If you’re on the makeup side of TikTok, there is no way you’ve missed the fox eye makeup challenge.
The technique, made famous by the likes of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, is a variant on the classic cat-eye and uses liner and shadow on the inner and outer corners of the eyes to create the illusion of a lifted, slanted and elongated eye shape. This is commonly combined with reshaping of the eyebrows (sometimes shaving the ends) to make them straighter and more upward angled. In showing off the technique, it is often photographed with models and influencers’ hands on their temples, pulling them to further lift and slant their eyes.
Since gaining traction on TikTok, the fox eye challenge has garnered almost 20 million hashtag views, however with this traction has come cultural appropriation backlash.
The major points of contention stem from the Asian-American community, speaking to their experiences being bullied for having slanted eyes growing up, to find that the Internet is now praising white females for imitating it.
One of the most popular anti-fox eye videos, created by user @seratonin.21 on TikTok sits at 266K likes and speaks to her experiences with racism in having an Asian background, growing up in a primarily white American town.
“As an Asian-American, this ain’t it,” she says. “Seeing this trend makes me feel like my whole world is crashing down on me, right now. I grew up in a predominantly all-white town, on a daily basis I was called Ling Ling, Ming Mai. Once I got to a certain age people were like ‘your eyes aren’t even that Asian’, and I was like ‘oh my god, thankyou’. It wasn’t until I really thought about it that I realised I was fucking brainwashed. I understand cat-eye eyeliner, I understand you think it’s pretty…but this ain’t it guys…”
Creator @edwardzo, similarly captioned a TikTok video “Ppl getting [love for] the exact thing minorities [are] made fun of [for] is [why] it *IS* that DeEP”
Edward Zo followed up by posting another video, showing the surgical procedures now available to imitate the makeup look permanently.
As expected, Twitter users have also been vocal in “cancelling” the trend, many citing similar bullying experiences to those on TikTok. Users have also been quick to point out the similarities in appropriating Asian culture, as is seen in Black culture, through the use of white females wearing cornrows and braids.
While there is no shortage of people defending the trend as “harmless” online, comments have overwhelmingly been in support of those who have been discriminated against in Western culture because of the shape of their eyes.
And that’s on de-normalising racism.