Outrage in Australia Over Chanel’s $1,325 Wood Boomerang

  1. Home
  2. Culture Wars
By Jillian Kay Melchior | 2:12 pm, May 15, 2017

Chanel’s newest offering—a $1,325 wood and resin boomerang—has sparked outrage, and not just because of the astronomical price tag. The item’s critics say the boomerang appropriates Australian aboriginal culture.

Though the luxury brand has been offering an overpriced boomerang for months, social-justice warriors caught on this week when gender-bending makeup artist Jeffree Star, who has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, posted the boomerang to his Snapchat.

Acclaim said that the boomerang was a prime example of “how to be ‘fashionable’ and culturally insensitive at the same damn time.”

In a Venn diagram that made us think Acclaim might not understand how Venn diagrams work, the magazine depicted the Chanel boomerang as falling in both the sphere of “problematic” and “extra.”

The Australian publishing brand Pedestrian also slammed the boomerang in a post over the weekend. “A Chanel-branded boomerang. Because nothing say [sic] ‘capitalism is good, actually’ quite like blatant cultural appropriation of an indigenous people halfway around the world,” the post said.

Meanwhile, a popular Australian radio station said that anyone who wanted to buy a boomerang should “maybe support the industry and buy it from an Aboriginal artist/craftsman… and save your $2,000.”

On Twitter, others decried the item. “Your ‘boomerang’ is tacky and a gross appropriation of indigenous culture for your own profit,” wrote one user.

Another person speculated that Chanel must be “feeling left out of the Stupid White Person conversation.” A third, posting under the name Nayuka Gorrie, wrote: “When I think aboriginal culture, I think Chanel. … Have decided to save for the next three years so I can connect with my culture via Chanel.”

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.