Most questionable Christmas gift, 2005.

As the large suburban mall was closing last Thursday at 11pm (!), and I grew increasingly desperate to get all my obligatory gifting done that night, I went to the "smelly crap store." Here's an analogy – "Best Buy Gift Cards:Men::$20 spent at the Body Shop:Women." It's the best way to reinforce gender notions (men like blinking lights and circuits, women like candles and lotions that smell like the color magenta) for the least amount of energy, care, thought or concern.

I expected to get in and out of the store taking a minimal (though not-inconsequential) amount of offense. However inside I saw a display table of something that disturbed me enough to share with you all – Memoirs of a Geisha Beauty Collection.

I have not seen the movie or read the book, and it is the season, so I'll step softly here. But does anyone really want to adorn themselves with the scents/makeup of a child sold into sexual slavery entertainment, whose virginity is auctioned off to pay off debts, whose role functions to give hope and dreams for comfort women and any other host of "a lot of work had to be done at the hierarchical level to convince a culture this was an art form" issues etc. etc. You can watch the poor ad copy writer struggle, describing the perfume as "captur[ing] the mysterious sensuality of geisha by highlighting the warmth of the wearer's skin with a scent that is understated, exotic and completely sensual."

For the record though, if any (and I'm assuming there are a few) of our readers have mail-order brides, I think I just found your present for you. And for those of you with Real Dolls you wanted to take into the Geisha realm she (the doll that is) would appreciate it as well. And before you comment, no problem, you're welcome, and have a Merry Christmas Happy Holidays all of you from

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4 Responses to “Most questionable Christmas gift, 2005.”

  1. Liz Says:

    I was also completely aghast at this line of products.

    The book was sort of so-so (it's honest about, but romanticizes, the life of a geisha), and I haven't seen the movie. But seriously? Geisha lipgloss? Do they have foundation made of mockingbird shit to go with it?

  2. Ed Says:

    There is absolutely no difference between this and a branded "Columbine Model Assault Rifle." None.

    The fact that the marketing people at Body Shop do not realize this is unsurprising. After all, they are marketing people at the Body Shop. Most analogies involving their products are probably lost on them.

  3. jmg Says:

    You should see Victoria's Secret's upcoming line inspired by 12-year-old Vietnamese sex slaves. HAWT.

  4. meg Says:

    I guess that I'm just as bad! For our school's holiday party, each department makes up a gift basket. Of course, the English department always creates a thematic basket around a book. We are continually criticized for choosing books that "too English major-y" so I bought "Memoirs of a Geisha" and filled the very Asian looking basket with sushi flatware, Japanese noodles, sake-wasabi mustard, green tea, miso soup, chopsticks, and sushi candles. I also threw in a copy of Huraki Murakami's "Norwegian Wood" that I had picked up at a library sale for a quarter. I don't know if this makes it better or worse!

    Am I as bad as the Body Shop?