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Forever 21 Sparks (Another) Controversy with “Oriental Girl” Necklace

In what appears to be a growing trend of fast-fashion retailers seeking to capitalize on culturally insensitive stereotypes, Forever 21 is selling an “Oriental Girl” necklace (so-called on its website), featuring a cartoonish charm of a girl with black hair (we assume that’s the “oriental” part), and one of a Native American girl dressed in traditional garb with long braids. The news doesn’t come as a shock; remember when Forever 21 came out with the “Allergic to Algebra” T-shirt a few months ago? And how about the recent controversy of Urban Outfitters selling “Navajo”-themed merchandise? Although the trend leaves a sour taste in many people’s mouths, it doesn’t appear to be dissipating. The continued production and sale of such items—despite public objection—makes us think the insensitivity must not be hurting retailers’ bottom lines too much. In which case, either the negative attention is good for business (there’s no such thing as bad press, right?) or consumers simply aren’t bothered by cultural appropriation and stereotypes as much as the blogosphere would have us believe. What do you think? Do you find this merchandise offensive? (Via Fashionista)

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