"You're allowed to be humiliating, degrading and hurtful. I'm allowed to petition you to at least recognize what you say and be aware of the option you have to stop." Tim Shriver

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What is a Celebutard and Why Should You Care?

According to the description on Amazon.com of the 2009 book Celebutards by Andrea Peyser, a Celebutard is, "A compound of celebrity, debutante, and retard, this blunt term describes lazy and egotistical stars with too much money, fame, leisure time, and media attention, but too little common sense or knowledge, who love to spout off on topics about which they have zero expertise." 

On page two of her book, Peyser claims that the term is "not meant to denigrate those struggling either with youth or with genuine mental challenges." Right. She then goes on to explain that being a Celebutard is, "a choice, rather than an affliction." 

What do I think a Celebutard is? I think it is a synonym, just another version of Retard or Tard. 

Celebutard is just another way for people to call someone a retard, but in an updated version. Whatever the definition of it is, it's a slur. A disability slur. It's hate language. It reinforces the pop culture phenomenon that supports the use of the word retarded despite efforts by national organizations (Spread the Word to End the Word) and bloggers to try and end the use of the word retarded. 

Why should you care about this new version of retarded? You should care because the language we use as a society and the language we endorse as a society says that as a society we are willing to allow the bullying and making fun of individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

And I'm not just talking about individuals with Down syndrome or autism. I am also talking about individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, individuals with learning disabilities, individuals with Alzheimer's.  In what world is it acceptable to mock individuals who have an intellectual disability? Where does free speech cross the line into hate speech? 

Today there was a lot of activity in the world of activists and watchdogs in one of the groups I belong to that advocates for individuals with Down syndrome as well as other individuals with intellectual disabilities.

One of the members pointed out that Sephora was promoting a lipstick in the Kat Von D line that is called "Celebutard". 

Kat Von D - Painted Love Lipstick 

Painted Love Lipstick

ITEM # 1266501 SIZE 0.11 oz
COLOR Celebutard - nude peach beige

Okay- who else completely loves Sephora? Loves visiting, loves trying on new colors, loves buying just about anything from Sephora thanks to their super friendly return policy? I do! I have always loved make-up and I especially love the clean, beautiful shelves full of all shades of eye shadow, lipstick, lip gloss and every mascara option possible. It is a place of possibilities and fun. A place you go to purchase something you never truly "need" but always something you want for yourself or to give to make someone else's day.

Those of us who have a child who has Down syndrome or any intellectual disability already have to sit on pins and needles every time we go and see any movie for fear that there will be a joke mocking those with intellectual disabilities. This summer it was the movie, The Heat. Do we want to have to shelter our kids when we go to the mall to buy makeup as well? No!

Well, within hours, advocates had inundated Twitter and Sephora's Facebook in-box and page decrying their promotion of this offensively named lipstick.

Supposedly the shade has existed for almost five years, but was recently promoted by Sephora, which caused the outrage. 

By 8:00 am this morning, a friend and fellow parent and advocate had sent me this Huffington Post blog about the lipstick. By 8:34 am I sent a message on Facebook to Sephora saying that I find the product offensive and that I hoped they would stop promoting it and selling it.

At 8:24pm, Sephora had sent me this message: 

  • Sephora

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for messaging us. Yes that is correct, we are deeply sorry that the name of this lipstick has caused offense, and we will be ceasing the sale of this shade both in our stores and online.
    Best regards,
    Melissa Sephora Facebook Team

Sephora- I hope you are true to your word. As of right now, the shade is still active on Sephora.com, but I hope that by tomorrow, it is gone. I don't care if Kat Von D keeps the shade and changes the name-- that is exactly what I hope happens. 

I have over 500 Sephora bonus points that I am saving for something super awesome, but I was prepared to boycott your store, and I am really excited about not having to do that. If you are true to your word-- thank you for listening to our community.  Thank you for showing that you value what your consumers will and will not tolerate. 

Thank you for considering that perhaps the term Celebutard is the type of hate language you will not tolerate either. Thank you for sending a message that says you value humans more than you value hateful pop culture phrases.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I appreciate your advocacy. Congratulations on receiving a response from Sephora. Keep up the great work!


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