right after the Lime Crime Gloss campaign they were layed off (fired) and replaced by some interns. Doe seems to want 100% control over the company's image now and this is what we get. :/

      Delete
  41. The model is just a fantasy. It's no true depiction of the Asian culture because it's art (even it's poorly done) and art deals with loads of constructs that don't represent the reality. Read some post colonial art books about orientalism that dissociate themselves from Edward Said's/ (later) Linda Nochlin's theses. You will stumble upon the conclusion of dealing with the Orient is a way of escapism and an aesthetic and artistic dialogue. Let's face the fact that many white girls imitate the Bollywood make up look even if they aren't from India. So, are they racists or colonialists?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure how you can write off the advertisement as being fantasy, especially since it's obvious what the source inspiration is. I don't agree in saying that because it's art, it's not a representation of the Chinese culture. When someone sees it, they're going to make judgments of it based off of their perceptions of Chinese culture, not separating the two.

      I find that imitation is one thing, but blatant appropriation without the means to appreciate the source art is another.

      Delete
    2. Nothing like someone telling you why your offense isn't valid...

      Delete
    3. It is a representation of the chinese culture.

      Is she making fun of it....no
      Is she pulling the piss out of the chinese....no
      Is she showing colours inspired by the chinese....yes

      The only one who thinks it is racist is you (eg the white model...large visible pores...garish makeup).

      You are the racist.

      Delete
    4. I'm not sure you're understanding why I disagree with the advertisement. I also didn't make mention of the makeup and her large pores?

      Thank you for informing me that pointing out cultural insensitivity and ignorance makes me a racist, I'm going to keep your concerns in mind.

      Please note that that was sarcasm.

      Delete
  42. She is not making fun of the asian culture, using hanna beth is a way to show that we can all take inspiration from the asain culture, no matter our own background. If she used an asian model it would seem more narrow minded, as if only the asian people can 100% fully understand and appreciate the asian culture (which i am sure there are many non-asian people who enjoy asian culture).

    Your whole argument is that you are getting shitty over the wrong outfit and using a non-asian model. -Get over it, stop being so negative and appreciate the colours inspired by their culture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps you missed this part of my post:

      "I should preface this by saying that there's nothing wrong with learning about and enjoying another culture. I'm certainly not saying that other people can't be inspired by other cultures or in this case, that non-Asians/outsiders can't enjoy, appreciate, or be a part of an Asian or outside culture. We wouldn't be aware of other cultures if it weren't for people outside the culture seeking to study and learn about it and for members of the culture to want to inform others. Cultures are all different and they're meant to be appreciated for their differences"

      because this refutes your comment in its entirety. You're also completely missing the point of what I'm saying and belittling me to "get over it" is immature and does nothing to discuss the issue.

      Delete
  43. Meh, I would feel sorry if I offended people just trying to create a fun makeup collection, too. Should blondes be offended if people of Asian or African descent dye their hair blond? Nope. You can't make everybody happy. In this particular case it OBVIOUSLY does not accurately represent Chinese culture, and using a non-Asian model emphasizes that fact. If you're going to be offended by a makeup campaign you might as well be offended that makeup exists and is primarily modeled by women.

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    1. Yeahhhhh I'm going to bet that you missed reading a large part of why exactly I'm offended, and it's not just because they used a white model. In what way are people who dye their hair blonde/blond equivalent to people who culturally appropriate? The two aren't exactly the same thing and it's irrelevant.

      Delete
    2. It's not irrelevant. I simply meant that the intention is not to represent a person or a people, but a "look," which I was trying to relate to, for example, the "blond bombshell" look, or the "femme fatale" look. I realize it is risky territory to choose a look so closely linked to a culture, but I think that is why it is so over-the-top and almost kitschy.

      Delete
    3. I don't agree that the intention is not to represent a person or a people, it is obvious from the styling, the website change with the Asian aspects of the dragon and the print in the background, and the eyeshadow names that it was taking things from the Chinese culture so I don't think you can entirely separate the look from reflecting upon the person and people and I can't say that it is equivalent to the blonde bombshell or femme fatale look when those things aren't necessarily ascribed to a specific culture. It is risky territory to try to do something based of a culture which is why I think they should have been more careful in what they did. I don't think you can entirely separate art from the culture that it's inspired from, especially in this image because it makes aspirations on the base culture. Kitschy isn't exactly something you should be aspiring for when you're dealing with another person's culture.

      Delete
    4. Ummm so you are saying that stereotypes only occur culturally - NOOO its exactly like blonde bombshell or feme fatalle... or any other aspect... Like tropical hawaiian! do they all wear hoola skirts? no... its an inspiration or a theme... you are taking a passive victim stance... be strong and embrace that LC is trying to mash a bunch of looks with inspiration from asia.

      Delete
  44. I had actually responded to a picture of the pallet Doe had posted on LC's facebook page (while I was still subscribed) with an accompanying question asking what our thoughts were on the pallet.

    I responded stating that I found it offensive. I asked why, if a large portion of the customer base found it so offensive, would she continue ahead with the campaign instead of simply pausing it, making the appropriate changes, and then moving forward. I also made note that by ignoring so many of us that find it offensive, she is also alienating current and future customers.

    I don't have the original comment I made to post here, because it was deleted. Not once was I rude. Not once was I aggressive, used foul language, belittle, attack, or anything remotely underhanded. I was respectful, I remained polite, and I kept my tone pleasant. And still, it was deleted.

    So I asked why. Several people had actaully "liked" the comment and questions I was posing. As a customer I wanted answers. I felt that since I was giving this woman my money, of which I really don't have much of, I felt I was owed a simple explanation.
    My entire comment about my previously deleted post:
    "Rachel Summer
    So I as a customer place a request from a company I purchase from. And it gets deleted? Because I felt something was offensive as I am sure others have as well, I requested from a company I give me money (which is limited as most everyone else out there is too) to, to make changes so it's no so offensive to myself and others. And you deleted it? Not only was the comment NOT rude, but it was not aggressive, disrespectful, or even mean spirited. It was simply an honest request so I and others could feel good about wearing your products. I'm going to continue taking the high road here by maintaining a respectful tone. But please Lime Crime, as one of your customers I really wish you wouldn't use terms and imagery that can be seen as stereotypical and racist. I'm NOT saying your intent was racist or to stereotype. But the reality is, it does offend people. Please, Lime Crime, listen to your customers. Please don't alienate use from buying future products."

    She stated the thread was to discuss the pallet. Doe's response in it's entirety:
    "Lime Crime Rachel, we get where you're coming from but this thread is about the eyeshadow. We welcome opinions on the shades, whether you guys are excited about them or think they're too wild. We look forward to all feedback, but would appreciate it if everyone stayed on topic. Thanks! -LC Tream"

    I'm sorry....but I thought I WAS discussing the pallet. I thought I WAS providing my opinion. How was it NOT on topic? I mean...the topic was regarding the pallet. The picture was posted on a public social networking site (Facebook), thereby giving me the ability to state my negative feelings towards it.

    I had tried hard to give Doe Deere and her company a chance. I enjoyed using her lipsticks, I even gave her eyeshadows a shot (though I found them to be rather "meh" in comparison to other indie brands out there). But her approach when faced with genuine concern from customers, or when people point out her obvious disregard for the feelings of a cultural or racial group is flabbergasting to me. IF you was to succeed in your business wouldn't you do all you could to reach as many people as possible, without alienating one specific group (in this case, the Asian community?). I equate her China Doll campaign to be as bad as the football team called Redskins. Being of First Nation decent, it's incredibly offensive to see a nationally recognized sports team still using a derogatory racial slur as the name of their damn football team.

    We as a society should be able to rise above these things. By not moving past them, rising above them, learning from them, we are only doomed to repeat the past transgressions.

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    1. I'm sorry that you were censored by the company. I'd like to think that this is going to shoot them in the foot later but I can't guarantee that. Maybe something will come out of this discussion and I hope that educating tons of people is one of these things.

      Delete
    2. Oh there is a lot coming from all of this Mai. It's so much bigger than just Doe Deere and her ignorance at this point.
      I'll elaborate just a tiny bit.

      I am a member of a community that is considered a bit eh...for lack of a better term (and please excuse the kitschyness of it), underground. And there is a social networking site called Fetlife where many of us are members. It's mainly used to discuss upcoming events and parties, munches, techniques, share pictures, journal. It's kind of like the kinkster's version of Facebook, but WAY more perverted.

      Even on a BDSM social networking site, the LimeCrime China Doll controversy has come around! I and several of my friends are very active in the BDSM community to break down barriers of privilege, racial stereotyping, gender classification, etc. And wouldn't you know it, but Doe Deere and her ill fated campaign have and still are being discussed there. I used to work as a professional makeup artist, and still do work in the BDSM community for photography shoots, and with the transgendered community. These people trust my opinion about makeup and skin care. You better believe that as soon as I weighed my opinion on this people are completely turned off by the Lime Crime brand. I made it clear, just as you did, that they shouldn't just become lemming and follow my lead. It's up to them to form their own opinions, but I gave the reason behind why I refuse to associate myself with Lime Crime any further, and why I tossed out the products I had from them.

      People who are willing to educate themselves on these things, and people who genuinely care about others will listen. And there are FAR MORE people who do care than don't. As long as people like you and others who have commented here or blogged about it elsewhere continue to point out these issues then we are making a difference. It's not always easily recognized. But like I said, this is bigger than Doe Deere and her offensive campaign.

      You're doing good by talking about Mai. So don't ever stop! Don't ever feel like you're beating a dead horse. Until we wipe these issues out, that proverbial horse is alive and kicking.

      Delete
    3. I was also one of those people who first starting making comments about this campaign on their FB (until my comments were deleted and I had LC's people making aggressive and still somehow sales-pitchy comments at me). In truth, my first offense to all of this was more of a reaction against the mindless twits who saw this and said "0o0oh, omg, I've always, like, LOVED Japanese culture," who were then "corrected" by the mindless twits who said "China dolls are from CHINA..." (they are originally German, by the way) and then I got infuriated by the fact that it's somehow ok for people to equate alluring/milky/submissive qualities with Asian culture of any kind and get away with it because they say "Oh no, it's ok, because OUR character is strong!"

      http://www.doedeereblogazine.com/articles/chinadoll-lives-on

      I was just reading Xenia's post about all of this and I just found myself getting angrier and angrier as I read it. I guess it's characteristic of her to have the "I'm sorry you feel that way" attitude that others have mentioned, but beyond that, she skirts the real issues that people have with the campaign and somehow dodges the questions that she herself wrote into her blog! I also love her passive aggressive links throughout the blog, you know, because we are so stupid that we need her to link us to the Wikipedia article for the word "pun" (and by the way, "china doll" is not a pun, and it's certainly not a phrase or character she made up - by the things it has come to reference it is the very definition of cultural stereotyping and appropriation).

      Also, I think someone needs to explain cultural appropriation to her, because she clearly does not have the time/energy/intelligence to look anywhere else for an explanation beyond Wikipedia. And clearly STILL does not get it.

      I apologize, but at this point I have not read all of your updates to this issue; I'm going to do that now. I just thought I'd start here because I was really pumped to see that someone was writing about this and people were still talking. Good. I, for one, have already begun giving away (for free) any LC makeup I was stupid enough to purchase in the past (which was, like, 3 things to be fair) some time ago.

      Delete
  45. This is a really interesting blog honey. I used to be a featured writer on Buzznet where Hannabeth also writes and i remember seeing these images and finding them quite amusing. Not only is the shoot and concept completely unimaginative it's also hugely stereotypical!
    The photoshopping looks gross and also the model and owner of LimeCrime are good friends, so that's probably why she was chosen in the first place.
    I've recently moved across to Blogger with my blog because of these reasons...Buzznet is a huge site just fill of all this kind of rubbish! Some bloggers on there are actually really good but the most part is just media trash and features like this LimeCrime photoshoot.
    I understand about celebrating Chinese Culture or Japanese Culture or any culture for that matter, but there are right and wrong ways to go about it.
    x<3

    ReplyDelete
  46. You are mad at her because she used the wrong kind of dress for the commercial? Even though she had no where promised to use the kind of clothing you would have preferred? Okay. Fine. Of course you should get to decide it. I can't believe it wasn't OBVIOUS to Lime Crime that they should have had a poll to ask people what kind of clothing they would prefer the model to wear.

    And you're right, how dare she use a caucasian model to portay a look "inspired" by traditional chinese doll-looks. How DARE she use an alernative model to convey the feel she was trying to put into the procuct. How dare this women decide that she wants a certain model to do this job, instead of basing the joboffer on ethnicality and give it to another, maybe less qualified model, solely due to her Asian heritage?

    I get that the look used in the campaign is based on a stereotype. But there's no smoke without a fire. This look WAS predominant in China and the makeup is not a direct copy of it - it is inspired by it.

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    1. I'm not sure why you feel the need to be so antagonistic but I'll reply to your comment anyway. Am I mad that she used the wrong kind of dress? Yeah I'm disappointed, especially when she's dealing with another culture, I'd appreciate some semblance of authenticity when she specifically says she's inspired by a specific era.

      I should also note that the term China Doll doesn't refer to Chinese dolls, it prefers to dolls made out of porcelain. The owners' use was a portmanteau of China + china dolls (made out of porcelain).

      I really don't understand how and why you're content to blow off the issue of the stereotype.

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    2. I have been reading all the comments on this page and I feel that you must consider that stereotypes - whether we like them or not are apart of life. Can you honestly say you have never made a judgement based on a few facts such as female - "not as physically strong as a male" (which is generally true), or Mediterranean - "speaks loudly" - which is culturally accurate. Stereotypes is how society helps to understand one another, despite being very misguided at times. Psychology suggest that stereotypes are essential to understanding and making necessary judgments within humanity. They are not correct, no - but every single one of us is guilty of it towards a foreign idea and every single person is a victim of it. She was not 100% accurate no, but I think it is minor in the scheme of things. Think of all the other cultures that are outright slandered! Look at arabs - they are treated as criminals and the most despised people - for what? I think this is obviously someone who finds your culture very beautiful and tried to express that. Give the lady a break and perhaps educate her in a nice way. I never thought my self that oriental was offensive, just as the term Persia is to Iran, an older terminology, its a common mistake and I'm sure it was not purposefully intended to harm a whole culture. The choice of model may be that she is showing that certain beautiful aspects of a culture can be transferable trans-culturally... I am certain that being asian, you yourself would not exclusively abide by your own culture but borrow styles and looks form other cultures WE ARE A GLOBAL COMMUNITY NOW! WHY MUST WE BE SO RIGID? Does this mean that asians cannot duplicate traditional arabesque makeup? No, we all borrow and take from one another. Her words is mere poetical marketing appealing to the masses that is not specifically indicative of Chinese culture but more of women and like she said her interoperation of a fantasy character... We are really halting imagination here. Her choice of dress was probably by a props department and was more to do with the colour pallet and lighting camera - who ever stated that she was trying to mimic with a 100% authenticity and accuracy the chinese culture? INSPERATION = not imitation. Im sorry but you are a little too over the top about this and I'm sure there are some real issue to have a blog dedicated to. Racism is real but this is very minor in the scheme of things..

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  47. I don't think there's anything wrong with being inspired by another culture. As an Asian studies minor, I often find taking concepts and images from the countries I'm studying and incorporating them into my art. No, in my art, they are not displayed in a historically accurate manner. It's all about context. I don't think Lime Crime ever claimed to be representing Chinese culture, instead, she said she was inspired by elements of Chinese culture.Her look is obviously fusion--east meets west, and plays on the sort of mixed-up cultural borrowing that takes place occasionally when east meets west. People can find offensiveness anywhere. I just don't see it here.

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    1. I do agree with you that there isn't anything wrong with being inspired by another culture, indeed that's one of the first things I said in this post. I do think though that for others it can be seen in a negative way depending on your intent and your interpretation.

      A lot of why I think it's offensive isn't just in the advertising image, it's in the text accompanying the image and the description for the look. I think that for some (like myself), it's perpetuating Asian stereotypes which I myself do not find a good thing.

      I suppose it's a matter of perspective, I know others have said they personally don't find it offensive but do understand why others find it offensive.

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    2. I agree with anonymous! this is really harmless.

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  48. I'm a little late to this, but I don't see why this campaign is so offensive.
    And btw, I'm chinese and live in a chinese culture.
    Also, I dislike Lime Crime and would never buy from them. However, I think that you are dissing them for no good reason.
    MAYBE the word oriental would be considered offensive, but that is so slight, its not even an insult, its just an outdated word.

    First of all, you seem to have little understanding on chinese clothing. The qipao is not the only chinese period wear that exists, and you seem to think so, and that seems even more racist, to think that the only costume representing the Chinese is the Qipao. There are shitloads of chinese dresses, and she does not have to be completely faithful to a certain era of advertisement at all, wouldn't that make it boring and uninspired? Even the Kimono came from China, so you should really brush up on your own knowledge before criticizing anyone. Or at least edit your post, because anyone that comes here may think that you are justified for attacking her on the dress, which you are not.

    Her advertising spill also just doesn't come off as offensive, its as if she is trying to appeal to the Chinese crowd by praising us for random shit.

    Then, we have the model, Hanna Beth. Omg, so what if its a caucasian? We Chinese use them all the time as models as well! Limiting advertisements to only asians representing asian beauty/inspiration is also kind of racist!? Its not as if she did a slitty eyed look either, which in fact, tons of advertisement campaigns do, and they should be dissed for that, not Lime Crime.

    In fact, you have been pissed with Lime Crime's campaign for absolutely no reason, and this is one of the reasons why Lime Crime is still going strong, because people attack Doe in the wrong ways, not for her god forsaken terrible business practices.

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  49. When I first saw the campaign, I had two thoughts:

    1. I found the choice of model odd and not well thought out. This actually isn't solely an ethnicity issue; just something about it does not fit. After it's release, I ended up reading many places that the model and company owner are friends. This reason may be why she was chosen rather than being the best face for this campaign.

    When my husband saw me looking at the image on our computer (he knows nothing of the company, campaign, palette or even of makeup in general) his first words were: "That girl isn't Asian. She's trying to be, right?" (I remain silent) "It looks like they were trying to make her face look Asian. And what is that weird tear thing?"

    2. While I did not find the picture offensive, I found all of the text accompanying it very offensive. I found it not only offensive to a variety of cultures, but to women as well.

    All in all, I didn't find the picture offensive but after reading all the accompanying text, the whole campaign left a bad taste in my mouth.

    As a side-note, I also am left cock-headed at her use of the word "pun". "China doll" is not a pun... perhaps a word, a phrase, an idea, a nick-name she created, but pun? No.

    As another side-note, I have heard a lot of things about this company. Both good and bad. My only experience with the actual product is the lipstick, of which I own three of. I haven't experienced any of the issues I read about. What I care about, and what I find massively more alarming, are the reports of the personal aspects of the owner.

    I firmly believe in there being two sides to every story, giving benefit of the doubt in addition to second chances as we all make mistakes, mature and learn. Due to all of this, I remain unsure of where I stand on this company. I am currently an affiliate and keep an affiliate banner on my page. I have been trying to research her, to determine if this is an affiliation I would be comfortable keeping and a company I would be comfortable promoting. I don't want to take gossip for fact until I have seen enough to be sure...and I'm just still left unsure.

    Thanks for the very well thought out and written article! I really appreciate how honest you kept it and how you respectively stand by your opinions.

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  50. Oh my gosh. It is a makeup line. It is about being creative and inspired. Get over it. Get over yourself. Do you have nothing else in your life, that you can spend so much time whining over this?

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    1. Excuse me? I'm an Chinese beauty blogger who's a huge fan of Mai and I really would love to say this- asian girls have still so many stereotypes aimed at them, everyday, and it hurts. When I walk on a set of a TPF style photoshoot, a lot of girls, most of them inexperienced models, will look at me weird, me with my glasses and "nerdy" looks. I have worked with people who still perpetuate the White Supremacy idea everyday. Asian girls today have little or no self esteem compared to girls from other cultures because simply, there are no beauty role models to look to, because companies like Lime Crime hire Caucasians to model as "Chinese" or "Oriental". The reason why companies do that? Because half the time they believe in the White Supremacy idea rather than stick their necks out to hire a real Chinese girl with real representation that is accountable to the Chinese people. I understand that Doe Deere was being "creative and inspired" but what she did is just perpetuate the stereotype of being a China Doll. Chinese women should be empowered, instead of having to deal with racial issues like this. Doe may have not meant to be racist, but she sure as hell was.

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  51. Great post. I agree that it was an insensitive decision to use a caucasian model as opposed to an Asian model. Especially considering that the fantasy palette theme is supposedly inspired by Chinese culture. When I first saw the campaign, there was nothing Chinese about it to me. I am not Asian but it does irk me when people are ignorant about culture in general. From what I can understand, the campaign is like a slap in the face to not just Chinese women but other Asian cultures as well (its how I feel when people generalize all Asians as Chinese and then I have to frikken explain the difference between cultures/languages because there is a clear difference between each culture). Creative my ass, if she did this to Latin American culture; I would be just as upset too (and many latina chicks would be out for her blood for real). I'm Peruvian & Guatemalan and can't stand it when people assume that I'm Puerto Rican or Mexican just because they don't know their geography. I think people need to get their heads out of their Caucasian-centric asses and realize the vast ethnic diversity that exists now.
    Sorry for long post, I just sympathize with the issue as well because I do have a great love and interest for Asian cultures.

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  52. I'm Chinese and I'm not sure if the campaign is racist or just in very poor taste. I agree that the make up is very exaggerated and reminds one of "black face", but I think the clothes are fine because it's really NOT a kimono, as others have pointed out. This is the type of clothing style prevalent in Qing dynasty. The original qipao is very loose fitting and have wide sleeves (you can google qing dynasty clothing). It only evolved into the tight modernized version much later. But I have to agree it's a very cheaply executed version, and hence the general poor taste of the ad.

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  53. I understand your point, but, being balanced, if I had to write a post everytime my Spanish culture is confused with the Mexican one or everytime that tourists think that all Spanish wear dots dresses, dance flamenco and support bull fights... I would spend my life attached to the computer. I just ignore them as I would ignore a fool.

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