Sephora, #celebutard and the Case for the CRPD

You probably already heard, but that bastion of glam fun, my ultimate wonderland of merriment, Sephora, released a lipstick by Kat Von D called, yep, you guessed it, “Celebutard”

celebutard

Oh, ha. Ha. haaaa. How funny, how ironic! How awfully clever, tongue-in-cheek!

Right.

Only it’s not and you, my trusty friend, knows it isn’t. Because it’s really like saying, “celebuspic” or “celebanig” -or even “celebakike” – I can’t give more examples because my knowledge of racial slurs is pretty slim.

But a slur is a slur and “celebutard” is a pretty big one. It’s most hurtful to those that have been called “retarded” as in a once-bona fide medical way – but which has been replaced by “Intellectual Disability”.

And this is the point in which I see things like “celebutard” floating around facebook and I just feel tired. I am tired of seeing this crap, I’m tired of feeling the need to stand on my little tiny pulpit and preach it. I’m tired of people saying this is okay, I’m tired of people saying that we are “too PC”, I’m tired of it all.

I’m just tired.

And through the outcry of “celebutard” rippling through the Down syndrome community, I can’t help but shake my head and wonder at the LACK of outcry and care about the Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities.

You know, thanks to a ton of misinformation about the CRPD, it was voted down last year for ratification. I cried when that happened. It was such a seeming no-brainer – OF COURSE WE NEED THIS RATIFIED!

It’s by the United Nations, JUDY HEUMANN is behind it. Last year I was banging my head against the desk so hard it was shaking because it’s incomprehensible to me that so many parents of kids with disabilities are AGAINST this when it makes no sense to be.

The only people that this will hurt if it is not ratified are people with disabilities.

That’s it. Just the very tribe that their children belong to, the tribe that we are fighting with all of our might to empower, to give the dignity they deserve by working to ban words like “retard”. Like “celebutard”.

But I don’t think it’s going to mean much to go to battle over words like “celebutard” if we are not willing to fight for even greater dignity, for the rights of people with disabilities as outlined by the ADA.

And that is found through ratification of the Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities.

More info:

Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

CRPD Action Center

PDF of the full Convention

United Nations Enable

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
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5 Comments

  • Meriah, thanks for promoting the CRPD–we really, really, really do need the community to rally and let their senators know they support ratification.

    I feel like I can go ahead and comment on Celebutard because DREDF has been working for the last three years for ratification. Anyhow, I rarely get involved in commenting on retail products or newspaper magazines because those forums just tend not to be very civil or productive. I should have followed my head and restrained myself from commenting on Amazon where there a few lingering tubes of Celebutard, but heck, sometimes we just jump in.

    Here’s the thread of my conversation (and I admit, I may have been a little over the top with my hate speech characterization, but perhaps not — if it had been racial, no one would question whether there was hate involved) and more evidence at how entrenched disability stereotypes are:

    ME: The producers of the product, the marketers, the retailers (including Amazon) — you’re all complicit in hate speech. It’s sad to know that none of you stopped to think about the impact that the name of this lipstick has on people. It’s an ugly word used by ugly people.

    L’tl Scout says:
    First of all this is not being sold through Amazon, it is being sold through a private seller using Amazon as a storefront. You could only be complicit with “hate” speech if that is what your intention was, I doubt very much when this was made that was the intention, there was no malice and I am sure they are regretful that is caused people to feel bad. That being said, Sephora has pulled the item, it is not being sold anymore, and once the re-sellers on Amazon and Ebay run out, that will be the end of it. If someone uses the word in full, against anyone with disabilities in anyway, then yes, it is ugly, but be real, that is not what happened here, it was poor judgement on the company part, but they didn’t mean any harm, and really that is what is important, do you not see that??? You should go after those who really mean to hurt and cause pain, this is not that fight!

    ME: It is being sold through Amazon even if it is a third party. If there was no intention to demean, why use the word. Yes, they’ve pulled the product and very quickly — but only after a negative public response. I credit them with a quick response — but it should never have happened. It shows deeply embedded prejudice and discrimination against people with disabilities. Do you not see that?

    In reply to your post on Nov 6, 2013 7:21:47 PM PST

    L’tl Scout says:
    No, I seriously do not see it that way at all. It was explained it was meant for people in the celebrity world who get there by not contributing anything. It was a poor choice of word and they have agreed it was and pulled the item. Maybe instead of flipping out, as I have read so many posts on here and Sephora facebook, people could have taken the time to explain why it is a negative/poor choice of word to use and why it is hurtful, some may not understand, but I am sure they would if it was further explained, I am positive they meant no harm and did not realize that it would be hurtful. This could have been a perfect opportunity to school people and a great teaching moment, but most just turned it ugly with unnecessary demands and silly comments that were not any better then the name of the lipstick in the first place. People usually do not mean to be insensitive it is how you inform them of it that really sticks, and I think this is being handled terrible, not by Sephora/Kat Von D/Amazon but by the people who are upset by it.

    • I’m shocked that this product name could make it through so many layers of professional people and still hit the shelves. I’m shocked that this product name could make it through so many layers of professional people that one must assume are HUMAN people in their time off and still hit the shelves. This is really the most poorly thought out of product names to ever have been conceived. Ever. I would have loved to have stumbled upon it while it sat on Sephora shelves as I would have had no issue embarrassing my kids with a full blown public tantrum thrown at the poor unsuspecting overly made-up sales men/woman working there. And I would have then taken it further on up the chain of command as far as it could go.
      As disturbing as anything else associated with this product name…I found L’tl Scout’s comment “It was explained it was meant for people in the celebrity world who get there by not contributing anything.” Wha???? So the “celebu” root of the word CLEARLY refers to the celebrity and the “tard” stem of the word then must refer to the lack of contribution to ANYTHING??? This infers that someone “retarded” has nothing to contribute to anything????????? Now, we don’t refer to people using the word “retarded” anymore so it again infers the group of people they are referring to are those with intellectual disabilities. Is that how they see anyone with an intellectual challenge/disability?-as non-contributors? To ANYTHING? Wow…this gal is not getting it on several levels. Is that how they ALL saw it sitting around their big meeting table? Sorry state of affairs for sure. What happened to focus groups-could there have been focus groups that applauded this product name? Yikes.

    • Oh. My. God.

      I cannot BELIEVE that.

      it was meant for people in the celebrity world who get there by not contributing anything

      Kudos to you, Susan, for holding L’tl Scout to task – thanks for sharing that.

      I was checking the site for the ratification information – when is the voting? Has it happened already?

      xo

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