The Uncomfortable Story of How a Tweet About Lipstick Became a Media Freakout

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Parker Molloy likes to take pictures of weird things in her off-hours. Sometimes she posts them on Twitter with short quips. And then one day, one of her least popular tweets turned into a shitstorm.


As Molloy explains in a hilarious and depressing article today on Medium, her tale is a perfect example of how the media drum up outrage over things that nobody is actually outraged about. While browsing for lipstick, Molloy came across this color:

So she posted a picture of it on Twitter, with a vaguely snarky comment. As she explains in her story, this comment was basically the equivalent of rolling her eyes. She wasn’t calling for a boycott. She wasn’t pissed. She just thought it was weird and kind of tacky. Big deal. None of her followers on Twitter thought it was a big deal either. She notes that responses to the tweet were minimal. The whole thing was basically the social media version of shopping with friends and sniggering over some of the dumb branding choices.

But then Business Insider picked up her tweet, claiming that the Underage Red color was causing “disgust.” Soon other outlets were covering it, and eventually Forbes called the situation one of “outrage.” Meanwhile, Molloy was getting angry tweets from people screaming at her for “overreacting” and being “angry” over something dumb.

The problem was that Molloy wasn’t angry. She thought it was dumb, too. Her tweet had been magnified from a harmless “I saw a weird product” picture to some kind of PC freakout–even the creator of the lipstick weighed in with a series of statements saying she wouldn’t apologize. Which, as Molloy points out, nobody actually asked for an apology.

Molloy’s article is a fantastic look at how a lot of what gets called “PC outrage” in the media actually isn’t.


Read the full story at Medium.

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Dr Emilio Lizardo

You know what really bugs me? I can’t tell the difference between “underage red” and the color on either side of it.