Rihanna’s FENTY Beauty line has noticeably taken the makeup world by storm. The line dropped last Friday and caught the attention of Instagrammers, YouTubers, and Rihanna fans alike. Rihanna boasts “Beauty For All,” and has done an amazing job of making the line inclusive, powerful, and diverse: one of the biggest reasons as to why the crooner’s line has almost sold out.
While the line is beautiful, one item in particular, the Killawatt “Trophy Wife” highlighter (as shown below), has raised some eyebrows here at EVVEMI and the people we serve. At EVVEMI, we’re all about embracing and honoring everyone – whether they’re gay, straight, trans, blonde, brunette or redhead. We believe EVERYONE is beautiful. The makeup line is supposed to be about diversity and inclusion, but is it really?
Why do we feel so strongly about this brand’s name? Our CEO founded this company on the foundation of driving empowerment and self-love through beauty. She understands the importance of feeling good and how that feeling impacts confidence. Calling any woman, especially the young girls who buy Rihanna’s makeup, a “trophy” is objectifying and demeaning. “We are not things – we are human beings, and we cannot let huge, influential people like Rihanna get away with such irresponsible behavior,” Maria Malavenda, CEO, EVVEMI.
I wish I could say that the decision to name this makeup “Trophy Wife” was a simple oversight, but the truth is that dozens of people had to approve this before it hit store shelves, and that is a serious problem. The fact that no one at Rihanna’s organization had the judgment to see this as demeaning and objectifying shows the company’s ignorance to the market it targets. The anger is not over just one makeup product, but the repeated (and minimized) sexism toward female consumers by big brands.
You may say to yourself, “It’s only makeup, what’s the big deal?”. I would respond by asking you to consider how strong and influential words can be (especially to young people), and the power they have to both help and hinder. This makeup hinders progress made by thousands of women. It says that, despite being ‘equal’ on paper, we are still viewed as ‘things’, and Rihanna should not be profiting from that.
The name is setting women back by centuries. The Killawatt highlighters were “born to reflect your every mood,” according to the description on the Fenty Beauty website, however, how does the name “Trophy Wife” reflect on our mood and who we are as women?
What is a Trophy?
In case anyone is unclear about what a trophy really is, a trophy is a prize awarded for a victory or success, often in a game or a contest. A trophy is a symbol that someone has conquered something. Most people are ecstatic when they receive one. Once the dust settles, however, and the excitement has worn away, trophies are often put on a shelf and ignored, gathering dust and eventually finding their way to the trash.
That’s what a trophy wife is. She is a thing that has been won: an object that is awarded to a man who has conquered. She is something that is dazzling and alluring to some men. She’s usually younger and more attractive than her male counterpart.
In reality there is so much more to this “thing”. First, this “thing” is a person and frankly not a “thing” at all. Likely, the woman is brilliant, with a passion for life. But when positioned as a “trophy wife”, she is seen as a conquest that can be flaunted to male companions. She is a prize to the man, only admired for her looks. Eventually, she will be ignored and thrown away, spending her days shopping alone and playing tennis. It’s sad.
No To The Trophy Wife!
EVVEMI stands for the empowerment of both women and men, and as a woman, I want to stand on my own. I don’t have the desire to rely on someone else to take care of me. I certainly wouldn’t want to be known by others as a trophy wife. The name is disgusting and atrocious. Rihanna may have created a gorgeous product, but the subliminal messaging behind the name is extremely damaging. Every time a woman swipes this highlighter on her cheek, she is advocating that she is indeed, a token. It’s bulls%#&. How is society so backwards that people believe that this is acceptable? In today’s world, many women are independent, intelligent, and authoritative. If you walk up to these women and utter the words “trophy wife,” you’ll see their noses crinkle and their smiles turn to scowls. Being identified as a trophy wife positions women as lacking control of their own fate. NO WOMAN FEELS SELF LOVE AND STRENGTH BY BEING CALLED A TROPHY WIFE.
As women, we have been trying to fight for equality and to move away from harassment and discrimination well before the 1920s. Women have fought to vote, to have a voice, to go into higher education, to earn an equal salary as their male counterparts, to demand the same respect, and yet, this “Trophy Wife” highlighter is setting us back. WOMEN ARE NOT TROPHIES TO BE WON BY MEN, but what Rihanna and her team has indicated is the desire for women to be just that. She is setting women up to be bullied, to be taken advantage of, and to be disrespected. Yes, Rihanna has created her own brand and has successfully launched and made money from it. She is making a name for herself, but why is she allowing other women to buy into the idea of being a trophy wife? Why is she okay that women are being put down?
I believe that women are beautiful and elusive. We are strong and powerful. Women are not limited to sitting at home “gathering dust” while their husbands “bring home the bread”. Women are meaningful contributors to family and society as a whole. As women, we don’t just sit and look pretty. We have brains and hence, knowledge is power. Women go out into the world each and every day, filled with vigor and motivation which should be respected.
“We love and respect all and will not stand for any person or company who objectifies, bullies or harasses any human being.” Maria Malavenda, CEO
If you have any opinions on FENTY or this post, whether you love or hate it, leave a comment below! We would love to hear your thoughts! While you’re here, please show some love to our newest fashion week piece!