Kat Von D has heard the criticism about her unfortunately-named lipstick and she's written a lengthy response to any of you (and me) who might be haters. In a Facebook post written Wednesday, the reality star said her makeup isn't about sex.
Von D writes that it is never her intent to "inspire sexualization of any sort, let alone promote a destructive lifestyle," and while I agree that "Underage Red" may not be promoting a destructive lifestyle, I have a hard time believing that Kat Von D put it out without knowing the response it would garner. It's also important to note that her line of lipsticks includes a shade entitled "Lolita," which absolutely bears a sexual connotation (unless Von D just really likes the name and has never heard of the work of fiction that made it so popular, which is, frankly, a little hard to believe).
In her message, Von D says that actually she's the one who's offended by the accusations that "Underage Red" has anything to do with sex and is upset that critics would work to stifle her "integrity and creative freedom." She's not apologizing and she's not pulling the line, but she also doesn't seem to understand that anything she puts out into the world is open to judgment. Sure, her intent may not have been to "promote the degradation of women, statutory rape, sexual behavior, human trafficking, underage drinking, or even idealization of fleeting youth," but she doesn't really get a choice in how the line is perceived by customers.
Her full message includes an explanation of how she came up with the shade and what it means to her as well as a promise that the lipstick, which is currently sold out and not discontinued, will be back in stores as soon as possible for "her true fans." The full message is below. Make sure to read the comments for some very interesting interpretations of the first amendment which, I remind you, allows you to say what you want but doesn't guarantee that your opinion will be free from criticism.
I have never expected everyone to understand or see things the way that I do.
With that being said, I can understand why some have found reason to be offended in regards to my choice in naming a lipstick "Underage Red" - but I feel the need to correct those of you who have clearly misinterpreted the name itself, and the inspiration behind it.
I should mention first, that I am the sole creative force behind my brand. I am the one responsible for naming every single shade, so I don't see why anyone should aim any backlash towards such a great company like Sephora, who ultimately has no creative input on such matters. Although I do sell exclusively through them, my brand is it's own independent entity.
Now, 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.
I am fully aware of my overly expressive, poetic, and sentimental tendencies at times - especially when it comes to naming shades and collections in my makeup line. But for that, I will never apologize. Most names, whether inspired by my favourite bands, lyrics, personal muses and memories, are very close and dear to my heart.
Since day one, my number one goal when creating any beauty product was (and always will be) to provide the creative tools for self-expression and to empower those who choose to wear it.
It has NEVER been a goal of mine to inspire sexualization of any sort, let alone promote a destructive lifestyle.
Anyone who knows or follows me, is very aware of my personal lifestyle choices which include celibacy, sobriety, conscious living and [above feminism], human rights. Although, i would never force my views and opinions onto others, i most definitely find it offensive being accused of the opposite.
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.
Lastly, to my true fans and followers:
Thank you for your support, always. I ask that you don't engage in arguing with those who may not agree, or understand. The truth is, there ARE real existing problems in this world, and the last thing we need is to lose focus in pointless arguments.
I also ask that you please not worry! Yes, "Underage Red" is currently sold out (I believe due to all the long time fans of this shade assuming I might discontinue it.) But rest assured, it'll be back in stock as soon as possible for you.
Kat Von D
Image via Getty