Can someone please explain Biden Beauty to me?
I need to know that it’s not just another harbinger of our rapidly decaying democracy.
Another day, another embarrassing attempt to engage youth voters. We’re barely into October, but already in the US Election cycle we’ve had to endure digital lawn signs follow us into our Animal Crossing islands, Democrat-inspired
wavey garms invade our IG feeds, and now there’s Biden Beauty.
And it’s exactly what it says on the tin. The beauty brand, launched by anonymous industry players (mysterious!), boasts a minimal, Glossier-esque range of products including stickers, pins, and tote bags, as well as the “BIDEN Beauty Hoodie” -- clearly designed with Timothée Chalamet’s sartorial tastes in mind -- and the “BIDEN Beat Makeup Sponge”, which an anonymous spokesperson for the brand describes as a “delicious blue gnocchi”. I mean, if you say so.
Although 100 per cent of the brand’s proceeds go to the DNC, the enterprise is decidedly not an official part of the Biden/Harris campaign, though both entities have approved of its existence."Biden Beauty's aim is to spread awareness and enthusiasm to get all Americans to the polls and to vote Blue," announced the brand in a recent press release. "Let's cancel out orange for good, the only way beauty knows how -- with color-correcting blue."
To the brand’s credit, Biden Beauty does seem to quite accurately represent the lacklustre political platform of the Democratic nominee: really just doubling down on the fact that he’s not Trump. Progressives have already resigned themselves to the fact that Biden is our only political option within the current system, so the ongoing existence of zillennial-targeted initiatives like Biden Beauty begs the question, who exactly is getting won over by this stuff?
Gimmicks to drum up the youth vote in 2020, says Meghan Gunn for GEN Mag, read as something of an insult to the intelligence of the demographic. The writer admits that she has, at various points in her political life, “played into the ploys”. But not this time around. “This was before 200,000 people died from a pandemic, before I feared for my parents’ health every day, lost both my jobs, and realized I’m inheriting a crusty, trashed Earth.”
“Now the gimmicks aren’t cute or funny,” she continues, “they’re tone-deaf. Youth pandering becomes a big old ‘fuck you’ when the past year has devastated every facet of our existence.”
And, it’s true, when you have the country’s youngest generations pleading for universally accessible healthcare (in the midst of a viral pandemic), an end to racist policing (while police violence against Black people is worsening) actual job security (at a time of mass unemployment) and debt-forgiveness (on the brink of a devastating economic recession), throwing a few makeup sponges our way in lieu of a path to safer, more liveable country, really is the epitome of tone-deaf. Go girl, give us nothing!
Quirky merch simply can’t distract from what is a truly uninspiring political platform, and if you’re actually invested in bettering the lives of young people who are struggling at the moment, it’s clear to anyone with the semblance of a political consciousness that their money is better spent on mutual aid groups, community organising, and local advocacy.
Yes, you should vote in this election -- if you are physically and legally able, which are a few of the suppressive factors that the VOTE BLUE crowd often take for granted -- but don’t shame anyone for not doing it with a smile. After all, our best hope is the so-called ‘unity’ candidate who diplomatically suggested that police officers learn to shoot armed civilians “in the leg instead of the heart”. God help us all.
- joe biden