** This article is reposted from my main blog here **
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Recently, my friend brought an article to class about MAC makeup's recent new line of cosmetics. MAC makeup has pissed off a lot of people for further sexualizing and glamorizing women's oppression and violence against women. MAC took it really far this time, they actually said they were "inspired" by the violence against women and the dead/sick women in Juarez. Alison Fairbrother from Politics Daily here said, "Fashion and beauty bloggers around the world responded with revulsion to "Factory" nail polish and "Sleepwalker" eyeshadow, accusing the cosmetic makers of romanticizing and exploiting the difficult lives of the Mexican women." Not only was this exploitation and romanticization but it's bordering on racism. When these wealthy upper middle class women working for MAC enter countries to "observe" conditions with hopes to be "inspired" by the women working there, they come off as blatantly ignorant, culturally insensitive racists. There is an obvious power struggle; an obvious and dangerous privilege that these women have. They want to be "inspired" by someones pain and anguish? Then they can return to their giant company buildings with a cup of coffee and discuss how to make money off these women? I don't think so. Fairbrother continued to say that the bloggers and other activists pushed MAC so far that they pulled the line completely "out of respect for women and girls of Juarez and their families." The company did not follow up on where the money that was made would actually go, and if it would really go to help women and girls in Juarez.
MAC's Facebook page states that the company is "currently conducting due diligence to ensure we donate to organizations with a proven record of directly supporting the women and girls of Juarez."
According to Fairbrother in another blog post "A blogger at Vex in the City wrote, "I cannot help . . . feeling disappointed still. MAC has pledged to make a donation of $100,000, but this is totally disproportionate to the amount of money they could give." For those of you who are unaware, like I was until my friend did a research project on it, here's the down low on Juarez's history of femicide from what I learned recently. Juarez is home to a lot of drug cartels and poor factory conditions. Women in Juarez are being found mutilated, maimed and killed non-stop and no one does anything about it. No one knows who is doing this either. These women are working in factories with horrible conditions, they are being found with their breasts chopped off and shoved in their mouths. These women have been ending up dead all over Juarez and no one is doing a damn thing about it, at least not the law enforcement. The fashion industry constantly seems to fall in love with violence against women. They see something sexually redeeming about the quality of a woman who is unable to consent. Fashion is based around sadomasochistic principles - the bodies of women are harmed in order to be "fashionable", made to walk in heels and starve themselves to fit the violent criteria. Also, this idea of violence as sexy in the fashion industry is not old. Magazines constantly run huge fashion label advertisements that show men pinning women down, women laying unconscious or even covered in blood. Fashion magazines, makeup lines and photo shoots are bombarding the world with images that illustrate the sexiness, the seduction of violence against women. This is a symptom, if not a large cause of rape culture in the world. This needs to stop.
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