Boycott Pinup Girl Clothing
This petition had 963 supporters
This boycott of Pinup Girl Clothing is in response to their continued cultural appropriation, erasure, tokenization, and fetishization of Women of Color. We are calling on PUG to do better.
For those of you who aren’t already aware, Pinup Girl Clothing recently released a collection they called “Chinese New Year” that appropriated Chinese culture by using dragon prints inspired by Chinese imagery. Worse, this collection was originally marketed without using a single Chinese model. PUG chose to profit off of Chinese culture while erasing its people.
This lack of representation along with the fact that PUG chose a dragon print on black fabric for a “Chinese New Year” collection of four items during the Year of the Rooster shows not only how little thought and care they put into this collection, but that they clearly value stereotypical objects of Chinese culture more than they value Chinese people and their many beautiful traditions.
In addition, we are speaking out against an older collection called “Opium Dreams” which blatantly appropriates Chinese cultural artifacts and iconography. The lookbook and online shop for this collection exotify East Asian women while romanticizing and reinforcing dangerous stereotypes about Chinese culture and opium. This kind of poor representation contributes directly to violence against all Women of Color, but especially to the sexual fetishization of East Asian women.
The choices PUG made in the production and marketing of “Chinese New Year” and “Opium Dreams” shows a consistent pattern of awful, problematic behavior and it is clear they do not live up to their own slogan, “Couture For Everybody.”
Those who have spoken out in the PUG community have been silenced and pushed to the margins by PUG, who continue to prioritize the comfort of the rest of their customer base. Instead of removing the “Chinese New Year” collection, PUG decided to scrub that title from their site and continue to sell the pieces as “Dragon Print” items. Instead of issuing a public apology, PUG refuses to engage in any further discussion of the issue. Instead of hearing the recent outcry against the “Chinese New Year” collection and taking that opportunity to reexamine the past choices they made with “Opium Dreams,” they continue to sell and market those items, unchanged.
Most recently, Pinup Girl Clothing added new photos of the dragon print pieces featuring an East Asian model to their online store. Sneaking these photos into their shop after the fact without offering an apology is unacceptable. These photos are tokenism and absolutely do not absolve PUG of the erasure they committed. This empty gesture does not heal the wound—it covers it up. How can they heal a wound that they won’t even admit is there?
Rather than address their mistakes, own them, apologize, and pledge to do better going forward, PUG has engaged in a PR campaign, erasing rather than acknowledging their wrongs and aggressively silencing any Woman of Color who speaks up out about their awful behaviors.
Even if it had been done correctly and with empathy from the beginning, using a handful of East Asian models does not change the fact that PUG is profiting from cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation harms People of Color while benefitting from their unpaid labor. An ethical company would not use designs inspired by cultures they cannot claim. Setting the bar extremely low, companies should at least support these cultures, represent them appropriately, and return a portion of their profits to them. PUG not only fails to step over this very low bar, they choose to burrow under it by continuing to blatantly appropriate while actively ignoring those who speak out. We demand better.
Again, we cannot stress enough how terribly PUG and their representatives have treated the many Women of Color who have tried to bring these issues to their attention and explain the harm they’ve caused. We’ve been told to be quiet, banned from their social media, and verbally attacked in attempts to dismiss and discredit us. It’s clear PUG just wants this all to simply “go away.” But it won’t. We won’t.
Pinup Girl Clothing refuses to hear us, so we are calling you now to put your money where your mouth is and stand with us! Stand up for what's right! Stand up for ethical business practices and culturally responsible business owners! Stand up for the end of white washing, tokenism, and fetishization in the pinup community.
If a company claims to empower all women and promote feminism, that feminism must be inclusive of every person. We advocate for intersectional feminism, so the most marginalized voices among us are heard and uplifted.
The boycott starts now.
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With this petition, we demand that if Pinup Girl Clothing advertises and sells clothing inspired by ANY minority / non-white cultures in the future:
1. PUG returns a percentage of each sale of those pieces to the original culture's community, preferably through monetary contributions to organizations advocating for justice.
2. Exclusively Performers and Models of Color are sponsored with pieces from these collections.
3. PUG advertises in publications by and for WOC.
4. Models photographed in any campaigns for these designs are a majority WOC.
5. Photographs in any campaigns for these designs are produced exclusively by POC photographers and creative directors.
6. White bloggers are not sponsored pieces from these collections.
7. PUG works with WOC designers on the patterns and prints for these designs, and the design teams are comprised of at least 50% WOC.
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