MIISHKA: A (Free) Lesson on Conflict Management

19:44 Cyndi 0 Comments

Edit:// Felt like this was a very relevant article: http://www.digitalmarketer.com/pokemon-go-community-management-mistakes/

Growing up in the age of technology surely has a lot of benefits and allows me to engage in thought-provoking and interesting discussions, read and engage in a lot of interesting articles and information. On the downside (or upside depending on how you see it), you're exposed to a lot of unacceptable behaviour and attitudes you wouldn't have access to before thanks to easy accessibilities to smartphones, tablets and cameras that can capture these unethical, prejudiced and racist moments.

Today, the world is becoming less tolerant of racist behaviour (thank God!) and in an age where information is so easily accessible it is no excuse for people to be so uneducated and culturally unaware. There is Google and YouTube and so many news resources for you to look into. I learnt all about the Iambic Pentameter for English class through YouTube - it was amazing and hopefully the education system will change to keep up with the changing technological times.

However, that's not what I want to focus on. My post today is on an Australian vintage online store based in Melbourne called Miishka. Yesterday I came across this post my friend tagged me in on Facebook where they were culturally appropriating the Vietnamse Ao Dai and other Asian dresses that hold cultural significance.

Basic gist of an Ao Dai (from Wikipedia) - it's a national dress worn by Vietnamese people usually for weddings and tea ceremonies but can also be uniforms. Basically it's a dress for special occasions similar to the Chinese and their cheong-sam, Japanese with their kimonos and yukatas and Koreans with hanboks.

Here's a complete 401, ELI5, Culture 101 lesson for you and everyone else that doesn't want to have the term 'racist' on their forehead.

By the way, if you didn't want to educate yourselves now you can (thank you 2 second search on Google):

So guys, here is a traditional and beautiful Ao Dai (took me 3 minutes to search, look up images and save these):

Now here is how Miishka culturally appropriated it and sold it for AUD$95 under the name of "Azure Oriental Tunic Dress": 

First off, you need to stop using the word 'Oriental' because;

Once again, thank you Google for a quick 2 second search and a 1 minute read on Oxford Dictionaries. 

You know what sounds better? Ao Dai - 

but coming from a Marketing perspective an Asian and taking into account that most people aren't culturally aware or accepting of other cultures that aren't their own and your target audience is generally a Western market......

Going for 'Vintage 90s Azure Vietnamese Dress' would have done the same thing without any offense given. Or even 'Vintage 90s Azure Asian Slit Dress' if you couldn't be fucked doing any research or asking any Asian group if they'll be offended. But nah, lets use 'Oriental Tunic Dress.' 

Secondly, the slit. I have so many words to say on how wrong showcasing a national dress in a mere sexual and tacky way is to the Asian community. It further endorses the belief that Asian people can be fetishised and Asian women can be sexualised. You may not see it that way but search up Asian costumes on Google and you'll soon see what I mean. I can't be bothered doing this homework for you because it's disgusting. Also notice how traditionally the way to wear Ao Dai's is with pants underneath.

Third of all, I noticed from the post, comments and Instagram that Miishka were quick to block, delete and report instead of first of all apologising, responding to criticisms and learning why they had offended so many people. 

A (Free) Lesson on Conflict Management

Here are each of the steps that Miishka could've taken to avoid this whole conflict in the first place - if they had at least done any of these steps the whole controversy wouldn't have blown up to the size it is now: 

  1. 1. Educate yourself edit:// even more on diverse social issues and surround yourself with different belief and values
  2. 2. Research on the pieces you're selling 
  3. 3. Don't culturally appropriate
  4. 4. Don't sell and market national Asian dresses as 'Oriental' or any other offensive, racist term
  5. 5. Don't get a white person to model an Asian piece and especially a cultural piece (this will piss people off no matter what even if you're not culturally appropriating and naming it the correct term)
  6. 6. Don't style and model it so provocatively (Commerce student thoughts: you could've sold a pants or shorts item underneath...damn.. missed opportunity)
  7. 7. Stop deleting, blocking and reporting comments in general (censoring people) - angry people need to vent and rant and if they can't do it on your platform then they're taking it elsewhere with 10x the angry react
The irony that this is in my blog post
  1. 8. Be accountable for your own actions (aka be responsible for your own actions)
  2. 9. Actually listen to why people are offended, angry and why you're getting backlash 
  3. 10. Actions speak louder than words 
  4. 11. Don't make yourselves out to be the victims - people are angry they don't give a shit that you were abused or threatened...you hurt them first, you started this conversation. 
  5. 12. Don't put out a general 'sorry we got caught. sorry you're butthurt' insincere apology
  6. 13. Don't put out an apology that doesn't address any of the issues directly. "Particular community" "This piece" "Similar items" "deep appreciation" "Celebrate the beautiful uniqueness of everyone" (Angry Asian Lady thoughts: Your whole facebook, instagram and tumblr feed only fits into a small minority of what you think is "unique" aka pretty, skinny, white, women ... ) 
  7. 14. Don't pull a pepsi with a 'love solves everything' 
  8. 15. Don't act like an apology automatically solves everything
  9. 16. Actions speak louder than words - how are you going to solve this? did you ask the offended how you could reverse the damage? did you try to understand what you did wrong? why did i take the items off the shelf? 
  10. 17. In a world where we can be anything, BE ALL OF THE ABOVE AND BE KIND 

Here is Miishka's apology which I felt wasn't very sincere especially when paired up with deleting off ALL comments that they felt were offensive (which, in my opinion, the ones I've seen haven't been offensive at all and simply pointing out facts) 

 Except for this one - they couldn't delete this one, of course.

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