Beauty Without Fuss

Sunday 18 July 2010

MAC Rodarte Collection - but it is art?

You're going to be reading a lot of posts on this matter this evening, and I just thought I'd add my tuppenorth into the matter.  The new MAC collaboration with Rodarte is due out (in the US) in September.  A collection of ethereal pale greys, pinks and taupes, it's meant to be inspired by the beauty of the countryside in Mexico, and specificially, items (according to Rodarte) were inspired by the female workers "floating to work" in the factories at dawn.

So far, not so unusual, but several of the items may have been insensitively named: Juarez, and Factory, are the nail polishes in the collection, and here's where the controversy begins, for, over the last several years, women in their dozens have been abducted on their way to work in the factories of Juarez, and they have been raped and murdered. Juarez is a notoriously impoverished factory town, and has been named one of the most dangerous places to live in the world as a result of these abductions, murders and rapes.  Very little is being done by the police to investigate the situation, as the women (aged between 12 and 20, in the main) are every poor, and it's not seen as worthwhile to try and bring their rapists and murderers to justice.

After an outcry in the US, MAC have released a statement announcing that they are aware that some people consider these names controversial and/or offensive, and, as a result, they are going to donate a "portion" of the proceeds of this collection to the people of Juarez.  Rodarte themselves have merely said that the names of the collection were inspired by their "travels", and have not apologised for the controversial element.

This strikes me as a shame, and a missed opportunity.  Why not release the entire collection as an awareness raising one, and donate the entire proceeds to the people of Juarez? MAC, of course, have a track record in this area, donating as they do, the entire proceeds of their Viva Glam releases every year to Aids charities.  I'd feel a lot less uneasy about MAC if they'd done this, I'll be honest.

Can you imagine if, in the UK for example, Illamasqua had released a collection with an item named "Soham" and then claimed it was simply because the town was so beautiful, and that was the only reason they chose the name?  It shows a massive amount of naivety on the behalf of the Rodarte team that they didn't consider the implications of naming parts of a collection this way, and ignoring any offence they may have caused too.

Please be aware that I am NOT calling for a boycott of this collection, and if you want to buy the items, you are, of course, welcome to (personally, some of the items I've seen, I think to be very pretty, in all actuality - it's certainly not a collection for our darker skinned sisters, judging from the promos though), but I'd like to see MAC do more to redress this situation, (what proportion of the proceeds are they willing to donate, for example) and I'd like to see more in the way of action from the Rodarte team to acknowledge the situation too.  Makeup shouldn't, if you ask me, be glorifying the rape and murder of women ...

What say you?  Legitimate outcry, or storm in a teacup?


  1. Loved this post.

    Also one of the items is called quinceineira sorry can't spell.

    This is the coming of age party for a 15 yr old girl.

    Would love to know what that has to do with ethereal landscape, wouldn't you x x

  2. Interesting debate and I tend to agree with all your comments. Good it raises awareness but bad if that wasn't their aim.

  3. Great post too :-) It'll be interesting to see what steps MAC take now.

  4. Another great post on this monumental mess up by MAC. The only positive from this is that it has raised the awful plight of the women in Juarez. Shall watch for the response from MAC with interest.

  5. I think you and I are on the same page with this. Totally.

  6. Really great post, like Charlie said above - I feel alot of beauty bloggers are on the same page as you including myself.

    It's just such a shame that it has been dealt with in this way. It could of been such a positive campaign much like Viva Glam to spread awareness and raise alot of money.

    I really don't know what MAC was thinking.

    Fee x

  7. Great post. It hard to think they didn't realise the offense they would cause with the names. I look forward to seeing what action MAC take now.

  8. I totally agree. I'm not going to get too into detail since I've commented everyone on this so, so many times but I think MAC really should donate ALL the proceeds from this collection. I also feel like the whole donating thing was an afterthought and that they only came up with the idea after all the complaints! This is just horrible, the collection names are horrible, and the fact that MAC & Rodarte are trying to make money off the suffering of these people in Juarez is horrible.

    I've always really admired MAC for their AIDS Fund and Kids Helping Kids so I'm so shocked with MAC for ths whole thing. I'm so disappointed..

  9. Fab post - I mentioned in mine that I was interested in the inclusion of lip erase in "pale" - hardly suitable for any woman of colour really... more suitable for someone wanting to look corpse like... oh but hang on, this collection inspired by the landscape, not the countless corpses of the victims of femicide isn't it....?

  10. spent all night reading all these blog posts! yours is very well written too! im so pleased we are all raising awareness on this topic!

    you can read my view here:


  11. what a beautifully written post. i've read many now but i still find every post different and i am so happy bloggers united tonight and wanted to react against this. distasteful it certainly is. unbelievable. i shall not buy it.
    I've updated the list of bloggers if you are interested. links listed are links to the actual posts: we are now 35.

  12. I find it ironic that this collection isn't really suited for darker skin. I guess our sisters in Juarez won't be interested in this one.

    Thanks to all of you who brought this issue up - and shame on MAC/Rodarte for exploiting a horrifying situation.

  13. It's just foul. The more I read, the more saddened and annoyed I feel. Utterly thoughtless and tasteless.


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