Have you heard of Cibu? They make beauty products. Unfortunately, their whole brand identity revolves around ridiculous Orientalist schtick, invoking tired old Asian imagery hacky stereotypical wordplay. This isn't anything new -- brands have been doing this for years. But in Cibu's case, they've gone way off the deep end.
For instance: Miso Knotty Detangler. Geishalicious Shampoo. Take Out Clarifying Shampoo. Shang High Mousse. Spring Roll Hydrating Cleanser. Ancient Veil Oil Mist. Hi-Ya! Keratin Reconstructive Conditioner. Washabi 3-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo. Dry Kwon Do Dry Shampoo. Pho Freeze Firm Hold Hairspray. I swear, I didn't make any of these names up -- they're all real products.
Here's an online petition calling on Cibu International and its parent company to reconsider and re-brand its line: Cibu International / Ratner Companies (Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, Salon Cielo): Stop using offensive and racist names for your beauty products.
Cibu product names run the gamut from reinforcing the stereotyping of Asian people and cultures as “exotic” and foreign, to fetishizing Asian women, to generalizing and mocking Asian cultures by lumping different countries and cultures together. “Miso Knotty” [“me so naughty”] is an especially offensive example of Cibu's misguided product naming. The name plays on racist stereotypes of how Asians speak English, and conjures images of Asian women selling their bodies (as memorably portrayed in the film "Full Metal Jacket") and being sexually objectified and exploited by men, especially white men. The company maintains that the “Miso Knotty” name is mere “wordplay,” but the corresponding “Miso Knotty Miso Nice” gift wrap produced by Cibu shows that the company is well aware of the “me so naughty” connotation, which amounts to racist, sexist mockery of Asian women.Seriously. Pho Freeze? That actually just sounds gross. To sign the petition, go to Change.org.
Cibu (cibuinternational.com) is part of the Ratner Companies family, and is sold at Ratner Companies salons – which include Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, Salon Cielo, Salon Plaza, and Colorworks. Altogether, Ratner Companies owns nearly 800 salons in 19 states. If Cibu and Ratner Companies wish to produce and market a line of “Asian”-inspired beauty products, they must find a better way to do so. Regardless of the companies’ intentions, many of its product names are unacceptable as they are now, and should be changed immediately.
We respectfully urge Cibu International and Ratner Companies to cease reinforcing and profiting from racist stereotypes about Asians, Asian Americans, and Asian culture by immediately changing their offensive product names.