13 June 2012

Big, Bad Scary Evil - Urban Decay + China = ?

DISCLAIMER: I only feel comfortable expressing my opinion this way because currently I have very low readership, and those that do read my blog either find their way here through a search engine, or I know these people fairly well (or so I feel) and feel that these individuals are relatively open minded. Or you can just title this post, exposition from a snarky bitch who wants to offer alternative and snide explanations to a non-issue.  I freely admit to that.


Urban Decay is now selling their cosmetics in China.  Due to Chinese policy, the government may require animal testing on Urban Decay's products which the government will conduct independent of Urban Decay in order to sell their products.  Urban Decay is known in the US and in Europe as a cruelty free brand.

SOME People buy UD makeup because it's cruelty free, and they feel good about using products that aren't tested on animals.  Now, because of the desire of Urban Decay to sell their cosmetics in China and due to the will of the Chinese government and their regulations regarding consumer product safety, these cruelty free products may become decidedly unfriendly towards animals.  This has caused a myriad of reactions including but not limited to:

1) Indifference
2) Distraught
3) Anger
4) Pledging to never buy UD makeup sold in the US or Europe again (I will come back to this point later)
5) Pledging to never buy UD makeup and to throw out all of the currently owned UD cosmetics
6) Flurries of blog posts decrying, supporting, or maintaining carefully crafted neutral positions about the whole event
7) My blog post

The first three listed are emotional, and to be entirely truthful, my main reaction was Indifference.  I don't use cruelty free brands now and have no plans to make the jump.  Those that were distraught, I think were jumping the shark a bit.  It is makeup.  It's great that it engenders those reactions in you, and shows that you are passionate, but much like the individuals who were angry about this, it's not really doing anything for you.  Urban Decay is still going to sell products in China, and the Chinese government is still going to test products on animals, whether you are incredibly pissed off about it or not.  The press release confirms this.  Which leads me to my next paragraph.

The rest of the list is actions.  Specifically actions taken by people to whom the announcement engendered specific emotions, including, but not limited to, the ones I've listed.  Number 4 is great, if it will make you feel better about the situation by not supporting UD anymore, more power to you.  I am not going to be one of those people, because I like UD's products.  But a little something to bear in mind - UD, up until this point has never tested their products on animals in the US or Europe, and while they have certainly compromised their ethics, we know, up until now, that what is available for purchasing by us in stores has not been tested on animals. Number 5 is just wasteful.  Not only have you wasted your money, you're wasting things that other people don't have the privilege to experience.  At least swap it, or give it away to someone who will enjoy it.  To quote Marilyn Monroe, "Makeup is the best joy!" So please share the joy!

As for six, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  And I think its great this decision has sparked so much conversation in the beauty community and is bringing to light issues regarding the sale and purchasing of makeup that is exposing the underside of consumerism.  However, outside of the beauty community, how many people are going to know that UD is now selling in China?  And honestly, if you weren't plugged into the beauty pulse, would you even care?  Are people formulating opinions just to have them? Yes.  It's a hot button issue right now, it makes sense to provide commentary no matter how sincere or insincere or snarky (as is the case with this post) because those that are inclined to scour beauty blogs will read it.  Controversy and gossip drive us, and this issue is rife with both.


So, why am I writing this post?  Well, partly for the reasons listed in the second half of the above paragraph, and partly because I can't contain myself when presented with the opportunity to play the devils advocate.  Realistically, I don't have an opinion about UD beyond if their products work or not and do I like them or not and do I think it's worth it to purchase a product based on the performance of the cosmetic in various situations.  Ultimately, I think that most people have this opinion, but when a hot button issue comes along, people have knee jerk reactions to it and choose one extreme over the other.  My issue with the "UD is bad" opinion is that these opinions may be coming from people who use makeup from other companies that test on animals, like L'Oreal brands, for instance.  Which really is stupid.

To be quite honest, it is inevitable that you will use a product that has been tested on animals multiple times in your life.  Whether you consciously choose to, or not.  Most medications that are known and loved and used and sold go through extensive testing, usually on animals, before they even get to pre-clinical stages in the drug development and discovery process.  The use of animals as test vehicles is essential in toxicology, its how we determine if chemicals are bad for us and where that line falls between OK and Not so OK.  Now, I know that with cosmetics, short of being crushed to death by a Sephora display, most of us will never encounter anything remotely close to the required dose to be killed or incapacitated by any chemical used to manufacture cosmetics.  So, the rational conclusion is to say that it is unnecessary to test cosmetics on animals, and I quite agree.  But we don't get to make those decisions.  Now do we?


Whatever you like really.  I just wanted to add my two cents to the cauldron, and felt safe expressing it here on my blog.  Personally, I'm not surprised at this move from UD.  And I'm not upset or angry with them for it.  I am upset with people who would chuck their perfectly good makeup and not at least share it.  I'm annoyed with people who develop opinions without thinking about the issue and the relevancy of being annoyed with it.  I'm dismayed that ultimately, even though makeup culture is now driven by bloggers, this expansion into China will make money for UD and replace those once loyal customers who are now alienated by their decision.  Because I highly doubt people in China will have as much beef with the animal testing issue as we do, and sadly, we're replacable.

*dons flamesuit* Ok internetz... let me have it!

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