Juarez-themed makeup will not be hitting shelves

A samle eyeshadow compact from the Juarez line. The makeup is mostly grey and silver with a dark red running throughout it. The image is like a lolcat and says Do Not Want

White lipstick called “Ghosttown,” a greyish nail polish called “Factory,” and an eyeshadow called “Sleepwalker,” were just some of the products of the MAC/Rodarte Fall 2010 makeup collaboration themed around the Mexican bordertown of Juarez, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, where 400 women have been murdered and gone missing (and that’s just the reported cases–actual statistics are probably much higher.)

The faux pas has finally hit the fan though, and while MAC almost immediately backtracked and said they would donate all proceeds to Juarez groups, they just announced that they are not continuing with the line at all.

Out of respect for the people of Mexico, the women and girls of Juarez and their families, as well as our MAC Mexican staff and colleagues, MAC has made the decision not to ship the MAC Rodarte limited edition makeup collection. This decision will have no impact on MAC’s commitment to donate all of its projected global profits from this collection to local and international groups that work to improve the lives of the women and girls of Juarez. We are currently conducting due diligence to ensure we donate to organizations with a proven record of directly supporting the women and girls of Juarez. MAC and Rodarte are deeply and sincerely sorry and we apologize to everyone we offended. We have listened very closely to the feedback of concerned global citizens. We are doing our very best to right this wrong. The essence of MAC is to give back and care for the community and Rodarte is committed to using creativity for positive social change. We are grateful for the opportunity to use what we have learned to raise awareness on this important issue.

*slow hand clap*

But seriously, good for them for responding to the outcry, listening to people’s concerns with their product, and continuing to donate profits, which is more than I expected to come from the high fashion industry. However, it didn’t stop New York Magazine’s fashion blog The Cut from going on an all-out snark attack. “All it took was one upset blogger to start a firestorm of backlash that would lead to the cancellation of M.A.C.’s Rodarte makeup line…Hey, lots of things can be really offensive if we want them to be! One word. One nail polish. One blog post. Thousands of online comments. Now this.” referencing the Frisky’s breaking coverage of it. Actually, many websites were rightfully outraged over the line, which thought it could bottle and sell, literally, the daily violence of Juarez, including Colorlines, About Face, the Ms. blog, Threadbared and plenty of non-social-justice blogs like the Awl.

This is unsurprisingly from the same blogger who originally claimed other people don’t think this nail polish is offensive, what’s the big deal? (Linking, of course to other fashion blogs who think “despite the topical news reference, the colors do look femininely delicate and ethereal”). While the atrociousness of the line is one thing (Jessica Wakeman likened it to a Sudan-themed line with a shade called “Darfur”), the fact that other bloggers are disappointed, and think that the makeup line was going above and beyond by “calling attention to these issues in addition to being generally quite pretty” is a bit disheartening. Take real action for the women of Juarez by visiting the FEMAP Foundation, Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (multilingual), Casa Amiga (Spanish), the Frontera Women’s Foundation, and Amnesty International.

But in other good riddance to bad rubbish news, American Apparel’s days are numbered….

by Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

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8 Comments Have Been Posted

I don't know why you would

I don't know why you would celebrate the end of American Apparel. In spite of their sometimes-offensive ads, at least they produced their clothing in America, paid livable wages, and promoted causes such as LGBT rights and comprehensive immigration reform (in opposition to Arizona's S.B. 1070).

That's more than we can say for most (all?) other clothing companies.

Hm, where to start...

*Scratches head* Wow,

*Scratches head* Wow, erm... weird. I don't think I've felt this conflicted about something for a while! Personally, as a dedicated lover of whacky slap I don't find MAC's use of the title offensive in itself, especially in it's (presumably) intended capacity as an attention-focussing exercise on the region in question. I think you have to consider the context before going off on a huffy rampage about the propriety of something, and to me, MAC have established their credentials as a (reasonably) responsible entity.

I consider cosmetics something of an artform and like to apply them creatively as part of my personal expression, and using products named thusly would tend to remind me of A- my own good fortune and B- my responsibility to women in such circumstances. So yeah, not really offended, and a bit puzzled by the reaction to this as opposed to a hundred other outrages perpetuated in the media every day of the bloody year.

Was this REALLY a tacky, exploitative coopting of a tragic circumstance or a perhaps ill-defined attempt to do something positive? Come on, you know there probably wasn't evil intent. And should the people behind it not have the gynecological fortitude to defy bloggy hysteria campaigns if they feel they're doing something worthwhile? Of course.
Silly MAC- you should have stuck to your guns. Perhaps made yourself a little clearer, but even so.

Doesn't matter. Their CEO is

Doesn't matter. Their CEO is a racist, sexist, misogynist who has been sued for sexual harassment several times, probably more times than he can count.

I doubt that having an American-based company producing clothing in America can make up for all of the horrible things that AA does. To their semi-pornographic advertising, to the way that they treat their employees (not hiring people who wear plus-size, they do not make plus-size, and require their employees to wear their clothes at work), to the racism in their advertising. To me, being made in America does not excuse those things.

However, if you are comfortable with buying clothes from a retailer that does those things, simply because it's American-made and American-based, go ahead.

Less emphasis on

Less emphasis on American-made, more emphasis on livable wages. As in all things, there's shades of gray, and the harm AA perpetuates is less than the harm GAP perpetuates.

I thought this was a

I thought this was a someone's ill advised idea of a joke. This is so freaking awful. MAC is generally reasonable on social justice issues and even if they were going to use a portion of the proceeds to assist victims of the violence, there are probably better ways of expressing support for those affected and lending a voice to their concerns.

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"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse

Couldn't agree more

This is makeup? For Insane Clown Posse (eww ...), maybe, but certainly not for me. This is a big FAIL for MAC.

re: American Apparel - just because it's made in the USA doesn't mean it's good.

UNreal. I'm speechless.

UNreal. I'm speechless.

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