By Stella Monica
On September 8, ColourPop Cosmetics, a popular makeup brand based in L.A., released their Harry Potter Collection. While this experience is interactive and fun, the campaign cannot escape association from author J.K. Rowling’s historically problematic beliefs.
The collection’s offers Customers can complete a quiz on the website, get sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses and purchase their fitting products. The collection includes one lip balm, lip gloss and liquid liner each for Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. Additionally, Harry Potter fans can grab one of three “Super Shock” highlighters and the ultimate Back to Hogwarts™ 24-shadow eye palette.
Fans of the brand and series alike were elated by the drop, but many others critique the brand’s willingness to associate with author J.K. Rowling.
Since 2019, Rowling has been exposed for her transphobic views, many labeling her as a T.E.R.F. (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). She often posts her controversial thoughts on Twitter, criticizing the phrase “people who menstruate,” misgendering trans people and spewing the importance of biological sex. She also has a slew of fat-phobic, racist and anti-Semitic sentiment expressed in her writing as well as her tweets.
Her controversial actions are a clear attempt at erasing the complexities of gender and sex, as well as disrespecting trans people and their identities.
So how does this relate to a makeup collection? To create a Harry Potter themed collection, ColourPop must purchase a license, meaning they are indirectly financing Rowling. Many fans of the cosmetic brand are boycotting the collection in solidarity with the trans community and in protest of Rowling’s beliefs. However, others claim that the world of Harry Potter has evolved to a level that transcends its creator because of the strong fan community.
The problem lies in the fact that Harry Potter is and always will be linked to Rowling. Fans may love the world she created, but they need to be aware of the harm she has caused in her anti-trans activism.
ColourPop responded to these comments saying that they released the collection due to “high demand” from supporters of the brand, and will always promote acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. However, they never explicitly addressed the harm they cause by supporting Rowling, except for a vague promise to continue supporting charities, presumably relating to queer causes.
ColourPop was one of my favorite makeup brands because of their frequent collaborations with creators, MUAs, and franchises I love. But I simply can’t get past their blatant support for transphobic, racist, anti-Semitic, and fatphobic people, especially those as famous and influential as Rowling who shaped our generation’s childhood. Personally, I will be taking my money elsewhere and look forward to supporting makeup brands whose actions align with the virtues they claim to believe in.
Photo by ColourPop Cosmetics