MAC apologises for theming makeup range around Juárez

// 21 July 2010

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macblush.jpgCosmetics firm MAC has apologised and is to rename a range of makeup, in response to the outrage caused by its decision to seek inspiration from Cuidad Juárez in Mexico, where an estimated 400 young women have been violently murdered since 1993. (And the death toll could be in the thousands.) The cosmetics firm also plans to donate some of the proceeds to charity.

The mostly unsolved murders, known as “los feminicidios”, did not deter MAC and Rodarte from seeking ‘inspiration’ from the women working in the northern city’s factories. explains:

The fact that Ciudad Juarez has been named the most dangerous city in the world seems to have been lost on the designers, who told reporters that their Fall/Winter ready-to-wear collection (unveiled in February 2010) was influenced by the lines of women workers they’d see on their way to factory jobs in the middle of the night. Compounding the offense is the marketing campaign surrounding the makeup line, which features ghostly pale women who look as if they have been raised from the dead. Even the blush compact is streaked with ribbons of red that look like blood.

Madam Miaow notes:

Not only that, but to celebrate the mass killings of the very people who buy your product? Is that what they teach in business school? Or does the fact that these poor working-class girls earn £3 per day and could never afford MAC make-up render them not human in some way? Is that the message? That in this system, purchasing power alone gives you status as a human being?

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Comments From You

Laurel Dearing // Posted 21 July 2010 at 9:01 pm

like they say at beauty mouth, how about they show they are sorry and make it a real tribute to the working women by giving their profits, or at least in part, to groups working with the women in the area, and on raising awareness?

gadgetgal // Posted 21 July 2010 at 10:33 pm

All I can say is… WHAT? They really did this?!?!? Wrong, wrong, wrong on every single level EVER, and possibly a few new ones too!!!

Jennifer Drew // Posted 21 July 2010 at 10:36 pm

Agree apologies are very easy to make and as this latest example of male corporate greed – utterly meaningless.

If MAC really wish to express their apologies they must donate at least 75% of their profits to the women’s organisations working in Cuidad Juárez.

Femicide is a term created by feminists to publicise the fact ‘homicide’ is a male-centric term which refers to males who have been murdered by males. ‘Femicide’ means women who have been murdered by males. But as always language must always be male-centric.

Then there is the white European male perspective because MAC is incapable of even recognising that women living in Cuidad Juárez are human. Instead they are commodities who can be exploited in the name of corporate profits.

Elmo // Posted 22 July 2010 at 12:13 am

I suspect this is once again the fashion industry’s pathetic attempt to be “edgy”-I think its disgusting. These people live in a bubble and have no concept of what their “edgy” ideas are actually like when you have to live through them every day.

Elizabeth Rimmer // Posted 22 July 2010 at 8:03 am

I don’t think it’s political or economic, unfortunately, I think it’s sex. They are creating the feel that women who are frail, vulnerable, damaged look hot. remember the Boss perfume advert where the model looked as if she’d had both eyes blacked?

I am shocked to the core.

SpiralTrance // Posted 22 July 2010 at 10:07 am

Laureal Dearing “by giving there profits to groups working with women in the area, and on raising awareness”

What about men and young boys too or are only women worthy of help?

May I raise your ‘awareness’ to the fact that over 1800 men were tortured and killed there in the first 5 months of 2010? For every women that’s violently killed there’s probably 200+ boys/men that meet the same fate and that’s very a conservative estimate. Violent murder in Ciudad Juarez is by no means exclusive to women.

Josie // Posted 22 July 2010 at 10:55 am

Good grief, how absolutely disgusting. I can barely believe that this is true. How could anyone have possibly thought this was a good idea, on ANY level? Fully agree with previous posters that MAC now need to put their money where their mouths are – let’s wait with baited breath, shall we….

Shea // Posted 22 July 2010 at 11:16 am

I agree with the comments above. This is a horrendous fail. I usually like Mac especially their VIVA Mac collections and campaigning work on HIV/AIDS. But this is grotesque. Especially in light of the fact that no one has been brought to justice over these murders as far as I’m aware. The theory was it was an American serial killer, who repeatedly crossed the border to commit these crimes. This just makes it doubly wrong that Mac would exploit this situation and denigrate the victims further.

Shea // Posted 22 July 2010 at 11:31 am

@ SpiralTrance – your comments are inapprorpiate at best. These women were innocent and had no known involvement in drugs. They were just ordinary women trying to make a living in the maquiladoras and survive. There has still not been a full inquiry into the killings and no one has been brought to justice.

The men are shot in Juarez, because of their involvement in drugs trafficking, which is the big business in Mexico right now. They aren’t raped and mutilated first. So violent murder may not be exclusive to women in Juarez, but rape, mutilation and torture first are.

So just stop your silencing behaviour. If you are so concerned about helping the men and boys in Juarez why don’t you set up your own blog telling the world about the issue and raising funds for them? Of course its much more convenient to just whip them out to try and guilt trip and silence women, as and when you need to.

Maeve // Posted 22 July 2010 at 11:56 am

Spiral Trance, may I raise your “awareness” to the fact that this bunch of idiots was not creating makeup for boys and men which lovingly gloated over their murders….?! That is the point of this post.

If you want a whataboutthemenz rant, go somewhere else!

Laurel Dearing // Posted 22 July 2010 at 1:14 pm

@spiralTrance thankyou for pointing that out to me. it wasnt made obvious, with te emphasis on femicide

Elizabeth Rimmer // Posted 22 July 2010 at 2:46 pm

Do we really need to say that torture and killing (anyone) is wrong? If so then we are really in trouble. What’s specifically wrong with MAC is not the original killing torture unspeakable evil in the city, (unless you think they are doing it?) but that that MAC are using it as a desirable look. They seem to be selling the idea to girls that battered=hot. And consequently that battering women will turn a guy on. Anyone selling that kind of make-up to boys? Thought not.

sianmarie // Posted 22 July 2010 at 4:03 pm

SpiralTrance – no way! men suffer violence too? hold the phones! this changes EVERYTHING!

this news story relates to how the beauty industry and violence against women intersect, and has a particular resonance as the make up and advertising glamourises VAW whilst referencing a city renowned for murders of women.

it is ok to talk about violence against women without talking about violence against men at the same time you know.

man i am soooo bored of explaining that!

Grace // Posted 22 July 2010 at 5:30 pm

I can’t even get angry about this: it’s not malicious, just astoundingly thoughtless. Whoever at MAC thought this was a good idea?

@J. Drew: I confess to not understanding why ‘homicide’ is ‘ a male-centric term which refers to males who have been murdered by males’. The word is from the Latin ‘homo’ (human being) and ‘caedere’ (to cut); the Latin for ‘man’ would be ‘vir’.

Tiffany Daniels // Posted 24 July 2010 at 10:50 am

SpiralTrance does have a point, although perhaps it’s not been worded as careful as it could have been. The crime levels in Juarez make it dangerous for EVERY ONE of its citizens, and I think it’s offensive to insinuate its entire male population is involved in drug trafficking, Shea. That’s as insensitive as claiming its entire female population is involved in the sex industry. No doubt both men AND women have been victims of unjust crime within the city.

On the other hand, as many have pointed out, MAC have specifically designed a makeup range marketed towards women that draws on their vulnerabilty, particularly at night. I don’t think it’s exclusive to this range at all – style magazines are as guitly of promoting the “bruised” eyeshadow look and some blushers are…well, the ‘blood red ribbons’ highlighted in the article describe it perfectly.

Jeff // Posted 24 July 2010 at 7:47 pm

In all honesty, I bet nobody in MAC knew or cared about the “femicides” (though where the idea that “homicide” describeds murder or males by males came from is beyond me) in Mexico until the backlash from activist groups. I doubt they really bothered to research the lives of women in the area, but rather used the idea of inspiration from them to sell the make-up via sympathy.

Shea // Posted 25 July 2010 at 1:03 am

I wasn’t insinuating the entire male population is involved in drug trafficking.

I wrote: “The men are shot in Juarez, because of their involvement in drugs trafficking”

………….which includes police officer, judges, lawyers trying to prevent it and prosecute those involved and yes drug traffickers. Not every single man murdered is mixed up in the drugs trade but the majority will be in one guise or another – Juarez is notorious for it as one of the biggest border cities.

The point is and was, the women had no involvement in prostitution or drugs, they were entirely innocent. They were victims, because they were women.

It is dangerous for them because they can’t choose not to be women, the way that those fighting or perpetrating the drugs trade can in opting in or out. Its infinity less dangerous to be a man in Juarez, involved in drugs or not, than to be a woman. These murders, still unsolved, the killer(s) still not apprehended – confirm this.

Jess McCabe // Posted 29 July 2010 at 2:42 pm

the women had no involvement in prostitution or drugs, they were entirely innocent

I think we have to be careful here – if they were involved in prostitution/sex work or drugs, of course that wouldn’t have justified their being murdered.

Shea // Posted 2 August 2010 at 3:25 pm

@ Jess- absolutely. Involvement in drugs or sex work is no justification for murder. Sorry for the oversight.

Sakun // Posted 6 August 2010 at 3:07 am

I really have no idea why people have become so fired up over this. Yeah, tons of people in this city have been killed. But, it was not inspired by those who had been killed. It was inspired by women they had seen on their way to work. Its possible they were not aware of the killings, and to base a line of makeup off of these women, they must have seen some beauty in them. AND, someone forgot include how the designers had said the line was also inspired by the colors and landscapes of juarez.

That eyeshadow is one of many marbleized shadows mac has produced… This one just happened to have red in it, so lets say its blood.

By no means am I trying to be offensive, I understand what is going on in Mexico, and it is truly, indeed horrible. I just don’t believe mac or rodarte had any intent to make it seem like they were glamourizing such a horrible thing.

Oh, and femicide? What the heck is that? Homocide is not, by any means, a male-centric word. If it were, Homosapien would be as well, which means we are all males. No females exist.

Jess McCabe // Posted 6 August 2010 at 10:21 am

Femicide: this is not about the etymology of the word homicide.

The term was coined by women affected by this situation, to describe the way that women are being targetted in these killings.

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