The beauty industry giant, Maybelline, is currently under fire due to its partnership with Ryan Vita, a male makeup artist. The controversy stemmed from a promotional video posted on the company’s Instagram account on July 12, in line with Amazon Prime Day. The video showcased Vita, who identifies as “she/he/they,” applying Maybelline’s “Super Stay” liquid lipstick in vibrant pink hues.
The clip was met with immediate backlash on social media platforms like Twitter, with a number of users demanding a boycott of the popular cosmetics brand, a subsidiary of the industry-leading L’Oreal. Critics argued that Maybelline should be marketing their products to women, who are traditionally their primary consumers.
One Twitter user stated, “Since @Maybelline went WOKE & hired a man to demonstrate a woman’s product, let’s boycott them, and they can sell their lipsticks to men! We are the ones who spend our money buying their products.” Another critic urged fellow users to “Boycott Maybelline, let’s put these sickos out of business.”
In contrast, there were also voices of support for Maybelline’s inclusive approach. One Twitter user retorted, “Conservative men calling to boycott Maybelline, like sir you’re not even the target audience. Anyway the lipgloss looks nice idc [I don’t care] if a man models it.”
This is not the first time Maybelline has faced criticism over their partnerships. Earlier this year, the company received backlash for collaborating with Dylan Mulvaney, a TikTok influencer who identifies as a trans woman. This partnership led to calls for a boycott, primarily from conservative figures.
Maybelline’s parent company, L’Oreal, has also been known to work with transgender women in the past. In 2017, they featured model Hari Nef in an ad campaign. However, these moves towards inclusivity in the beauty industry have not been without controversy.
The backlash against Maybelline mirrors a similar situation faced by Bud Light earlier this year. The beer brand collaborated with Dylan Mulvaney, sending her a customized can to celebrate her first year living as a woman. This move sparked outrage and led to a significant drop in domestic sales for Bud Light.
Despite the backlash, it is important to note that the beauty industry is evolving. Makeup is increasingly being seen as gender-neutral, with more men and women alike seeking services such as eyelash extensions and eyebrow threading. Scottsdale Arizona Lashes, for instance, sees clients across the gender spectrum.
Moreover, brands like Maybelline are not alone in their inclusive marketing strategies. Other companies like Target, Nike, Adidas, and Barstool Sports have also faced criticism for their LGBTQ+ marketing efforts.
These controversies come at a time when anti-transgender sentiment appears to be growing in the United States. Nevertheless, it seems clear that many brands are committed to promoting inclusivity and representation in their marketing strategies.
As consumers continue to navigate the evolving landscape of women’s beauty and makeup, it remains to be seen how companies like Maybelline will respond to such backlash. As of now, representatives of Maybelline have yet to comment on the issue.