beauty

'You might think the 'fox eye' look is just a beauty trend. This is why it's so triggering.'

We’ve seen a lot of viral trends and challenges grace the social media stage, but we must draw the line when it crosses over into cultural insensitivity and appropriation. 

The fox eye trend is one of the latest desired beauty looks, inspired by the likes of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, where individuals are seeking to adopt an eye shape different to their own. 

The finished look is slanted, almond-shaped eyes achieved through makeup, posing and for some, cosmetic work. Some individuals are even shaving off the tail end of their eyebrow to draw on a straighter brow in an attempt to make their eyes look more raised.

As it stands, the #foxeyes hashtag on Instagram has over 97,000 posts and the #foxeyechallenge on TikTok has amassed over 20 million views. YouTube houses endless fox eye makeup tutorials. 

Cosmetic clinics throughout Australia are promoting the “Fox Eye Thread Lift”, a non-surgical procedure where dissolvable threads are used to lift and elongate the eye while simultaneously lifting the brow tail. 

Watch: Try the smokey eye makeup trend instead. Here's how to do it. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia
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The trend has been widely criticised by Asians, particularly East and South East Asians, as it’s reminiscent of the ridicule, harassment, mocking and bullying that we’ve received for our eyes throughout our lives. 

To those who embrace the trend, it might be just a makeup look or pose. To us, it represents a history of racism.

Some individuals try to give off the illusion of a more “snatched” eye look by pulling the skin around their eyes towards their temples. This pose is a mirror-image of a racially charged gesture that many Asians know all too well.

It’s a gesture that many have done to make us feel othered - that we don’t belong, that we’re different. And it’s triggering and uncomfortable to see it translated into a beauty trend, to say the least.

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Seeing conversations on the fox eye trend unfold online was trying for me. I saw so many Asians speak up and painfully recount experiences with being tormented for their eyes, and non-Asians completely dismissing and silencing them.

Some of the responses I saw from non-Asians were: “Stop looking for reasons to be offended”, “We’re trying to normalise your eyes”, “Everyone is so sensitive these days”, “We’re not trying to offend you”, “There’s no need to look deep into it”, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard”, “You’re making something that’s not racist, racist”. 

The list goes on, and the gaslighting was very real.

I also saw a lot of arguments for reverse racism, stating that if we’re offended by this trend, Asians shouldn’t be allowed to dye their hair blonde, get double eyelid surgery, do the cut crease makeup look and buy double eyelid tape. 

To that, I say that we’re not trying to take something away from a group that has been oppressed, marginalised and disadvantaged for those traits. If anything, those are the beauty standards in the Western world that some Asians aspire to meet to be accepted and assimilate.

I recently started using my Instagram account as a way of calling out and privately messaging individuals, influencers and companies that are promoting the trend. This included one notable group of Australian influencers who had joined in on an IGTV video demonstrating the fox eye trend.

I’ve been continuing to raise awareness around this trend and racism against Asians, and it’s been very well-received by my online community.

At the end of the day, those who participate in it can wipe off the makeup and remove their fingers from pulling back their eyes and they don’t need to deal with the cultural baggage that comes from being Asian and having our eyes. It’s only a beauty look to them.

All we ask is that when we speak about our experiences with racism and share our stories about the insecurity and pain attached to our eyes, that you’ll be open to learning and unlearning. It’s far too easy to silence us, shut us down and dismiss where we stand. 

We want you to challenge yourself by simply just listening.

Alyssa Ho was born and raised in Melbourne, and her cultural background is Vietnamese. She started her Instagram page to share her writings on life and love. She also has two side passions and businesses - a women’s group called My Go To Gal where she hosts events for women to connect and make new gal pals, and Pretty Little Pink Book, an event styling, planning and management business.

Feature image: Instagram/@kendalljenner @bellahadid

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