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Thank You Sephora for Pulling Kat Von D Lipstick with Offensive Name

SephoracroppedUpdate: Lipstickgate is now on People.com - please feel free to comment over there. As you can imagine, not everyone understands the problem with the lipstick name. Thanks. KS

Update: And Perez Hilton.

By Kim Stagliano

I want to publicly thank the people at Sephora for acting quickly and pulling a Kat Von D. lipstick whose name was offensive to many of us. 

Kat Von D. is an LA personality known for her extensive tattooing.  You can read her bio here. I can not read her bio there. I am 49 and the font is about size 2 on her site. The lipstick name was Celebutard, which is a real word and is a hybrid of celebrity and retard. Of course the retard part is intended to imply stupid, impaired, disabled.  It's a slur.  It's cousin is Debutard, sometimes used to describe/insult trust fund babies like Paris Hilton. 

I wrote a Huffington Post piece "Are You High on Tattoo Ink?" that caught some attention while expressing my dismay that Sephora hadn't realized how ugly this name was for a beauty product. Other people also wrote about the poorly named lipstick. 

Check out this Tweet exchange from Kat Von D. in which she missed the point of the critique.  The woman she was Tweeting with (I blocked her name for privacy)  and I had a nice exchange today - she realized why many advocates were offended and changed her mind. That's cool. We can all learn and grow. And I hope Miss Von D. also learns and grows from the experience.

Words hurt as much as tattoo needles. And the effects can be as permanent.

Kat Tweet



Sephora pulled the product from their shelves.   They reacted swiftly and, I think, appropriately.

My kids watch Christmas movies year round. One of their favorites is Santa Claus is Comin' To Town. I love the scene when Kris Kringle asks for help from the Winter Warlock, who is supposed to be the meanest, coldest dude in the forest. The Warlock tries to help Kris get the toys to the kids - but fears he has limited powers. After all, he only has a candle stick stub and a few pieces of magic corn.  But that corn makes reindeer fly (and that leads us to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which we also watch 12 months a year.)

I'm proud that I was able use my few pieces of magic corn, my really limited powers, to do something positive for a whole lot of people.

House of Cards 200 pixelsKim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her novel,  House of Cards; A All I Can Handle 50 pixel Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.

 

Comments

Leslie

Welcome to the land of the perpetually offended. Get a life and quit looking for things to get upset about.

nhokkanen

Thanks, Kim.

Anyone who's lucky enough to know people with intellectual disabilities knows not to stereotype them, but to appreciate their unique gifts. Many are capable of making astute observations, creating engaging humor, showing compassion, and so many other aspects that constitute a rich, full life. They all deserve our respect and kindness.

It's grossly unfair and cruel for the great unwashed commentariat to compare those innocent souls negatively to cookie-cutter painted-up celebrities who blather in monotone ad nauseam about their undeservedly over-privileged unexamined lives.

Twyla

Great work, Kim!!!

Twyla

Some commenters at People.com don't understand why the word "celebutard" is more offensive as a lipstick name than, for example "leotard". I tried to post a comment but so far it's not showing.

In case any readers here share this confusion (thought probably not):

This word incorporates the word "retard" which is often used in an offensive way, e.g. "You retard!" to call someone a totally worthless loser.

I don't think the adjective "mentally retarded" is generally considered to be offensive, when used appropriately rather than as a casual insult.

From the Urban Dictionary: "A famous stupid person... A mash-up of the words "celebrity" and "retarded," the word celebutard refers to any of a crop of famous people (mostly young, mostly filthy rich) who are unable to form complete sentences in a public setting. In fact, they probably couldn't even grasp the concept that "celebutard" is made up of two separate words."

Not an MD

It was a very smart decision by Sephora to pull the product. Who, in their right, non-sociopathic mind would purchase a lipstick named "Celebutard" much less smear it on their lips? What an unkind and idiotic name for a lipstick. Some people are just looking to cause a stir, and they don't have a sensitivity chip to guide them. (Perhaps microchipping has a place after all?--- Just kidding!)

Linda

Some people write autobiographical books while others write autobiographical lipstick names.

It is her right to paint herself that way, but like her other word choices, it is inappropriate for mass marketing.

(and I think "underage red" is also highly offensive - also autobiographical?)

SarahW

If she and Sephora are smart, they could turn this around. They could sell cosmetics with a percentage going to autism research. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Amazingly, some people are still in the dark about the extent of the autism crisis in the US and how many families are affected and why calling a product "celebutard" would hurt our families. I know I was unaware of autism crisis before my son was dxed.

Benedetta

Congrats Kim on your victory in this matter.

Some girls like the dumb blonde label -- as long as they are or think they are beautiful. So you are fighting more of that kind of way of thinking.

And lots of people gets a kick out of watching the reality shows of Paris Hilton, and Anne Nicole Smith. I do wonder if these women were/are not touched with unrecognized bipolar.

But
Some times there is are out right jokes in movies that really hurt.

When my son as a teenager was going through a really rough time with his health, he was in love with Hiliary Duff and had a huge posture of her hanging up in his room. He dragged me along to the movie "Agent Cody Banks"

Agent Cody Banks was a teenage CIA agent and was really cool -- except when he was around pretty girls, then he acted very strange, and couldn't put words together.

Hiliary Duff's famous funny line was: " Are you in special ed, or something?"

In which my son sitting in the movie house trying to enjoy, relax, and reduce myclonic jerks said quietly " Ouch".

There are those single words that hurt. Still these words might have a place in our society.
What would you call our most intelligent, educated people that works for the CDC, and the NIH for the last 30 years pushing vaccines while all the while huge numbers of parents are telling them something is very wrong. What do you call these guys at these federal agencies, when all the science coming it, and epidemics in autoimmune diseases are over the top, and yet they not only still pushing the vaccines-- hard; but increasing them -- all the while acting like they don't have a clue???

Well maybe that is just called Evil---as in they really are trying to reduce the population of people.

Michelle B

Nice work, Kim!

My opinion of Kat Von D is even lower than it was before, if that's possible...

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