The 'Sexy Little Geisha' set has been removed from the Victoria's Secret website
The 'Sexy Little Geisha' set has been removed from the Victoria's Secret website

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Victoria's Secret has pulled its new 'Go East' line from its website following accusations of racism.

The controversy is centred around the 'Sexy Little Geisha' set, "a sexy mesh teddy with flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals", according to the website.

The blurb billed the set, which is modelled by South African Victoria's Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel, as "your ticket to an exotic adventure".

Critics, including Nina Jacinto writing at pop culture blog Racialicious, have accused the lingerie company of fetishising Asian women.

"Donning a “sexy Geisha” outfit to get the ball rolling in the bedroom remains offensive because it confirms a paradigm in which Asian people and their culture can be modified and sexualized and appropriated for the benefit of the West", writes Jacinto.

Vintage Victoria's Secret photos

A geisha is a traditional Japanese female entertainer, particularly popular in the 19th century. Geishas offered companionship rather than sex, entertaining customers with traditional dancing, singing and other cultural pursuits.

After World War II the art of the traditional geisha gave way to prostitution aimed at visiting American military, which as Jessica Wakeman, writer for website The Frisky, points out, helps explain what makes the 'Sexy Little Geisha' set so offensive.

"Considering the complicated history of geishas", writes Wakeman, "repurposing the “look” for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless."

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