The Fox Eye Trend Gets Serious Heat After Asians Call It Racially Insensitive. Let’s Not Blatantly Promote Harmful Trends
The beauty industry has a serious racism and colourism problem and although it has now started acknowledging how it has internalised self-hatred by literally implying ideas like fair is beautiful and white, blonde women are gorgeous, there’s still a long way to go. And this toxicity and so-called beauty ideals aren’t just normalised by the brands alone. The beauty buffs are to be blamed equally for feeding into the frezy of trends that promote racism and cultural appropriation viral.
A recent TikTok challenge and viral makeup trend, fox eyes got immense backlash from the Asian community who called it out for being outright racists. The trend involves a foxy aesthetic using a winged liner and pointed eyeshadow and a pose stretching out eyes for a slanted look to imitate Asian features. It was popularised by the likes of Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid and became a huge TikTok trend, a challenge actually. More than 70,000 posts have bee put up with hashtag #foxeyes.
You might think, so what’s wrong with it? It’s a gorgeous look and is appreciating the Asian features, right? But here’s the thing. Asian youth has been on the receiving end of bullying and casual racist slurs all their lives for their slanted eyes. Kids in school mock their facial features by pulling the corners of their eyes because they don’t know any better. But, imagine, now it’s a global beauty trend and actual adults are doing the same thing in the name of beauty. That’s really problematic and offensive.
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It was some famous influencers like Emma Chamberlain, Dixie D’Amelio, and Daisy Keech who modelled the look or fox eye pose on their social media account which their Asian followers found deeply offensive. An Instagram user Issa Okamoto, an Asian of Chinese and Japanese descent called out the racist looks posted by these influencers. She put up an Instagram post and wrote in the caption, “My eyes are not your beauty trend‼️ I’m proud to be BOTH Chinese/Taiwanese and Japanese but it took me years to be proud of these NATURAL #foxeyes and it makes me so so SO sad to see wypipo posting photos doing the same pose (pulling their eyes back) that kids used to do to make me feel bad about my asian-NESS.”
She criticised Emma Chamberlain who posted a photo with her eye stretched out. “Also the photo of Emma Chamberlain isn’t even the #foxeye trend it’s just racist. If we let the fox eye trend poses that are questionable pass, then we make it more okay for people to be blatantly racist,” she added.
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“Can you even see the sun?” “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these!” My eyes are not your beauty trend 🤬‼️I’m proud to be BOTH Chinese/Taiwanese and Japanese 🇯🇵 🇹🇼 but it took me years to be proud of these NATURAL #foxeyes and it makes me so so SO sad to see wypipo posting photos doing the same pose (pulling their eyes back) that kids used to do to make me feel bad about my asian-NESS. OKAY so it’s 2020 and NOW it’s cool to have these foxy eyes 👀 I’ve had these these forever b. No trend needed. My culture is not your costume. 😷😷🥺👊🏼👊🏼 ***also the photo of Emma Chamberlain isn’t even the #foxeye trend it’s just racist. If we let the fox eye trend poses that are questionable pass, then we make it more okay for people to be blatantly racist.***
The slanted eye gesture imitating the foxy eye shape has been one of the most common racist insult against Asians. While the makeup artists are convinced it is an innocent trend and probably a fad, Asians who have been ridiculed for their different features for years think that it’s more than that. It further normalises stereotypes and racism against Asians. Also, they feel that a feature that was always deemed amusing to the no-Asians is now a cool trend that they are obsessing over, which is unfair. A number of beauty influencers and netizens also share the same sentiments and think that this trend is nothing but an inherently racists move.
A twitter user wrote, “Just saying but whoever is doing the fox eye challenge on tiktok just keep in mind that asians have been harassed for having slanted eyes for the longest time. The motion of pulling your eyes up like that is racist to some people don’t do it.” A non-Asian user on Instagram wrote, “I used to pull my eyes like that when I was like 5 yo and didn’t knew this was racist or offensive. I didn’t even knet [sic] the word racist but like I sad I was 5. Now seeing grown ass people doing this really upsets me. I’m sorry for everyone who got affected in a bad way from this.”
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My eyes are not a trend 💄 Over the past few years I saw a lot of fashion magazines and beauty influencers putting the cat eye look to the next level by pulling up the eyes so they look slanted. In addition this year a lot of Asian Americans called out the viral trend “Fox eye challenge” on TikTok for cultural appropriation. I have to be honest: This trends reminded me undeniable to the countless times I was mocked by people who pulled their eyes back and called me chink and what not else. But some deny this statement, saying it’s just a look. It’s not referring to that gesture and it happens to be somehow similar. I’m feeling quite uncomfortable watching images like this but maybe I’m just being too sensitive, what do you think? . Model is the amazing @kickiyangz 💫 . EDIT: I see some comments saying why someone gets offended by the trends, it should be something to be happy about because it now gets accepted in society. I can just speak for myself but it’s not the make up or eyeliner or even surgery I’m feeling uncomfortable about. It’s the pose, pulling the eyes to make them look slanted. Because I (to this day) see people mocking me with this hand gesture. And I know most of the people don’t mean to offend you but it has a very bad connotation. That’s why I created this post to give a different perspective. I see where the comments are coming from and I really appreciate the conversations with different view points that I get to read under my post. Thank you all for taking time to think about this topic 🙏🏻 . EDIT 2: I want to make clear that the Flanelle Magazine and I had an open conversation about the image I included in the third slide (left bottom). This image was not from their publication and taken down. I’m very happy that they reached out to me and thankful to say they fight this cause alongside with us. They absolutely believe that this photos should not be there and people should realize it is a racist and insensitive pose. I would really appreciate if the conversations under this posts stay kind and not opposing. Thank you so much ❤️
Also Read: #Trending: Desis Slammed K-Pop Singer For Culture Appropriation After She Posted A Video Of Her Dancing to A Punjabi Song. It Was Wrong But She Apologised
What’s worse is that this comes at a time when the current coronavirus crisis has been already fuelling racism against Asians to a large extent. They are being called corona, being blamed for spreading ‘Chinese virus’ and what not. And, although it is seemingly harmless, fox eyes trend is not any less offensive as it mocks the very ethnicity of the Asians.
Appropriating a culture or race-specific features never is or should be a beauty trend. Fox eyes trend is just a reminder of the years of turmoil and racists comments Asians have undergone by the non-Asian population worldwide. I know, it doesn’t really mean to mock the Asian community, but it clearly is problematic and offensive. This is the perfect example of how subtle racism gets away, if not called out.
It’s time we are sensitive of people and their culture and respect diversity, rather than mocking them in the name of a silly social media challenges or a beauty trend. Why? Because, we are better than that.