Old Navy T-Shirts Butcher Asian Culture
Asian expert Tian has taken Old Navy to task for their apparent lack of cultural knowledge in the creation of several t-shirts which butcher culture such as associating the Japanese rice wine sake with the Great Wall of China and describing a black t-shirt with images of Asian men in black masks with a Ninja star as a Karate t-shirt rather than, correctly, a Ninjutsu t-shirt. Seems America's great melting pot has forgotten the rest of the world has many varied, distinctive cultures that don't wish to be melted away by American marketing tricks. Tian does tell us Old Navy customer service reponded kindly and apologetically when the Sake t-shirt was brought to their attention writing, "It was not our intention to cause any offense. Please accept our apologies for any concern created by our product."
If Old Navy was TRULY sorry for this oversight, instead of
"It was not our intention to cause any offense. Please accept our apologies for any concern created by our product."
how about taking the products off shelves?
Its not as if any GAP brand has ever been sensitive to Asian culture. If they were they wouldnt operate sweatshops etc.
Unfortunately this reeks of the typical ignorance associated with the US in general.
Straw dogs, to some extent. We're so quick to criticize ourselves for lack of cultural 'sensitivity', but don't take into account its counterparts overseas.
I remember back in the day, backpacking through Europe, that baseball jackets and t-shirts with pseudo-Americanisms emblazoned on them were all the rage. I don't remember exactly what they said, but it consisted of silly, non-grammatical pseudo-english language clichés of American culture. Much like a lot of the Japanese translation silliness in the genre of "all your bases are belong to us".
In addition, there was a rip-off brand of youth clothing called U.C.L.A, which all the kids pronounced "ooklah", and they had no idea of the acronym's true significance. I am sure no royalties were paid to UCLA, by the way.
On the other hand, most of the college graduates of the last 20 years or so couldn't find their own country on a map, let alone any you'd name in East Asia, so I am not surprised at this kind of thing.
Well, to be fair DM, cultural ignorance is not monopolized by the US. I'm somewhat well-traveled and have found that stupidity, ignorance, and perceptions of cultural superiority are to be found wherever people are. The only difference is the American SOV in global commerce means gaffes get spread around the world. Some of the truly charmless beliefs I've encountered in say, Portugal or Turkey, don't get promulgated around the world in quite the same way.
If Old Navy should apologize for anything it should be for the mass production of t-shirts that reinforce the self-involved kitschification of foreign cultures as cocktail party conversation starters.
OLD NAVY? MORE LIKE OLD JERKS!
maybe they should just claim intentional ironic postmodernism instead of ignorance. It could become the new PR catchall response after you get hit with the insensitive ignorance card. “our intention was to poke fun at the awareness we all share about how we used to lump Asian culture into one big laundry bag.”
here are two sites that focus on this type of problem:
Like Stevie said, other country's marketers do the same exact thing with the English language/culture. For a good, brief explanation of this, check out:
Also look at the main site, it's hilarious.
sake is spelled with a lowercase "s", it is never capitalized as you did in the item posted above. Do you spell wine as Wine, or beer as Beer? or milk as Milk? No. Sake is spelled "sake" lowercase all the way. Of course, you were just following what TIAN had posted. he made a mistake. First he criticized Old Navy for not getting with the program, Asian-style, and then he went off the program himself spelling sake with a capital S. never!
Well, it's easy to make mistakes with lowercase and uppercase, and in this case, it was just a minor mistake, no big deal, and it has been corrected now. Sake will now be spelled with a lowercase "s"....... we learn something new everyday. At least I do!
Crappy, mass produced shirts that advertise fake places for ironic hipsters aren't to be taking so seriously. It's a stupid t-shirt. If you want to be upset about cultural idiocy, bitch about our education system. Or the lack of quality programing on tv. Or the fact that Old Navy hires ugly chicks to work in its stores. Yeah, that's right, horroibly ugly chicks. What a sick, twisted evil company.
Well it was kinda hard not to make the correction after Danny contacted us FIVE different ways to make his point. While it was certainly an error, it's always enjoyable to see what sort of things work people up:-)
Not shoppinbg there. Urban outfitters pulled the same kind of crap not too long ago.
Now what I want to know. Is where was this shirt MADE. China? That's be a riot!
Actually I do write 'milk' as 'Milk' sometimes.... such as when 'Milk' begins a sentence...hate to nitpick...but people in glass blogs....
The view is better from a glass house:-)
Interesting how so many people can take offence at something so insignificant as a T-Shirt. I too must say that I am shocked. Not because of the writing on the shirt, or the lack of "respect" for other cultures, but rather, because regardless of the origin of the shirt in question, and regardless of the content, free speach, applied in any circumstance affords the individual the right to create such a shirt, and another individual the right to wear it.
To the proud americans out there, get a grip, chill out and dont be so defensive.
To the asian population, relax, dont be so touchy about your culture, from my experience, you too have your own problems.
In my personal opinion, having dealt extensively with both cultures, and having an external 3rd party viewpoint, you both could learn to do a bit better research, and would do well to learn about each other rather than let something as insignificant as a T-shirt get in the way.
Quote of the day: Pride is the mother of arrogance..
Best of luck, from an Australian
I find it interesting that no one has mentioned anything about the lack of business ethics.
Let me give you an example,
I donâ€™t know if you remember about the Ford Motors and Firestone tires incident back in 2001. At the beginning there were several Ford Explorer SUVs had same type of accidents. They were ruled simply as â€śautomobile accidentsâ€ť. After more people complained about it, Department of Transportation got involved and revealed that majority of these accidents were caused by poor quality tires that were manufactured by Firestone. Further more, Ford Motors knew about it and never cared nor tried to fix the problem, because the number of accidents was insignificant. What happened after that? Multi-billion lawsuits were filed against Ford and Firestone. Both companiesâ€™ stocks went down.
Of course automobile death and idiot t-shirts are nothing alike on the surface. But the common bond between the two is lack of business ethics.
Consumers should not worry about if their purchase would somehow harm or humiliate them in the future.
If mistakes on a t-shirt could be easily dismissed as one person had â€śa stick in the buttâ€ť, then many other companies could use the same logic to justify their wrongdoings.
Just imaging what would happen if you or your child ate food with broken glass pieces in it, the food manufacturer would just say â€śchew around the broken glass pieces, you foolâ€ť.
A little over PC? These people must wake up in cold sweats. Give me a break. Get over it. I could care less, and I'm Chinese.
Tuorteroglik Your an idiot.
who gives a shit it is just t-shirts, they butcher every culture, its all gag shirts anyways
I work at an Old Navy and I had questioned that to a coworker also. But I dropped it not knowing the facts. This has shed some light on the subject for me but I still like my job and defend myself working there all the time. This is how I put it, if all those people who work in factories across the world had the same oppurtunity to work inside the store, don't you think they would take it too? I'm just trying to survive and get rent paid like evryone else. Gap Inc. is a very big corporation and I know that they will definately be more careful in the future. One thing I like about working there is all the diversity that walks into my store. It is too bad for their recent mistakes.
This is what I dislike about most Asian people. As a whole, we tend to take offense more easily.
I work at Old Navy and I'm not some horribly deformed ugly chick. Shut up.
haha i work at old navy to and we have the hottest college girls working here so..u must live in an ugly place