Why the Fox Eye Makeup Trend Is Cultural Appropriation

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In a recent video with Vogue, singer and songwriter, Madison Beer, took fans through her daily skincare and makeup routine. While applying her eye makeup, Beer employed a technique known as the “fox eye”, which involves enhancing the appearance of the eyes to look more almond-shaped.

In this case, Beer drew two small lines in the inner corners of her eyes to elongate her eye shape. The fox eye trend is so popular that there are over 100,000 posts under the hashtag on Instagram as well as numerous tutorials on YouTube.

Celebrities like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner are also fans of this look and regularly employ makeup tricks to make their eyes appear more almond-shaped. Despite the popularity, there’s a real issue with this trend given it attempts to create the look of slanted eyes, effectively appropriating a feature of the Asian community — a feature that often isn’t celebrated in the context of Asian people.

According to Hello Giggles, this trend is described as: “Shaving off the tail end of your eyebrows (eliminating everything from the arch to the tail) to draw on a straighter brow; using a brown or black eyeshadow to create a sharp, cat-eye flick up towards the temples; and then, adding a touch of the same eyeshadow to the inner corners of your eyes pointing towards the bridge of your nose. The final look creates the illusion of upturned, slanted eyes.”

The fox eye trend is another example of a beauty double standard where white women co-opt the trend and are celebrated for their attractiveness while the Asian community is openly taunted for this very feature. In some cases, people use tape to pull back their eyes to make them appear more slanted, while others have undergone cosmetic surgery to make the change permanent.

Given all of the racist vitriol experienced by the Asian community for their eyes, as well as the recent uptick in abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend is not only carried out in poor taste but is cultural appropriation and downright racist.

“Growing up, I was a bit insecure about my eyes. I had wished they were rounder, less almond because people would make fun of Asian eyes,” Filipino beauty influencer Jordan Santos told Teen Vogue. “It’s upsetting, but sadly not surprising that the same look used by non-Asians to insult Asians for their eye shape is now being used for aesthetic purposes.”

Before copying the makeup techniques of Beer, Jenner or Hadid, consider the repercussions this has for the Asian community and your own role in appropriating a cultural feature.

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