In a world of war, political turmoil, oppression and upheaval, one might question the relevance of nail art.
Covergirl begs to differ, as evidenced by their release of a cosmetic line based off of the violently dystopian society portrayed in Suzanne Collin’s bestselling Hunger Games Trilogy.
In honor of Catching Fire, the second movie installation of the trilogy released on November 22nd, the namesake of Covergirl’s makeup and cosmetic line is titled “Capitol Collection,” after the select upper class society that oppresses 12 other districts to the point of near starvation.
Under the control of The Capitol, the 12 other districts are forced to sacrifice their children as “Tributes” to fight to the death on national television. Of course, beforehand, the young Tributes are forced to participate in a disturbing pageant that requires them to parade around in fancy costumes, smile for the camera and act like they don’t face the risk of being mauled to death by their own peers or worse.
Nail art, to Tribute and protagonist Katniss Everdeen, might as well stand for everything wrong with the world.
The makeup and pageantry Tributes are forced to endure are emblematic their people’s oppression by the Capitol society.
It can be argued, in fact, that one of the main points of the Hunger Games Trilogy is to show how, from a pedestal, upper-society gets caught up in luxury and ultimately overlooks the less-privileged.
It’s ironic how Covergirl exemplifies similarly materialistic values of upper-class societies in an attempt to promote a series of books and movies that discourages shallow and classist thinking in society.
The official website for the “Capitol Collection” displays 12 district-inspired make-up looks including a coal mine inspired eyeshadow palette-
“Just like a coal mine, in amongst the coal is a bit of canary yellow,” reads a statement from Covergirl Capitol Makeup Artist Dotti on the official website.
That’s cute, Dotti, but let’s not forget that coal mining is an actual occupation renowned for its dangers. Just recently, three miners from West Virginia, Illinois and Wyoming died within three days due to the lack of safety inspections and enforcements during the government shutdown between October 1-17, according to the United Mine Workers union.
Sure, “Poverty Purple” eyeshadow and “Blood of Dying Children” blush probably aren’t going to appeal to the masses, but the whole point of the Hunger Games is to point out that the Capitol is trivializing very real issues, and invalidating them through materialism.
Not all of Catching Fire’s sponsors have been totally tactless, however.
Covergirl might want to take note of Subway, who is raising the issue of world hunger through their Catching Fire themed menu.
Subway’s campaign isn’t without fault. In fact, it’s still pretty insensitive.
A promotional video for the menu shows an obviously agonized Katniss with the voiceover: “Bold can be standing up for what you believe in. Bold can be testing your limits and defying all odds… And now… Bold can be found in Subway.”
Despite the implications, Subway is not the newest hangout for social justice activists. They obviously just want to sell their sandwiches.
However, there is some due credit. Subway teamed with Feeding America to create a three-step process to raise awareness for hunger-relief. The steps are as following on the official website: 1. Take a selfie with a life-sized cardboard cutout of a Tribute 2. Tweet the photo at Subway with the hashtag #SUBtractHunger 3. Subway will donate a meal to someone in need.
Although the awkwardly skin-deep online interactions can be viewed as an objectification of world hunger, they undeniably make charitable acts more accessible to society, especially the target audience of youth. Through this system, Subway’s goal is to give one million meals to families in need.
In fact, the campaign, which was originally planned to last the duration of November, is so successful that Subway is considering extending the campaign after their limited-time offer, according to Hollywood Reporter.
“People are reacting really well to them,” said Subway’s CMO Tony Pace to the Hollywood Reporter.
Money is, after all, money. We have sponsors like Covergirl and Subway to thank for the financial support of the Hunger Games Trilogy. It’s unrealistic to demand that corporate fat cats completely change their objectives, because without the huge profits they’re pulling in, why, they wouldn’t exist at all.
Maybe the company’s tactics are an indicator, evidence that perhaps the harshly dystopian society of Collins’ imagination is much closer to reality than we ever could have foreseen.