Hello, I am a huge fan of your blog and the work you guys do to bring visibility to the issues Asian women face on a daily basis! I wanted to share an awful racist experience I had recently at a shop in Boston, namely to see if you might publish it as a signal boost to warn other Asian women/women of color way from that shop?
I walked into this adult boutique in Cambridge, MA, called Hubba Hubba with the intention of buying lingerie. In the shop, I found on their clothing racks among all their fetish gear, corsets, garter belts, and lingerie, regular Chinese clothing for women, as if that has the same purpose as the sexual attire listed before it. I immediately became very uncomfortable, because to me this was concrete confirmation that, for white people, Asian women are nothing but fetishized sexual objects and toys for them. It was something that made me immediately feel physically sick and awful, and it took about a week before I worked up the courage to go back to the shop and try to say something to the owner.
When I tried to bring my concerns to the manager, I was IMMEDIATELY met with EXTREMELY aggressive hostility. When I first asked her “why do you stock items like these?”, she immediately retorted, “What, are you offended?” and then continued to talk down to me in a condescending manner and give me such gems as, “we have corsets with Asian prints on them, do those offend you too? Should we stop selling those?” “No one’s ever been offended by our items before,” and “we have lots of Asians come here, because Harvard and MIT are here.” (cool Asian stereotyping there)
I ended up writing a review on Facebook detailing my experiences, here:
And very soon after was met with a barrage of messages from her friends defending her and basically implying I was lying about my experiences there. I haven’t checked back since someone told me I was whining “looking for a safe space where everyone agrees with me” and to “grow up”, because it felt like the conversation had devolved enough that it wasn’t worth continuing.
Given my experiences there – not just the racist stock that have but also the EXTREME hostility and refusal to hear any of concerns about racism, to immediately accuse me of being oversensitive – I really really would like to dissuade as many Asians as possible from coming to this shop! I think they’d be much better served going somewhere else where the staff doesn’t capitalize on the fetishization of an entire race of people.
So if you or anyone you know lives in the Boston, MA area, please please please advise them to not support the racist and misogynistic practicess of Hubba Hubba, and to take their business elsewhere! (I personally recommend Good Vibrations in Brookline, MA, which is an extremely sex-positive, feminist shop, with employees that go out of their way to make you feel safe, comfortable, and secure in all your concerns and questions)