My favorite makeup brand, MAC, has teamed up with Rodarte designers for a September 2010 collaboration based on their fall collection— but it’s gone horribly wrong. Drawing inspiration from the colors and culture of Mexico, MAC/Rodarte features a pink powder blush called Quinceanera, a sheer white lipstick called Ghost Town, and other items. That’s fine and dandy. But they’ve also tastelessly named their nail polishes Juarez (a pink frost) and Factory (a mint frost). Why’s it tasteless? Juarez is an impoverished Mexican factory town notorious for the number of women between the ages of 12 and 22 who have been raped and murdered with little or no response from police. Most of the young women are employees at the border town’s factories, called maquiladoras, and disappeared on the way to or from work. Activists have been applying constant pressure on Mexican police, who have shown little response to properly investigating the murders, allegedly because the victims are poor women. The crime channel TruTV even called Juarez a “serial killers’ playground”! And it’s not like the Juarez murders are some big secret: Jennifer Lopez even starred in a film,“Bordertown,” playing a reporter who writes about the rapes and murders. (You can learn more about Juarez from the human rights organization Amnesty International.)
Why would MAC and Rodarte — which are both hip, with-it brands — name their nail polishes so tastelessly? Even if they were donating the proceeds to justice for Juarez victims’ families (and I haven’t read that they are), it’s a weird way to raise awareness about violence against women. What’s next, a lipstick called Bergen-Belsen?