With the Trump Administration and states like Alabama and Georgia never not proposing rules that could signal the end of abortion access in America as we know it, it's more important now than ever to support the organizations that have made it their mission to stand in the Administration's way. Conveniently for those of us who believe in women's fundamental human rights and lipstick, two of the beauty world's most powerful brands have launched ongoing efforts to help Planned Parenthood, which has been specifically targeted by Republican lawmakers.
In March, MAC announced that it made a two-year, $500,000 commitment to help fund Planned Parenthood's Chat/Text program and new sexual-health chatbot, Roo, as part of its longstanding VIVA GLAM charity initiative. "We don’t see this as a politically-charged or risky donation," Nancy Mahon, the global executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund, tells Refinery29. "Access to healthcare and access to sexual health information is part of women's self-esteem, beauty, and ability to succeed in the world. At the end of the day, what we want to do is support women living their most joyous lives in the way they want to, whether that be wearing a fabulous eyeshadow, or being healthy."
Benefit also announced its support of Planned Parenthood in March, with the company's Bold is Beautiful Project ensuring that, every May, 100% of proceeds from its brow waxes are donated to various female-empowerment organizations. This year, that list includes Planned Parenthood, making Benefit the first beauty company to donate customer sales to support the organization. "The beauty industry is not just about makeup and beauty," Maggie Ford Danielson, a chief beauty ambassador at Benefit, tells Refinery29. "It is our responsibility to reach beyond the beauty counter. Last year, our U.S. team did a lot of looking around and it became clear that Planned Parenthood, which is the number-one provider of sexual wellness and education for girls in the U.S., was the next step for this initiative."
On May 1, Benefit also launched a special-edition magenta 3D BROWtones in custom rose-gold packaging, which will continue to live on shelves year-round with 100% of proceeds going toward Bold Is Beautiful. If you doubt for a second that a project like this really can end up being beneficial, know that, according to the brand, the project has raised more than $16 million since it launched in 2015, with a goal to raise $6 million worldwide this year.
In partnering with Planned Parenthood, Benefit and MAC have joined the growing numbers of brands that have looked at makeup as a way to support endangered women's-health organizations, much like Lipslut and The Lipstick Lobby. But it's not just about raising money for Planned Parenthood: The initiatives are also about helping erase some of the uneasy feelings still surrounding the organization. "The fact that they help one in five women in the United States shows you it doesn’t need to be something that people of ashamed of," Annie Ford Danielson, also a chief beauty ambassador at Benefit, says. "Especially in the beauty industry, which is about having your back no matter what you’re going through. We want to use our influence and reach to help these women and erase that stigma."
As Mahon says: "We’re a big, really successful cosmetic company, so we hope that the fact that we care about the issue will attract corporate donors to Planned Parenthood, and make it known that it’s not scary to do this."
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