Etsy shoppers browsing the site for Asian artwork this afternoon may have been greeted with something else: recommendations for topless photos of Asian women. The problem was first spotted by an Asian-American artist on Twitter, who The edge is not naming it because of concerns about harassment, which erotica had recommended over one of their listings.
The edge found several listings where Etsy posted recommendations for erotic photos of Asian women above or below totally unrelated products with “Asian” in the title. A cute black and white image of a girl in bed has a row of erotic photos placed above it as a recommendation. A collage of illustrations of Asian women has a section below titled ‘You might like this too’ with two rows of mostly erotic photos of Asian women. An entry for “Asian Beauty” photo filters has a suggested row below for “Asian Woman Bikini,” which also includes an erotic photo.
The problem is reflected in searches on the site. Searches for “Asian photo” or “Asian women photo” will return results with some erotic images, while searches for other races or skin tones will not.
Etsy removed the erotic photos from three listings after contacting The edge
“We started work to resolve this issue as soon as it came to our attention,” an Etsy spokesperson said in a statement to The edge“We’ve added new controls around the types of listings that appear as recommendations. We will continue to improve our algorithm to avoid any recommendations appearing that are not relevant or appropriate. “
After a white man in Atlanta murdered eight people, including six Asian women, earlier this month, there is much debate in America about the fetishization of Asian women. Variety wrote about Hollywood’s decades-long role in portraying Asian women as sex workers. Vox spoke to a scholar on the history of the hypersexualization of Asian women, including a federal law used to discriminate against Asian women on the pretext of preventing sex work. And CNN wrote about how that history makes Asian women “uniquely vulnerable to violence”.
The reflection comes during a spike in anti-Asian attacks in the United States. Earlier this month, the group Stop AAPI Hate arrived reported 3,800 incidents of hate last year.
Etsy CEO Josh Silverman wrote last week that Etsy “booth[s] united with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Silverman said Etsy plans to provide bystander training to all of its US employees, partner with its Asian Employee Resource Community “to bolster AAPI voices,” and donate $ 500,000 to two groups promoting AAPI rights and justice. Etsy also pledged to continue to monitor its marketplace for items that “promote hatred or violence.”