The internet is constantly churning out new makeup trends.
Some have been odd (Halo Brows).
Some have been highly popular (E-Girl Makeup).
Some have been problematic.
Unfortunately the most recent trend falls under the latter.
Like most things on the internet, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the trend. It seems like the look was originally made to imitate the eye shape of celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Megan Fox and Kendall Jenner. It’s popularity increased exponentially because of TikTok. The way to achieve this look includes shaving off the ends of your eyebrows and creating a narrow cat eye. When posing with this look, many people pull their face slightly to exaggerate the narrow shape of their eyes.
Many Asian people growing up in America know that Asian features don’t exactly fit beauty standards. Like other racial minorities, Asians are ridiculed for their features that defy traditional standards. Many Asians do not have big blue-eyes, blonde hair or tall noses. Instead many Asians have narrower almond shaped eyes, dark hair and a softer nose. These features were seen as undesirable until the majority decided they were trendy. This makeup look imitates those very features.
Therein lies the problem. Asians are bullied for their natural features. But now that it’s trendy, non-Asians imitate these features, making them their own. Even though the fox eye wasn’t created to imitate Asian features, it makes a racial feature a makeup trend. It completely disregards the racism and harassment many Asian-Americans endure. The perpetrators of that harrassment now want to have this feature.
Physical features that were rarely seen as beautiful on an Asian person gained value once influencers declared them attractive.
Does the gesture of pulling your eyes and face back look familiar? It is a gesture often used to mock Asian people for having “slanty eyes.” The gesture was more common in the early 2000s. I, personally, can recall being mocked with this gesture during recess in elementary school. It has generally been deemed inappropriate until now. Now people can openly use it under the guise of a beauty trend, despite it’s offensive implications.
Beauty and fashion has always been a gray area for appropriation. Whether something is “taking inspiration” or appropriating is not often clear. Asian-Americans to are still mocked for their natural features while others gain popularity for imitating them; it is disheartening and disrespectful. Beauty trends can sometimes end up creating something innovative and gorgeous. But to do so, we should all keep in mind how they affect others in order to create a more creative and inclusive community.