OpEd: Rihanna's Fenty Beauty - How Inclusive is it Really?

  image via @badgalriri

image via @badgalriri

     Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is a multifaceted line of makeup products that provides for and tailors to the diverse women of America. However, treading on the tightrope known as inclusivity can often lead to more harm than good being done. So in the chorus of cheers and hurrahs for a popular celebrity’s latest attempt at accessibility, it is critical to ask: How inclusive is the line really?

     Available in forty unique shades, the Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation provides full coverage and as is stated in its title, long wear. The foundation is split up into four distinct categories: light, medium, tan, and dark. However, what has been hailed is its most groundbreaking achievement is its spectrum of darker colors. Complaints have long been noted by women of color at the lack of diversity in foundation tones, and while the complaints were heard and validated, little had been done until now to fully account for inclusivity.

     Launched in fall 2017, the line set out to fulfill the mission of addressing these concerns. Providing thirty unique contouring sticks and a price range that allowed for more women to enter the market, Fenty Beauty began as a campaign of unique, authentic models that hoped to represent the forgotten women—women excluded from the traditional makeup market.

     The contouring sticks, which appear in twenty matte shades and ten glossy shimmer shades, provide full wear as well and an ideal highlight. Ranging anywhere from $20-50, Fenty Beauty accounts for foundation shades, highlighter, makeup brushes, eyeliner, and much more! While it may seem like a hindrance to find the perfect shade for yourself amidst the many options, there is a personal touch that cannot be ignored when purchasing makeup.

     In response to a fan’s comment about one particular excluded identity—trans women—Rihanna responded with a staunch refusal to only cast certain identities as tokens, as some companies have done. In an intimate direct message on Instagram, she claimed, “I don't think it's fair that a trans woman, or man, be used as a convenient marketing tool!” Not only serving as an esteemed musician and brand ambassador, Fenty can surely add customer service representative to her résumé.

     In a time of social media and accessible mediums of critiquing, Rihanna handles the comments with an air of responsibility to her fans. Actively engaged with her supporters and her critics, she has fully immersed herself in the mission statement of her brand, and it is evident to all that this is not a strictly capitalist-based mission. Consumerism cannot be denied, but Fenty fans are pulled by quality and substance, in addition to a notable name.

     All in all, even the toughest critics cannot deny the influence and inclusivity of the Fenty Beauty line. Coupled with the near-universal praise from fans and supporters, Fenty Beauty is unrivaled in its field. With a few teases about an upcoming lipstick line, Rihanna can safely claim her title as a renowned makeup connoisseur. Cost effective, inclusive, and highly praised, Fenty Beauty is a force to be reckoned with and will arguably continue its uphill climb.


Works Cited/Consulted

Lang, Cady. “Rihanna's New Makeup Line 'Fenty Beauty' Is a Celebration of Diversity.” TIME, 5 September 2017, http://time.com/4927962/rihanna-fenty-beauty-makeup-line/. Accessed 12 December 2017.

Muller, Marissa G. “How Rihanna's Fenty Beauty Is Ushering in a New Era of Inclusivity in the Beauty Industry.” W, 19 September 2017, https://www.wmagazine.com/story/how-rihanna-fenty-beauty-changing-beauty-industry. Accessed 12 December 2017.

Nussbaum, Rachel. “Rihanna Refuses to Use Trans Models as ‘Convenient Marketing Tools’ for Fenty Beauty.” GLAMOUR, 30 November 2017, https://www.glamour.com/story/rihanna-fenty-beauty-trans-women. Accessed 12 December 2017.