Saturday, 21 January 2012

Follow up to the last post

 I was just going to leave my last post as it was, just links and me saying 'this sucks' but I've been feeling all angry and need to rant!  To apologise for the upcoming drama llama below the cut, here's Justin Bieber made from meat:





1. Grey
For the people who were confused about Grey of legothique here is a good post from the Lime Crime Examiner Article (which is basically a forum about Lime Crime and other makeup shenanigans) that explains it well. I've paraphrased it a little to make it more factual and less emotional:

'Back in January of 2008 a member of Ravelry, a knitting community, username MommaMonkey (GiGi Silva), died of Lupus complications. The community mourned and was sad because she posted a lot of awesome knitting patterns, sent people gifts and even started a community of her own called Socktopia. Her husband, Nico, logged on to her profile and asked people to continue purchasing her knitting patterns - in exchange, he was going to donate all the profits to a Lupus research foundation.
Fast forward to a year later. It's January 2009 People were still suspicious about MommaMonkey's death. Especially because profiles were popping up on Ravelry that suspiciously had the same voice and overall writing tone of MommaMonkey. People were starting to accuse MommaMonkey of faking her death, and others were defending her. Someone put in MommaMonkey's email address in to twitter, which opened up a giant can of WTF. There was a twitter profile tweeting and posting pictures of tattoos that MommaMonkey had, using MommaMonkey's old email address, with the same basic info: Lives in San Diego, has a husband, 2 kids, proficient in handmade crafts. The knitting community exploded and drama ensued. 

People started posting blog entries about how MommaMonkey was this huge scam artist. Meanwhile Grey was watching from a safe distance, content that she had left that world behind and had enough money to start a new life as a Crafty Punk blogger with loyal following that was getting bigger every day. Some people even claimed she "honed" her new "Grey Persona" using a blog called Miss Cissy, until people realized that Miss Cissy was MommaMonkey and she proceeded to DELETEF*CKINGEVERYTHING.
Grey was basically safe as Grey, until someone stumbled on the MommaMonkey info. Maybe someone's curiosity finally got the best of them, because Grey was relatively secretive about how she looked and the pictures that she posted of herself. She used to post lip swatches on her lips, but stopped and then deleted the photos. She had pictures of her old tattoos on her twitpics account, but deleted those and then ultimately deleted her twitpics account' 

And it was found that the Legothique domain was owned by Gina/GiGi Silva.


I think it's obvious why people are upset here. Not only did it turn out that Grey was not who she claimed she was (or was a liar at least) but faking your death is a Goddamn shitty thing to do. And then adding to that she basically stole charity money. That's just evil.

I'm very lucky in that I've never lost anyone who was incredibly close to me (the only person I've known who died was my aunt, which was terribly sad but she had lived a long life and had been ill a long time so it wasn't surprising) but I've felt the heartbreak of grief when my pets have died. I can't imagine how awful it would be to find out a friend had died. Even if you've only known someone over the internet it doesn't make your friendship any less.

I was never super close to Grey, we chatted sometimes and I liked her and she was always very nice to me but I wouldn't have considered her a 'friend'. I'm lucky in this sense because it means I'm not hurt by her lies, I'm just furious! I also feel stupid and foolish because I had no clue. I even sent her a piece of jewellery from Callooh and Callay to review. So I'm angry that I trusted a fraud basically.

There's a chance it might not be true, and I hope that, somehow, is the case but I find it incredibly doubtful.I'm truly sorry to anyone who was close to her and considered her a friend and hope you're not finding this too upsetting and that anyone owed a refund for the Awesome indie box thing gets it promptly!

The links regarding Grey in my last post don't work anymore, if anyone knows some good links to replace them please leave them in a comment.

2. Lime Crime.
Cultural appropriation is too big and complicated an issue for me to really get into,  especially considering I am a white, middle class woman from a country that used to go around making empires.  
For instance, in my opinion anyway, there's a big difference in simply portraying someone of a different race and offensive cultural appropriation. I mean the difference between Laurence Olivier 'blacking up' to play Othello and a black and white minstrel show. While a white man playing a black character is certainly problematic I don't think it's the same as something as outwardly racist as the minstrels who nothing but a charicature of racist stereotypes.

Personally I know that I have probably been very racially insensitive in the past because I LOVE the makeup of geisha women so often use elements of it on myself. I have read up about geishas and the culture but am not super knowledgable. I guess the reason I think that this is ok is that to me I feel I am just replicating a makeup, not trying to look like or pretend to be part of the culture. (I'd love to know peoples feelings about this!)

And this is my problem with Lime Crimes photo. If it was just the photos of caucasian Hanna Beth in 'Oriental' garb I would see it as problematic but wouldn't think it was hideously offensive (Again this is my opinion only, I'm not saying anyone should necessarily agree with me. If you find a white person wearing inaccurate Asian style clothes and makeup offensive then that's perfectly valid too). Too me the horrible part is the stereotypes of Asian women that come through in the description:

'Don’t let her milky skin, pouty mouth and flushed cheeks fool you; underneath the poised fa├žade, there lies a heart of a tigress ...
Chinadoll is fragile and bold, soft-spoken and out-spoken, a free spirit of undeniable presence. I created a romantic duality by casting watercolor gradients against sharper lines -- Lotus Noir was applied under lower lashes, blended into Jade-o-Lade, then faded seamlessly into Parasol. Finally, I added soft-red accents to her cheeks, brows and around the temples for an innocent glow evocative of vintage Chinese advertising posters.' 

This description manages to invoke both the stereotypes of the demure, subservient, delicate Asian flower and the fierce, agressive Dragon Lady. Doe has claimed that this description is not offensive because (i'm paraphrasing) 'China Doll is not real, she is a fantasy' but the problem with that is that she's a fantasy born entirely from the Wests fetishized view of Asian women. The idea of this woman as the exotic bloom with skin smooth as porcelain, and a personality just as fragile but also a ferocious, domineering heart, not a real person with a personality but just an object to be admired.

I've seen people bizarrely try to argue that 'China Doll' doesn't have anything to do with Chinese women, it just refers to dolls made of china. But it's so obvious that the name is trying to be a pun, she's Chinese and a doll basically. (though I doubt that Lime Crime knew that 'China Doll' is a name given to the stereotype of the demure Asian woman. Well I certainly hope not!) . The whole collection is just chock full of Chinese imagery from the names of the colours (Parasol, Goldfish, Fly Dragon Fly, Lotus Noir and... uhh... 'Jade-O-Lade' -__-) down to the dragons that now grace the Lime Crime header.

Using stereotypical charicatures of a race that (I can only presume) you know little about yourself to sell eyeshadow just isn't cool.

"I'm very sorry to hear that some of you found the Chinadoll concept offensive. Chinadoll is inspired by a time and a place, and is not meant to depict any contemporary or even real person. My Chinadoll is strong but not afraid to cry, rebellious but in control, traditional and untamed all at once. She is a living contradiction and, above all, a *woman* -- she can never be, or will be stereotyped. I hope you guys can continue to support our independent brand, we truly do pour our hearts and souls into it. Thanks for your feedback!-Doe"

 It's great that China Doll can never be stereotyped, but ethnicities can be. And it's hurtful. Even positive stereotypes are hurtful because it brings the idea that different races/sexualities/genders (in this instance Chinese women) are a sort of homogenous society, they're all the same. And that leads to racism/sexism/homophobia because if you don't see a person as an individual, but as just a member of a group who all have the same traits, it lessens the idea that they are a real person and strengthens the idea that they are different from you and that in turn makes you think you can treat them differently.

If you're a company and do something that offends someone then APOLOGISE! And not some half-arsed 'I'm sorry you were offended' rubbish, apologise for being offensive! You might not have meant to be, there might be nothing you can do about it now but you can always just say you're sorry. Not 'I'm sorry to hear that you found it offensive' but 'I'm sorry'.

I know i linked to this in my last post but I think Mai's post put's it better than I ever could.

Gragh, why does there have to be so much nonsense in the makeup community?

22 comments:

  1. I don't think that people shouldn't be able to appreciate and enjoy another culture or one that's not their own. I think it'd be silly to say "You have to be ___ to participate in ___ or to enjoy ___" because perhaps some of the best admiration can come from outside one's own culture. My boyfriend is completely different from me, culturally and ethnically but I don't think that should prevent him from enjoying the things that I find culturally significant. We've gone to a Vietnamese New Year festival a few times over the last few years and I don't see anything wrong with that.

    There's a large difference in admiring a culture for its aesthetics and doing something inspired by it (what I consider your admiration of geisha makeup) while being culturally sensitive versus being inspired by something and doing it half assed.

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  2. There's a more informative post with photos now, regarding "Grey" in this blog:

    http://toxid-lotus.net/2012/01/20/what-happened-to-grey-indie-style-awesome-box/

    I guess I can't be hurt either, since she and I were never really close like she was with say, Phyrra and Ana. But I am upset and confused, I guess because she seemed to be legit. Especially, (and this is not your fault) since she seemed to have the backing of respectable bloggers like you and Ana and Phyrra. I bought makeup based on her suggestions, even. And the fact that she previously faked her death due to "Lupus complications" is making me seethe for personal reasons. As Hugh Laurie says on House, "IT'S NOT LUPUS. IT'S NEVER LUPUS."

    ---

    As for LC, it's really irritating how she and her white knights keep claiming not to be feeding in to stereotypes and simply embracing things that are pretty - when her website has chinese style dragons on it, she's feeding in to that "meek during the day but tigress in bed" Asian Girl Fetish mentality (which, ugh, as someone that's part Asian, I have had to deal with my entire life), and... ugh. Too much fuckery for one weekend, Lillian!

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  3. That quote about Grey is pretty mind blowing. I always found her really legit :/ Wow. Goes to show, huh? The power of the Internet (when misused). That is, assuming it's all true.

    While I only interacted a little with her via Twitter, I did enjoy her blog and her photographs.

    This comment is pretty incoherent, I'm a tad mindfucked right now. Sorry.

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  4. That's... gah, I'm furious (and past the 45 days so can't even get my $15 back, not that the money's really the key issue here) I really enjoyed her blog too! I sent her a really nice email about the Indie Style thing, apologising for being a pain because she implied on her blog that she had a lot on her plate, I feel like a total mug!

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  5. "Grey" is a jerk, I wonder which community she's going to scam next. Anyone past their time to file with PayPal should check with their banks regarding a charge back, file with http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx , and mail fraud https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/contactUs/filecomplaint.aspx .

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  6. I am hurt. I've sent Grey gifts, twice. Though I don't regret it, for I sent it for who I though she was, and who we think she was might just be a piece of who she actually is (though through a mist of lies), I'm hurt because I trusted her. She was not my friend, but I feel mad for those who were.

    I think I understand why I never got my IMS packaging now, and why she never replied my e-mails asking about it. She was always sick, so I thought she was just busy, I decided it was no big deal, that the package was lost, that something wrong happened. I still hope that's the true story...

    I'm shocked.

    A big part of me hopes that's not true. I recommended her blog for so many people....

    Whoever she truly is, I hope she is sorry. I really enjoyed her blog, but I can't see a reason to scam and lie... :/

    Gotta say, though... all this drama is one of the reasons I closed my blog. I was going to keep this to myself, but it is more than the college taking up my time... I'm pissed. :(

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  7. @Cacau - I miss your blog, lady.

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  8. What irked me about Doe's apology was..well, the whole thing. She basically says, "My character is a gigantic stereotype, here are examples of how stereotypical she is, but, ya know, she's not a stereotype."

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    Replies
    1. "I'm sorry you found this offensive, overly sensitive morons. Buy my stuff kthxbai"

      And people wonder why Lime Crime is still such a hot button issue ... well, Doe's still a skanky crook.

      Delete
  9. I'm really shocked. I don't know what to say. I thought Grey was legit, I mean, I'm sure we all did. Wow.

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  10. Cultural misappropriation aside, I'm really saddened to hear about Grey's disappearance and sneaky thievery. I didn't comment much or talk with her but I read her blog almost every day and I really looked up to her as a trustworthy blogger and style icon. I was always curious as to why some things just disappeared, comments on random posts were disabled, and 'projects' she said she had on the go never materialized. It also explains why she never posted LOTD or EOTD posts using her actual face.. or at least a face chart like some use.

    I hope everyone who got ripped off gets their money back. So many trusting readers and companies have been screwed over. It's very unlikely considering the circumstances but it would be refreshing if "Grey" came out to apologize and/or clear everything up... truthfully. Then again it's good to take everything you see on the internet with a grain of salt.

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  11. I love the makeup community, I love the products its helped me discover and its made me more confident to wear the looks I want to.

    But there are a few bad apples that seem to ruin it for everyone, its a real shame and I feel terribly for those who have lost money to Grey's box. 6 months can't seem to go by without some drama going on.

    I didn't know about Mamamonkey or any of the knitting issues but I really thought she was legit and enjoyed reading her blog.

    I hope everyone gets their money back.

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  12. I remember Doe writing something on her blog about how she had to overcome people assuming that because she was Russian she was a criminal and something about sexual attitudes to Russian brides .. she should understand it's pretty much the same thing.

    You don't have to be from a culture to enjoy it and celebrate it but dressing it up in offensive innuendo is obviously bad!

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  13. You sum everything up so very well. xo

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  14. Great post, and I enjoyed the link to Mai's post regarding how she felt about the LC collection. This kind of gives me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach though....in many of my goth club looks I involve elements that are geisha-inspired as I think these things are pretty (brodace fabrics, geisha-inspired makeup, kimonos, and geisha-inspired hair pieces). Is this offensive? I am kind of worried now. I never thought about things this way before.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know that it's offensive to be inspired by Asian fashion, etc. That's probably for somebody who knows more about it to take an opinion on. I will say though that when a business takes elements of a culture and then writes a bunch of stereotypes about these things it's wrong.
      Plus, if a non-Asian person say buys and wears a kimono, then somebody else doesn't like it and says so, I think it's the way the person who bought the kimono reacts that says the most about the situation. I think what Maya says is the way that I feel about it: "You don't have to be from a culture to enjoy it and celebrate it but dressing it up in offensive innuendo is obviously bad!"
      I just think the thing that you have to ask yourself is, are you over-writing Asian culture or experience by borrowing? I'm not really sure that is what is happening at goth clubs, but I'm absolutely sure that is what is happening when a makeup company uses a white model with an Asian fashion and then describes the character with every stereotype that oppresses Asian women.

      Delete
  15. You (and Mai) break it down so beautifully and well. And Doe is never going to admit she might possibly offend people, or rip them off, or, um, just off the top of my head, send them a dressed "hemmed" with duct tape. Just an example. ;) She's so heinous.

    And I agree with Tea 100%: too much fuckery for one weekend.

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  16. Whooh...I loved Grey's blog alot. She comes across as a nice and honest person in her writing. Aparently I was wrong about that.

    About the Lime Crime thing (and to be honest, the halloween campain..) I never really understand stuff like that. I really try to see the problem but I can not. Maybe it's because I am Dutch, and have an 'easy' background in a way. But everyone has to deal with steriotypes as long as they are not too negative is it really that bad? This campain, and often when people dress up like a geisha etc., is ment in a positive way.
    It's different when the steriotypes are very negative though.
    OPI had a Dutch colletion mentioning tulips and windmills, I've seen some stuff on tv about American people celebrating some festival as dressed as 'Dutch' people..and while stuff like this does not have all that much to do with out country, I think it's cute that people 'honnor' the culture, even if that culture only exists in their minds.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, the problem is that what a person intends and what somebody else experiences are two different things. I don't think any offense was meant, sure, but that's irrelevant. Cultures aren't playthings. So it's great when companies want to represent other cultures, but they should actually include people from those cultures. And how is it 'cute' to honor a stereotype of a culture? It's essentially misrepresenting the culture.
      Too, what is particularly offensive is her refusing to apologize for it! It isn't any kind of real apology to say "I'm sorry that you're offended" just like I'm not apologizing when I say I'm sorry she never learned to take constructive criticism. She's essentially blaming them for feeling offended when she caused it. She should take responsibility.
      I'm glad that you try to see the problem. It's a problem of privilege. White people in America have privilege that Asians do not. If you don't know what I'm talking about, try a google search on 'white privilege'. That concept really helped me understand what people were so upset about.
      In any case, I agree with Lillian: "Even positive stereotypes are hurtful because it brings the idea that different races/sexualities/genders (in this instance Chinese women) are a sort of homogenous society, they're all the same. And that leads to racism/sexism/homophobia because if you don't see a person as an individual, but as just a member of a group who all have the same traits, it lessens the idea that they are a real person and strengthens the idea that they are different from you and that in turn makes you think you can treat them differently." That is just really bad!

      Delete
    2. Thank you for clarifying it, I guess if she wanted to do something 'Asian' it would be better to look at flowers or colours used in patterns etc. I understand the point better now :)

      Delete
  17. Thank you for explaining the legothique scandal. I had stumbled upon the website and, while I am disheartened by the loss of interesting articles, I am glad because I have found your website to replace the other. And, well, yours looks really interesting...

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  18. Oh man. I was a fan of Grey's since the beginning. I used to check her blog everyday, I loved the content and I loved what seemed like brutal honesty. At one point, I was featured on her blog for my EOTD. She was someone who I really admired in terms of writing and blogging.

    It was around Christmas that she stopped posting, and I thought it was because she simply needed a break from the internet. Anyway, I didn't find out about this scandal until today, at school. My jaw dropped. It was such an elaborate scam! How could she come down on Xenis, when she was just as big of a fraud?

    Un-fucking-believable. This is just ridiculous.

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