By Tiffany Crawford
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the Ray Rice scandal, in which the former Baltimore Ravens runningback is caught on tape punching his then-fiancee Janay Rice – now wife – in the face, knocking her out and then dragging her limp body out of a casino elevator. He would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids at TMZ.
The assault has received plenty of reactions – from people accusing the National Football League (NFL) of trying to cover up the incident, to domestic abuse apologists victim-shaming Rice’s wife.
A new YouTube video popped up this week bafflingly (and almost unbelievably) titled, “Ray Rice inspired makeup tutorial.” But it’s not what you think.
Enter writer, comedian and Ryerson radio and television arts (RTA) grad Megan MacKay, whose YouTube videos form a satirical commentary on some of the biggest and most controversial stories in the news.
MacKay said the inspiration for the video came from the media’s coverage of the incident. In her view, she said, the coverage was inappropriate.
“The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we consistently belittle and condescend victims of abuse in high-profile cases,” she said. “I think that by doing that, we’re normalizing abuse for not just famous people, but for everybody.”
Calling out the NFL, Ray Rice and apologists all at once, MacKay tells us what products to put on and where to put them in order to look our best possible. She starts off by describing her foundation, a creamy shade called, “The NFL.”
“I really like this colour because it’ll cover up anything just to save face,” the 22-year-old says in the video, instructing us to get it into every nook and cranny so “nothing unsavoury leaks out.”
MacKay blends comedy with the harsh facts of the case in an eye-opening look at what isn’t happening – the disciplinary actions that are not being enforced, the blame that is not being laid and the responsibility that is not being taken.
She likens each of these to various forms of makeup. Foundation is the NFL, eyeshadow represents the maximum number of years served for felony assault in Maryland and eyeliner represents the victim-blaming that made its rounds in the days after the assault and continues to prevail in some circles.
The YouTuber said she’s received a bit of backlash for her video but tries to not listen to the commenters. She said she hopes that viewers start paying more attention to the way they treat people going through difficult situations like domestic abuse.
The tone of the video changes drastically with MacKay’s final makeup step: lips. Her message pops as much as her lipgloss does when she declares that we can do better.
“Remember, there’s always an alternative to covering up violence,” MacKay says on camera. “You don’t have to be like the NFL.”