Two Minutes Hate – Hunger Games Nail Polish (???)

Dear China Glaze Marketing Dept,

I understand that with no real point of difference to your product, you need to find ways to differentiate yourselves from the million other companies out there who make young women feel insecure about the way they look Make With The Pretty. And tying in with a movie franchise, yeah, I can see a strategy like that selling some weight for you. But that sound you heard when the world awoke yesterday to news of your official Hunger Games nail polish? It was the sound of a million eyebrows racing each other towards their owner’s hairlines. The thunder of a million jaws dropping. The mingled harmonics of million simultaneous “WTF’s”.

First up – you called your collection ‘Colors from the Capitol’. I understand you probably haven’t read the books and all, but in the HG paradigm, the people who live in the Capitol are the FUCKING BAD GUYS. A morally bankrupt, decadent elite so numbed to the suffering of their fellows they consider it entertaining to drop 24 kids into an arena and watch them slaughter each other on live TV. This is akin to launching a range of Wehrmacht-inspired apparel to coincide with the release of Schindler’s List. What. The. Fuck.

Second – the scenes in Capitol where Katniss is being glammed up for the sake of the drooly-faced audience? It’s a figurative and literal exercise in objectification. Katniss isn’t made to look fierce. She isn’t made to look competent. She’s made to look pretty. It’s a damning indictment from the author about class and gender stereotypes, and it’s meant to make us feel bad that Katniss is reduced to a sparkly meat-puppet for the sake of winning a chance at sponsors (and therefore, increasing her chances of survival).

Anyone who’s read the books knows this. Anyone who hasn’t read the books and buys your pretty finger paint and then reads the books will feel like a sucker. You want to do some good? Release an official Hunger Games bow and arrow set, and hold classes about how girls don’t need to paint their fingers pretty to be taken seriously.

I know you need to make money and shit, but for the love of god, you folks could Miss The Point for your country at an Olympic fucking level.

STOP IT.

The Two Minutes Hate is a semi-regular feature on this blog, where I basically rant like a pantsless hobo about something that irks me mightily. Previous outbursts can be found by selecting ‘Two Minutes Hate’ in the Select Category drop down menu in the right hand column.

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About Misterkristoff

New York Times and Internationally Bestselling SciFi/Fantasy author, and master of drunken karaoke-fu. View all posts by Misterkristoff

12 responses to “Two Minutes Hate – Hunger Games Nail Polish (???)

  • Damien Kelly

    Dear god I hope you weaponised this post.

  • Heather Hawke

    Oh yes. I had a major WTF moment when I heard. It’s not even like the polish would impart a badgirl catwoman type aura – the Capitol people are pathetic.

    • Misterkristoff

      Indeed! I guarantee not one of the geniuses working in the marketing dept at China Glaze has read the HG books. They hear buzz about a new ‘girl movie’, think ‘hey wow, WE sell products to girls!’ and the wheels start spinning.

      Morons, the lot of ’em. Vote with your dollars.

  • Roni

    I wish I had time enough to read for pleasure so I could be more outraged.

    In other news, two days ago I said to myself, “I have the world’s worst fingernails and no practical reason to draw attention to my less-than-spectacular hands, but Dammit, it’s Christmas. Imma paint my nails Christmassy colours.” And now I feel bad. 😦

  • Manon Eileen

    I hadn’t seen it before your post but this is ridiculous. Also, they clearly haven’t read the books because all Capitol people were very BRIGHTLY COLORED in EVERY WAY. So no “foie gras” or “mahogany magic” nail polish colors, but “searing red” and “so blue it makes your head hurt”. I’d expected neon colors at the very least.

    I love the Hunger Games and I love that there’s a movie coming up (can’t wait to see it), but this is a joke. Just really very stupid.

    • Misterkristoff

      The original versions of the colors were Katniss themed, with a couple of secondary characters like Cinna thrown in for good measure. I guess maybe they realized that was even dumber than the current idea of Bad Guy themed colors.

      But yeah. Stupidity at its finest.

  • Petra @ Safari Poet

    Love the way you put it and agree with everything you said. I understand they want to make money, but they’re taking it too far and completely missing the point, which you’ve kindly pointed out 🙂

    • Misterkristoff

      Thanks! I have faith the movie-makers will do the story justice. The license is up for grabs to any merch-maker with the coin to buy it, so I don’t think this is any reflection on how the film will be.

      I really do hope they get that scene right, though. To me, act 1 of HG is by far the most powerful. Collins says so much about the Capitol without overtly saying it – film’s a different medium of course, but yeah, fingers crossed they do it justice.

  • Vicky

    I’ve read the books and completely understand the moral themes of it, however I don’t see what’s so wrong about releasing a range of nail polishes that are capitol themed. No one’s going to debate about whether to buy the nail polish or not because it’s wrong. It’s not. The nail polishes are a good idea as China Glaze are a business and businesses do what needs to be done to make money, and these nail polishes will make money.

    • Misterkristoff

      Well sure, if ‘making money’ is the only criteria for a good business idea, its a good idea. But then cutting worker’s wages is a good idea. Outsourcing labor to a third world country is a good idea. Making money isn’t the only factor in any business decision, unfortunately. if it were, we’d all be assassinating our bosses in the hopes of getting a promotion.

      This is a nail polish themed about the BAD GUYS. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the source material. Why would you want to dress up like the evil, disaffected, morally bankrupt members of the Capitol? Why would you want to emulate a populace so numbed to the sufferings of others that they annually drop 24 kids into an arena to commit slaughter on each other for your own amusement? Why would you want to look like them?

      “No one’s going to debate about whether to buy the nail polish or not because it’s wrong.”

      Erm, isn’t that what we’re doing right now?

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