By Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, from the blog of Ms. Magazine …
Before I finished my Ph.D., I worked in the cosmetics industry for ten years as a makeup artist for Lauder Corp, which owns such prestige brands as Clinique, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown and MAC. The cosmetics industry is often a place where Chicanas and Latinas work their way through school, and I was one of them.
Knowing what I know about the industry and who works in it–and knowing that MAC, in particular, markets to women of color a makeup line that caters to their skin tones with multiple pigments–I am appalled by the lack of social awareness that spawned the Rodarte/MAC collaboration that resulted in the “Juarez-inspired” cosmetics line, with colors such as “Juarez,” “factory” and “ghost town”.
While MAC back-peddled and apologized for its “unfortunate choice of names” and promised to donate a portion of its proceeds from the cosmetics to the people of Juarez, their initial decision to go forward with it signifies the lack of awareness about violence against women that have characterized the Juarez situation for the last 10 years. It seems that the Rodarte designers and MAC have more consciousness about protecting animals from harm in testing products than they do about the human lives lost daily in the war zone that is the city of Juarez. It’s hip to personify death in cosmetic colors rather than engage a bleak and violent reality.
Let me explain. Since taking office in 2005, Mexican President Felipe Calderón has escalated the war against drug cartels, and Juarez has been a loci of retaliatory violence between federal police, the Mexican military, U.S. DEA agents, and drug cartels. The violence from the drug war has become so bad that border dwellers from Mexico have been seeking asylum on the U.S. side because their families and businesses have been threatened.