Life is full of trends. Things that seem Vogue in the moment, and age either gracefully, or very badly.
Most trends I ignore with a derisive snort or an, “oooh, that’s not so bad.”
Unfortunately, the Fox Eye trend is one I loathe.
Growing up, my most predominant school memory is being bullied. Other kids pulling their eyes to mimic mine; while singing, “king kong chinaman” or “ching chang chong.” Comments asking if I knew Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee were also very frequent.
I don’t like delving into the past. I understand now that these were just kids; kids saying cruel things without even realising it. Or maybe they did and didn’t care.
But seeing the Fox Eye trend suddenly take my features; my eyes and the eyes of countless other Asian people who have endured a similar experience and make it “vogue” for a trend has enraged me.
My eyes are not a trend. And my ethnicity is not a sex category. How dare people think that they can cherry-pick the physical features of another group and label it fashion.
The fox eye trend is racist; no more than cultural appropriation of Asian features that have been mocked for as long as I can remember.
People have had surgery to fight their insecurity surrounding their features. Cosmetic surgery for double eyelids, face shaving and god knows what else people have considered. People thinking that by conforming to the main narrative of visual aesthetics, the bullying would stop.
Factor in lots of people feeling this way, bravely speaking out about their experiences of being bullied; only to be told we’re over-reacting. Our experiences, our hurt; feelings of shame and sadness trivialised to justify a trend.
I do not know how my kids will look. Will they have my eyes, or the rounder eyes of my partner? Most likely a chocolatey charcoal iris if our genetics are anything to go by.
Will my kids be subject to bullying? Will they come home ashamed of their eyes? And will they say they want to look different?
I hope not. I really hope that they don’t ever feel the way I did.
Only in the last few years have I come to love my eyes. The way they disappear when I smile a toothy, wide smile, that makes my cheeks rise in happiness. The way my pupils look charcoal black some days; their small, perfect shape, harmonious with my face. The small fine row of lashes that adorn my eyes.
I have accepted my eyes will always be tricky in a Eurocentric narrative. I’ve given up following white make-up looks, or hoping make up artists will know what to do with my face; my eyes not conforming to their norm. I’ve turned to Korean style make up as inspiration for how I apply my eye-shadow. This has been therapeutic; realising that my face is not unusual. My eyes are more common and just as beautiful as any other pair of eyes.
For those who think the Fox Eye trend is harmless, I am here to tell you it’s not. It’s extremely hurtful. I feel angry when I see it. Memories of being mocked flood to the surface and I see red.
If someone says that they are uncomfortable, please listen. Please respect them. Please trust that they have a reason for feeling how they do. That reason is far more complex and messier. A jagged wire they’ve learnt to smooth, but still stings from time.
I’m sure that people will continue to be creative. No doubt more trends will come and go. But my worry is that people jump on trends without wondering why they exist, or where they come from.
Who has been trampled on by the creation of this trend? What does the trend stand for?
Recently, a black and white image of a murdered Turkish woman launched the “Challenge Accepted” trend. People blithely joining in, not knowing the severity and sadness behind it.
So, for anyone thinking of jumping on the bandwagon, and following Fox Eye Trend, please stop and think.
Think of your little one coming home from school after being bullied, growing up, then witnessing their features being used for a trend. Imagine how they would feel. How would you feel?
If the answer is uncomfortable, angry or sad, think twice before you become a follower.
The fox eye “trend” is racist; it’s not a trend.