If you’re an Instagram or beauty enthusiast, chances are you’ve seen plenty of iterations of the “Fox Eye” trend by now. Popularized by celebs like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Megan Fox, the look features a sharp cat eye that’s angled towards the temples, using eyeliner to elongate the eye on both sides. In short: slanted eyes. The look is almost often accompanied by the “migraine pose”, which uses one or two hands to pull the eyes towards the temples to further exaggerate the makeup’s effect.
For many, the irony is almost too much to bear. Eyes are a defining Asian feature – one that for far too many, has been the target of mockery, insults, and outright racism. The mainstream worlds of fashion and beauty have a long history of cultural appropriation when it suits them, stealing select features from specific cultures as they see fit in the name of a trend or statement.
For many, this trend reopens past traumas and instances of stereotypes and racism we are still trying to move past. Our founder, Yu-Chen Shih, shares her own experience and perspective on the issue. “I find the ‘fox eye’ beauty trend extremely offensive. As a young girl, I hated my cat-like eyes – I remember wanting to get plastic surgery to ‘fix’ the upward slant of my eyes because some kids would make fun of me by pulling the corners of their eyes upwards. Now my eyes are my favorite features, but it took a long and painful journey for me to get here. Seeing Caucasian influencers and celebrities use makeup and cosmetic procedures to mimic our eyes is probably the worst form of cultural appropriation I've ever experienced. It's ironic that the same features Asians have been mocked for in the past century are now trending.”
And she’s not alone. Blepharoplasty, a procedure used to create double eyelids, is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in East Asian countries, as well as among Asian Americans. It was first popularized in the early 1950s as a way for Korean women to assimilate in the US. And that pressure has never really gone away. TV personality and news anchor Julie Chen, opened up on a 2013 episode of "The Talk" that she had the procedure done to get ahead in her career after a former boss had told her that "Asian eyes" made her look "disinterested" and "bored." In a statement put out by Dear Asian Youth, they called out the trend for “[completely invalidating] the decades of normalized racism against the Asian community”.
At Orcé, we are committed to using our platform to identify and deconstruct racism in all its forms. Even something as seemingly harmless as a makeup trend carries great meaning, and offers us a chance to raise awareness and educate those outside of the Asian community to do better.