Better Check Your 'Cultural Appropriation,' Ladies — Now EYE MAKEUP is 'Racist'

AP featured image
FILE – In this May 24, 2017, file photo, Fan Bingbing poses for photographers as she arrives for the screening of the film The Beguiled at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. Fan Bingbing, one of China’s best-known starlets and a rising Hollywood star, has well and truly fallen off the map amid vague allegations of tax shenanigans and possibly other infractions that have put her at odds with China’s Communist Party-appointed culture czars. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

First it was Aunt Jemima pancake mix. Then it was Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. Then, Uncle Ben’s rice, Eskimo Pies, and on and on.

Nearly three months after George Floyd’s death, hypersensitivity to any and all things deemed “racist” by those who are quick to deem things racist continues its out-of-control march towards… who knows?

One place it is headed is after “fox eye,” a current eye makeup trend that, according to Fox News, has been growing in popularity among celebrities and “makeup influencers” in recent weeks — including on the Trump administration’s not-too-favorite TikTok, where short videos on how to achieve the look abound.

In its step-by-step online tutorial, cosmetic giant Maybelline  calls the new look a “creative, multi-dimensional twist on the cat-eye.”

Kendall Jenner is among celebrities rocking the look.

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“Rinnie” tweeted that the look is a “huge problem” because it’s achieved by the same pose that’s used to “mock east-asian features.”

“to start off, what exactly is the foxeye trend? it’s a pose/makeup look that has been trending on various social media platforms. people pull at their temples to create a slanted eye look. this popularized “look” is the same pose that has been to used to mock east-asian features.”


Or as “Rinnie” described it in a second tweet, “one of the many forms of casual racism against asians.” Casual racism?

“Shania twink” took it a step further, saying the “fox eye trend is just white people colonizing Asian eyes that they made fun of us for.”

CNN weighed in on the “fox eye” trend on Tuesday, as well, in part by sharing comments from 17-year-old Sophie Wang, an Asian American who said she was called “Ching Chong Eyes” by classmates when she was in elementary school.

“It’s a new trend that brings out old stereotypes and old taunts,” Wang told CNN in a phone interview. “Because it makes people like me feel uncomfortable and (to) some degree annoyed; it’s time to talk about it.”


In a July op-ed in the student-run Stanford Daily titled “Unapologetic cultural appropriation: The fox-eye trend,” Wang wrote, in part:

The fox-eye stalks me these days. The algorithmic TikTok, Youtube and Instagram do fine jobs in pushing make-up tutorials with Caucasian models pulling their eyes back to make them appear slanted. I am more than just annoyed.

The eye-pulls trigger flashbacks to my experiences in elementary school when my peers would make so-called “exotic Ching Chong eyes,” pulling the outside corners of their eyes to mimic the size and shape of Asian eyes.

So committed were my peers that they even developed a whole ethnic subgroup taxonomy of eye-pulls: eyes pulled upward for Japanese, to the side for Chinese and downwards for Korean.

The fox-eye trend, where one applies make-up, pulls on their face or undergoes plastic surgery so the eyes and brows appear to slant upwards, is unapologetic cultural appropriation.

Caucasian women like actress Megan Fox and supermodel Bella Hadid are often credited for popularizing the trend.

Wang wrote that she once spoke up and told several classmates the gesture was racist, only to be shot down with “Jeez it’s just a joke, you can’t even take a joke?” From then on, she said, all she ever did was laugh “in defense.”

As I was writing this piece, I hopped on the Twitter machine to get an addition feel for the fox-eye phenomenon. Here are a few of the tweets that grabbed my attention.


Osa #blacklivesmatter said “Asian people have every right to be upset about the fox eye pose,” but suggested that black women have a gene which means “we can make children with any feature known to man” so “black people with this eye shape”should be treated differently before “getting angry.”


And this guy caught my attention — just because. Perhaps because he appears to be a fox who couldn’t care less about his eyes, let alone anyone else’s.

The bottom line:

Here’s the thing. Ridiculing the appearance of anyone is wrong. If it’s done based on one’s race, of course it’s racist.

Here’s the other thing: Is the fox-eye look “racist “— in and of itself? Or is the “controversy” not unlike those that led to the demise of Mrs. Butterworth and the Eskimo Pie? You make the call.


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