Target: Calvin McDonald, CEO of Sephora
Goal: Remove or rename a shade of lipstick currently titled “Underage Red.”
Recent backlash on social media about the sexualization of minors has brought public attention to “Underage Red,” a shade of lipstick that is part of Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss makeup line. The line, which is sold exclusively at Sephora, has come under fire in the past for offensively-named products. Sign the petition and encourage Sephora to remove or rename the lipstick.
The Studded Kiss makeup line was last the subject of public criticism when it released a shade called “Celebutard” in 2012. Kat Von D, the creator of the makeup line, brushed off charges that the name was offensive and insensitive, tweeting, “At the end of the day, it’s just a [expletive] lipstick.”
And while it’s true that the names of makeup products are not the greatest problem facing the world today, the issue is far more than “just” the name of a lipstick. Names like “Underage Red” and “Lolita” (another shade in the Studded Kiss line) unnecessarily glamorize sexualized portrayals of minors. In a world where judges acquit men of statutory rape because their victims “looked older” or “asked for it,” a flippant promotion of sex with minors is tone-deaf at best and incredibly damaging at worst.
Sephora is a respected retailer with many popular products, and it does not have to court controversy by partnering with a line that promotes harmful images of women and girls. Sign the petition and challenge Sephora to tell Kat Von D that if it’s “just” a lipstick, just change the name.
Dear Mr. McDonald,
Sephora is a well-established, respected company–so why does it insist upon courting controversy by continuing to sell “Underage Red,” a shade of lipstick from Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss makeup line?
The color’s name has sparked outrage on social media, and rightfully so. Equating underage girls with sexiness and promoting that association is tone-deaf at best, and actively damaging at worst. (Also an offender: “Lolita,” a shade from the same line.)
Even a cursory glance at the news will reveal stories of victims of statutory rape being ignored or censured. Like the 13-year-old girl whose rape case against a 27-year-old man was thrown out of court because her body was “well-developed.” Or the 11-year-old who twice reported her rape to police and, despite showing medical evidence of assault, was charged with making a false report. Or the 14-year-old girl who killed herself after being raped by her teacher whom a judge sentenced to only 30 days in jail because the girl “acted older than her chronological age.”
Promoting minors as sex symbols is not edgy or titillating. It’s offensive, hurtful, and only contributes to the hostile atmosphere that many women and girls–particularly survivors of sexual assaults–face. I therefore urge you to issue an ultimatum to Kat Von D–either rename or remove “Underage Red” from the Studded Kiss line or face the discontinuation of all Studded Kiss products.
You have the chance to take a stand and make headlines for positive reasons. I urge you to take this opportunity and make a stand for what’s right.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: InSapphoWeTrust via Wikimedia Commons