Monday, July 19, 2010

MAC/Rodarte vs. The women of Cuidad Juarez?

The rundown:

MAC has collaborated with fashion designer Rodarte to release an collection called Rodarte for the fall. They state it is inspired by the ethereal beauty of the towns that border USA and Mexico that they discovered on a road trip to Marfa.

The problem:

Calling the border town (Juarez in particular, for which one of the nail polishes is named) ethereal could not be more misleading. Juarez is one of, if not the, most violent town(s) in the world. Since 1993 countless women have been raped, tortured and murdered in this so called idyllic town. Most of these women work in the maquiladoras or factories (coincidentally the name of the other polish in this collection is factory) for slave wages.

If you want to know more about Juarez:

An NPR series on CJ
Another NPR story

At the Drive in Made a video about this very subject, the death toll at the time was 573. That was almost 10 years ago!

My take on it all:

I don't really see them as racist or ignorant. I feel like they knew what they were doing. They wanted to stir things up and capitalize on the controversy. They did not count on people being as educated as they are. It just seems in opposition to alienate your target audience (women) by taking something that affects them so lightly. It's like a matzo ball company naming their wares the bergen-belsen. No offense to my Jewish friends I know the scale of these crimes are way smaller, however I hope you can see that I am just trying to point out MAC and Rodarte's insensitivity. As someone of Mexican descent I find it a slap in the face that they put some emaciated white girl with black circles around her eyes a mile out as the "face" of their campaign. I mean, if you stuck a flower on her forehead she could be a sugar skull FFS. Estee Lauder does give their companies the freedom to make their own decisions while having the advantage of all the R&D they have spent so much money on. This time they had enough rope to hang themselves although I doubt they will feel anything from this aside from the fleeting PR blemish, especially from a company that is so profitable.

MACs response to it all?:

"We understand that product names in the M.A.C. Rodarte collection have offended some of our consumers and fans," the company said in a statement. "This was never our intent and we are very sorry. We are listening carefully to the comments posted and are grateful to those of you who have brought your concerns to the forefront of our attention. M.A.C. will give a portion of the proceeds from the M.A.C. Rodarte collection to help those in need in Juarez. We are diligently investigating the best way to do this. Please be assured that we will keep you posted on the details regarding our efforts."

This just in MAC has decided to change the names in addition to the 100k donation. You can read more here I guess money (and a name change)CAN fix everything. I think it is good that they are donating the money but they should have done this in the first place if the misery of so many was going to be their spring board. They should have came correct and acknowledged this and not painted a pretty picture (their "inspiration") all the while putting what is really going on (the names of the products) under our faces. I think that MAC may be trying to do the right thing now at least(albeit as damage control, much in the way many prisoners find Jesus in jail). Rodarte on the other hand? Spoiled little rich girls with not a bit of taste in sight.

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