VIVA M•A•C: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of M•A•C Cosmetics

Front Cover
University of Toronto Press, Apr 18, 2019 - BUSINESS & ECONOMICS - 312 pages
"This is the first cultural history of the originally Canadian company MAC Cosmetics, charting the evolution of MAC's unusual corporate philanthropy around HIV/AIDS awareness. The book situates MAC's remarkable corporate philanthropy within three cultural and social phenomena of the 1980s and 1990s: the revitalization of the Toronto fashion industry, the evolution of the AIDS epidemic in North America, and the increasing commodification of social causes. Describing MAC's philanthropic work through its VIVA GLAM fundraising lipstick, this book delves into the history of its charity, the MAC AIDS Fund, which featured drag performer RuPaul and singer k.d. lang in its first advertising campaigns. MAC defied the stigma associated with AIDS that alarmed many other corporations, and instead engaged in AIDS advocacy while maintaining its creative and fashionable authority. Framed by Pierre Bourdieu's field theory and Judith Butler's gender theory, and engaging with archives, contemporaneous media communications, and interviews with key fashion figures, the book explains how MAC's activities around AIDS philanthropy were based in specific cultural practices, rather than being part of a strategic marketing plan. Ultimately, MAC's unusual style of corporate social responsibility originated and functioned within the same field of cultural production in which the AIDS crisis was directly experienced: fashion. As such, MAC's activities can be viewed as markedly different from other cases of corporate philanthropy or cause marketing."--

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Rise Up
The Rules of Makeup Art Cosmetics
Spaces of Original Possibilities
Creative Activism
Colour plates follow page 182
The Brightest Jewel in Our Crown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2019)

Andrea Benoit is the Academic Review Officer in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario.

Bibliographic information