Julia Fox recently received severe backlash online for allegedly making light of sexual assault. But her comment, it seems, came from a place of confusion. A TikTok user shared their experience with sexual assault online, referring to it as ‘mascara’. The Uncut Gems star commented on the video saying “Idk why but I don’t feel bad for u lol”. The screenshot went viral on Twitter, with many accusing her of condoning sexual assault.
Fox, however, had no idea that the word ‘mascara’ alluded to sexual assault. Others online admitted they were confused by the original video as well and that the mix-up was understandable. Apparently, people on TikTok have been using the word ‘mascara’ as a code to discuss their sexual relationships. In this case, it was an experience of someone violating the user’s consent.
She later deleted the comment and apologised to the user. She also posted her own TikTok video explaining the situation, and said, “I just want to apologise to everyone who has been a victim of you-know-what, and I’m really sorry. I’m really showing my age right now. But I was just not on that side of TikTok.”
Julia Fox has responded to what happened. I told y’all it was miscommunication. pic.twitter.com/OzPVWUCo5F
— JuliaFoxWhore (@JuliaFoxWhore) January 27, 2023
People are jumping to Fox’s defence and arguing that it is perfectly normal for her to be unaware of what mascara meant in that context. Some even pointed out that she is autistic, and may not always understand a reference so deeply rooted in TikTok-specific context.
A perfect example of an autistic person (Julia Fox) taking something literally and being painted as a villain for doing so. It was big of Ms Fox to apologise when it was the other person’s language usage that led to the confusion. But, us autists are always expected to apologise. https://t.co/lJ0lO5OxHz
— Callum Stephen (He/Him) (@AutisticCallum_) January 27, 2023
On Twitter, users have been replacing triggering words with different spellings or variations of them for years now – ‘unalive myself’ instead of ‘suicide’ for instance. This has brought forth the argument that she could have used context clues and comments to figure out what the user actually meant. It seems reasonable why someone would want to avoid terminology that disturbs them while sharing their stories online, even just casually, but the mascara trend has baffled many. The usage of the word does not seem to be limited to triggering conversations. It has become a euphemism for sharing any sexual experience, good, bad or ugly. Some believe such code words take away from the seriousness of discussions surrounding sexual assault and abuse.
Less about julia fox – do not know what her thinking was, but overall… i hate all this social media censorship and having to use code words to talk about heavy topics. Words have meanings for a reason and “mascara,” “grape,” “unalive” make discussions sound really unserious https://t.co/U6Tpqpankc
— mina le (@gremlita) January 26, 2023
On platforms like TikTok and Twitter, where new trends come and go each day, one cannot wholeheartedly fault Julia Fox for not keeping up. Sometimes, scrolling through content on social media can feel like having to decode a whole different language. Since her recent apology, however, the criticism has taken a backseat.