I never watched Kat Von D’s tattoo-reality show but kept up with her in a gossip sense. She’s a serial dater of douchebags. She’s also a makeup junkie who created a line for Sephora. Kat is currently under fire for a lipstick shade, “Underage Red,” which she created seven years ago. The outrage isn’t new, but it’s notable that Kat has responded to the fresh rush of criticism. Kat posted a lengthy explanation to her Facebook page. As the sole creative force behind her makeup line, Kat “never expected people to understand” her thought process. Kat explains how people “misinterpreted” her inspiration. She’s not apologizing and won’t pull the shade.
For Kat, the Underage Red name evokes a “punk rock” nostalgia for her own teenage years of “female rebellion.” Kat understands why people are offended, but she’s also offended that people are offended. I’m not sure whether her explanation is helping or hurting. Some excerpts:
When naming a lipstick, my process may be different than other brand founders. For me, I can look at a shade and it usually evokes a feeling. Some names, of course, aren’t as sentimental and are more literal, but i remember clearly the day i named “Underage Red.”
“Underage Red” was one out of four lipstick shades that I released at the very start of the makeup line, seven years ago. It launched, alongside 3 other variation of red shades: “Hellbent,” “Misfit,” and “Lolita.” Out of those 4 shades, “Underage Red” was the matte, borderline-neon, fire-engine red.
I clearly remember wearing a variation of this shade when I was 16 years old. I also remember the feeling of wanting so badly to go see a specific concert at this age, and not being able to get in to the venue because I was underage. Back then, I was already deeply in love with punk rock music, and although in the eyes of many (including my parents), it may have been inappropriate for me to be wearing lipstick. But i did.
“Underage Red” is not a girly, pink shade. It is not a sophisticated, deep red either. It is an unapologetic, bold red. To me, “Underage Red” is feminine rebellion.
It has NEVER been a goal of mine to inspire sexualization of any sort, let alone promote a destructive lifestyle. These wild, and horrific accusations proclaiming that any aspect of my makeup line would ever promote the degradation of women, statutory rape, sexual behavior, human trafficking, underage drinking, or even idealization of fleeting youth, goes against everything I stand for. So, please excuse me if I find those articles and comments appalling and inaccurate.
If you read the word “underage” and you automatically jump to a disgusting conclusion, I ask you to perhaps question your own mind and thoughts. Consider the damage such negativity can actually cause, verses actually help.
So, NO. I refuse to sacrifice my integrity and creative freedom. NO. I will not be pulling “Underage Red” from my collection. And NO. This is not an apology.
[From Kat Von D on Facebook]
Kat finishes by saying that there are real problems in the world, so let’s stop wasting time with “pointless arguments.” Are you offended? I’m rolling my eyes but am not offended. Kat Von D is free to make money by selling an offensively labeled shade (or three) of lipstick. But we are free to call her out for capitalizing on said offensiveness.
Kat finishes by telling everyone that Underage Red is sold out (because long-time fans were worried and stocked up), but the shade shall return. I can’t work up any outrage here. Kat knew what she was doing when she named this shade. She can’t deny knowing the implications of the word “underage.” The word’s connotation can’t be nullified by nostalgia for teenage-concert days. Kat’s not stupid. She stuntqueened this shade name.
Photos courtesy of Kat Von D on Facebook/Sephora, Fame/Flynet & WENN