Don't say Marx didn't warn us. Further evidence of capitalism eating itself with this latest insane marketing campaign from MAC cosmetics, part of the Estee Lauder group and very popular with young women. Young women like those who have been killed in their hundreds, some say thousands, in the Mexican factory town of Juarez.
And guess what? The smart kids paid to keep their products in the public eye thought (not that much of what I would recognise as thinking went into this) that it would be a cute stunt to theme their new Rodarte range of cosmetics around the femicide centre of the world. It includes lines called Factory, Juarez, Ghost Town and Badlands. (Rodarte? More like Roadkill.)
The Juarez serial killings marked a departure from the thousands of drug-related murders in the area. They are notorious around the globe for the numbers of poor young women killed, the prolonged time-frame with few convictions, and the conclusion that some members of the political elite must have colluded in order for the perpetrators to escape for so long. Teenage girls are STILL disappearing without trace. Exploited day and night in the factory for poverty wages, women factory-workers are then fodder for murdering sickos. And now, we have make-up companies dancing on their graves, bringing us a step nearer the world of Soylent Green and actual cannibalisation.
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?
All the beauty sites are in an uproar about this, but the political grooming site, Beauty Mouth, carries a particularly powerful piece which you must read.
What in the name of sanity is INSPIRING about the rape, torture, mutilation and murder of over 400 women (official figures from the Mexican Government - the real figure is estimated to be in the thousands by support groups) I DO NOT KNOW. ... My real fury/shock/sheer unbelievability about this range is this: I know how long it takes to bring something to market. And how many people are involved.
Even worse — oh, much worse — than Body Shop's attempt to stem sex trafficking by bringing out a handcream.
Due to the outcry, MAC has now committed to a $100K donation to "a non-profit organization that has a proven, successful track-record helping women in need and that can directly improve the lives of women in Juarez in a meaningful way." It has also felt compelled to change the name of their range, but a rose by any other name would smell as rotten now we have some insight into the mindset and philosophy of this company. I won't be buying anything more of their products — which alone should put them out of business.
Hat tip: MsKitton
UPDATE: An interesting debate at Temptalia
Rodarte is actually two women designers, sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy, said to have been inspired by lines of women workers on their way to the factory night shift they saw during a holiday around the Mexico/US border. What's a little thrill-seeking misery tourism? Thanks, sistahs.
UPDATE: Thursday 29 July 2010 — MAC pledges ALL global Rodarte profits to Juarez women initiative.