MAC and Rodarte Officially Respond. Is it enough?

Late last night (UK time),  19th July, MAC and Rodarte released official statements updating their position on the Rodarte – MAC collection, presumably in response to the uproar beauty bloggers have fuelled across blogs and over twitter in the past two days.

Their full statements are below:

STATEMENT FROM M·A·C COSMETICS ON THE M·A·C RODARTE COLLECTION

We understand that product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection have offended our consumers and fans. This was never our intent and we are very sorry. We continue to listen carefully to the comments we have received and have the following plans to address concerns:

We are committed to donating $100,000 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.

We are changing the product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection.

As we have done in the past, please be assured that we will communicate details regarding our progress in this matter.

STATEMENT FROM RODARTE ON THE M·A·C RODARTE COLLECTION

We recognize that the violence against women taking place in Juarez needs to be met with proactive action. We never intended to make light of this serious issue and we are truly sorry.

Helping to improve the conditions for women in Juarez is a priority for us and we are thankful for all the comments calling attention to the urgency of addressing this situation.

Juarez Victims

Juarez Victims

My reaction

While I am pleased that it seems the beauty bloggers’ and our readers’  voices have been heard and I am happy to see both MAC and Rodarte explicitely apologise for the insensitive and inappropriate naming of items in the collection  (which they didn’t adequately do when they first released statements on the issue), I’m afraid I don’t think this goes far enough.

First of all, as many other bloggers have pointed out already (such as Big Fashionista), $100,000 is really a drop in the ocean for MAC, isn’t it? I’m no expert but common  sense tells me, if they can afford to donate ALL profits of their ‘Viva Glam’ collections to HIV and AIDS causes, then they would also be in the position financially to donate ALL profits from this distastefully named range to the women of Juarez.

That leads me on to my other issue which is with regard to the names – and the renaming MAC proposes. I’m not sure that renaming these products achieves anything now. In fact I think it could be detrimental. Let me explain… When I first heard of this collection I was shocked at the names of products in the collection including ‘Juarez’ and ‘Factory’. What I was so shocked about was that they’d been chosen with, as far as I could see, not even a nod to acknowledge the exploitation and violence against women happening in Ciudad Juarez and particularly to the, predominantly female, factory workers there, who are the killers’ prime targets.

Had MAC planned to release this range (including said names) with the intent of donating all profits to the women of Juarez and to the organisations working to expose the systematic corruption occurring there, and petition for women’s rights and proper, impartial, globally-backed investigation into the rapes and murders which have been happening since 1993, then this could have been a positive thing for MAC and Rodarte. What outraged me was that there was seemingly nothing about Rodarte and MAC’s collection that was going to help the women whom they were apparently ‘inspired by’.

Now, by changing the names, I fear that MAC is just trying to sweep the issue under the carpet. When these items hit shelves in September with different names, will the masses know about the ill-thought-out product development and marketing intended by MAC and Rodarte (had they not been exposed)?  Very much doubt it. Will the everyday buyer of the Rodarte-MAC range know about the murders and exploitation happening in Ciudad Juarez? Again, I doubt it.

What I feel MAC and Rodarte need to do is (a) to donate ALL profits to the non-profit organisation (or organisations) closest to the victims and families, and with the mobilisation power necessary to use that money to raise wide-scale awareness and help as many people as possible.

And (b) I believe that MAC should keep the names – but include in their marketing, advertising, packaging, website etc. a direct call to action to alert people’s attention to the issues surrounding the corrpution and exploitation and the ongoing suffering of women in Ciudad Juarez. MAC should be offering a long-term commitment to this cause, as they do with Viva Glam for AIDS sufferers. They shouldn’t just be changing the names and giving, what is for them, not a huge amout of money, in a token and rash effort to correct the embarassing faux pas they’ve made.

What can we do?

Pretty in Dayton very sensibly points out that we can all do our bit to support the cause financially as well raise awareness through our blogs. I’m trying to help by emailing various different non-profit organisations and activists that I’m aware of in Ciudad Juarez to ask their opinions on what our next steps should be and where the money should go. Although we’re all doing our best to read up on this issue we’re not ‘on the front line’, so to speak, and I think it would be incredibly valuable to seek advice from those who’ve been working more closely with the victims, protestors and fundraisers within Juarez for a number of years. Below is a list of who I believe to be the main non-profits involved, although I’ll keep you updated if I hear anything which can inform a clearer strategy for us going forward.

I also believe we should keep posting our views on MAC and Rodarte’s response. Do you feel it’s enough?

Every single blogger who has posted should feel proud that we’ve come as far as to trigger an official response from a huge global brand and prompted a $100,000 donation from MAC. But we shouldn’t stop here. This is an opportunity for us, who usually write about face creams and nail polishes (I don’t mean that to sound trivial, but given the circumstances…), to keep putting pressure on MAC to do more – to make a longterm and well thought-out committment to Ciudad Juarez. And for us all to make our own contribution, financially if we can, but also through continuing to raise awareness of the issues faced by women everyday in Juarez.

I don’t have all the answers, but I truly hope that together we can make a difference.

Organisations working on behalf of the women of Ciudad Juarez

(source: www.amigosdemujeres.org Descriptions below taken directly from source)

Justicia para Nuestras Hijas

This group is comprised of Chihuahua City community members and the families of the serial-killing victims there. A model of community and family collaboration, Amigos decided in April 2003 to begin aiding this resource-strapped group.

Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa

This group supports a number of families in their search for justice in their daughters’ cases. Nuestras Hijas is active in broadening knowledge of the Cd. Juárez crimes in Mexico City and throughout the world. They have also traveled throughout the U.S. They’ve taken steps to insure that the Cd. Juárez cases have been picked up by Amnesty International, the U.N., the Organization of American States and domestic human rights organizations.

Casa Amiga Rape and Crisis Center

Until recently, the only rape and abuse crisis center for a city of over 1.2 million people, Casa Amiga received some financial support from the city from its establishment until 2001. In 2001, political moves ended this support and Casa Amiga has been surviving on donations ever since. Casa Amiga provides counseling, legal and medical services as needed to the victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and rape. It has a special children’s program, children’s art therapy, and abuse prevention classes for children that are offered throughout the city. Classes on how to avoid or end domestic abuse are also given at Cd. Juárez low-wage, assembly plants known as maquiladoras. Director Esther Chavez Cano has been recognized around the world numerous times for her work on Cd. Juárez women’s issues.

Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A.C.

A new office in Chihuahua Mexico is being opened in September 2006 to serve as a 24-hour hotline for domestic abuse and will also house a lawyer and counselor to help women who are suffering from domestic abuse and other abuse. It’s mission statemet is: “Promover el desarrollo integral de las mujeres que contribuya a crear desarrollar una cultura de igualdad y equidad libre de violencia y discriminacion.” The staff and volunteers of this new organization will be seeking advice and training from the domestic violence centers in El Paso and Las Cruces.

6 thoughts on “MAC and Rodarte Officially Respond. Is it enough?

  1. Very articulate post, thank you for taking the time to write this. I completely agree with everything you’ve written here . It’s truly heartwarming to see how the beauty blogging community has risen to face this wrongdoing.

  2. As a male bystander I have been staggered firstly by my ignorance around Juarez and secondly by the response from the beauty blogging world. You can see that differences are already being made. As you state though – This is only a job half done. You’ve all shown admirable passion now use that and get some justice to the women of Juarez.

    Great post

  3. Thank you for this informative and eloquent piece. I knew there was something bothering me about the name change idea but I couldn’t imagine leaving the product names as they were either. You’re totally right though – this is what they should have done. Keep the offensive names for their shock-factor and ability to highlight the issue. That was never their intention but if combined with the appropriate marketing campaign to raise awareness, it could have been their effect.

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