If I had taken mascots into consideration when I applied to colleges, I probably would’ve ruled out the school I ended up going to, Florida State University. Although its use of “Seminoles” is technically sanctioned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, I just feel like it’s very uncool to turn marginalized people into mascots, especially when it involves having white guys play the part of Chief Osceola with makeup-darkened skin, a black wig with feathers, and face paint applied to resemble traditional war paint.
And speaking of the insensitive misuse of war paint, I’m gonna go ahead and definitely rule out a new brand I learned of, not only because it calls itself War Paint, but also because it claims to be “makeup for men.”
War Paint came to a lot of people’s attention — mine included — after it posted a tweet on Wednesday, May 8, stating, “We couldn’t find a makeup brand formulated specifically for men’s skin; so we created one.” It’s accompanied by a video of a muscular, heavily tattooed model vaguely applying several of the brand’s products, which its website indicates include concealer, tinted moisturizer, foundation, powder, bronzer, and a couple of application tools.
What the website doesn’t indicate is why the brand founders went with the name War Paint. I’m guessing they probably just thought it sounded macho, a quality they might have misguidedly believed was required to make makeup appealing to men. And I’m also guessing that they’re ignorant of the expression’s etymology and didn’t consider that the term and concept of war paint have historically been associated almost exclusively with ancient Native Americans, because if they did consider that and decided to go with War Paint anyway, that just makes it even worse. (Has the term been used informally over the last few decades to describe makeup in general? Sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK.)