White Paper- Swim1903


Working Hypothesis 1

The cosmetics industry creates unrealistic beauty standards and negative self image to then sell products to customers to make them believe that it’s is the only way they will feel good about themselves  

Working Hypothesis 2

The cosmetics industry as well as all brands have a responsibility to make sure they are not creating unrealistic beauty standards as well as making their consumers feel good about themselves the way they are

Purposeful Summaries 

The Most Famous Beauty Campaigns In History- https://www.bustle.com/p/the-9-most-famous-beauty-campaigns-in-history-will-probably-surprise-you-62818

To start out my research, I decided to look back into the history of cosmetic advertisements to see how exactly products that were not considered to be staple items in one’s beauty routine become everyday commonly used items. Deodorant for example was seen as a medical item back then that not many women felt they needed. All it took was one high school girl who decided to run a deodorant business that changed society’s mindset. She decided to target women where society found they cared about most, their love life. In her advertisement “Within the Curve of a Womens Arm” it shows a couple dancing in the moonlight about to kiss, as the woman raises her arm you can see how her underarms are sweaty and smell bad, the man then does not want to kiss her because of this and the moment is ruined. This instills the fear in women that if they smell bad,“​​you could offend other people through perspiration odor and not even know it yourself”. Once this advertisement hit the papers, sales for deodorant rose by 112% as now every woman did not want that to happen to them. The nail cosmetic market started in a similar fashion where the main idea of an advertisement for Curex was “Having buffed nails and smooth hands was a social marker of wealth and elegance, proving you couldn’t possibly have cracked skin because you didn’t partake in manual labor”. Many women wanted to seem like they were living a luxurious lifestyle so sales for Curex almost tripled. Both companies did what a lot of marketers for brands do today when introducing a new product or trying to sell a current product. They create a new insecurity for women to worry about themselves, and then create a solution that they just have to have to “fix” that insecurity. 

Beauty in Mind: The Effects of Physical Attractiveness on Psychological Well-Being and Distress-https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nancy-Etcoff/publication/278682311_Beauty_in_Mind_The_Effects_of_Physical_Attractiveness_on_Psychological_Well-Being_and_Distress/links/55b6068908aed621de030582/Beauty-in-Mind-The-Effects-of-Physical-Attractiveness-on-Psychological-Well-Being-and-Distress.pdf

Physical attractiveness directly and indirectly impacts psychological well being. Many studies done in the past conclude that those who are more attractive are competent, confident, and socially skilled. They are also more likely to be hired, promoted, and to earn higher salaries as well as win arguments and persuade others to change their opinions easier. In this specific study that observed brain activity in High school graduates all the way through their 60’s, concluded that “We find that greater facial attractiveness, lower BMI and greater height are associated with higher psychological well-being and lower depression”. Many would think that these statistics don’t necessarily matter to them and why bother even doing a study on something like this, but to cosmetic marketers this is valuable information. They can take the fact that those who are more attractive are happier, have social advantages, as well as conscious and unconscious positive expectations toward them, to sell products that can “change” you to become more attractive. For example, in the makeup world many people love mascara, when applied it enhances your eyelashes and makes them look longer and darker. There is nothing wrong with the way your eyelashes look and they don’t need to look this way, but when they do, you appear more attractive. Once you appear more attractive, even looking in the mirror boosts your mood, and to others you have these unconscious advantages. And who doesn’t want to be in a good mood because they like the way they look? Marketers take this to their advantage to try and not only sell them whatever product, but also sell the good feeling they get when using said product. 

Association Between the Use of Social Media and Photograph Editing Applications, Self-esteem, and Cosmetic Surgery Acceptance- https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/articlepdf/2736534/jamafacial_chen_2019_oi_190014.pdf

A population based survey was conducted online with about 252 participants to assess whether self-esteem and the use of social media and photo editing applications are associated with cosmetic surgery attitudes. The results concluded that those who are actively using social media where most of the photos are digitally enhanced such as instagram and snapchat have lower self esteem than those who use social media such as whats app and twitter. Those who do have lower self esteem tend to be the ones who are more likely to want to change their appearance. Snapchat has certain filters that smooth your skin and widen your eyes, and those who believe they look better this way, will often be disappointed with the way they really look. They’ll often purchase products that make them look the way those snapchat filters do. Even scrolling on instagram seeing an instagram model post a picture of themselves will make someone look at themselves and ask  “why don’t I look like that?”. Most of the time that picture is photoshopped in some way but the person viewing it still feels bad about themselves. Do you ever ask yourself why companies use photoshop to digitally enhance their advertisements when selling a product? It’s because one, they want to show that the product works better than it actually does, and two it wants to convey a message of beauty where the consumer thinks to themselves “I want to look like that”, so they purchase whatever product is being advertised to them. It is giving the customer a false sense of security that they will look exactly like the person in the advertisement 

Beauty Redefined: How Beautubers and Influencers Changed the Industry- https://www.hastac.org/blogs/meaganspeich/2020/03/05/beauty-redefined-how-beautubers-and-influencers-changed-industry

The internet and social media have changed the ways of advertising beauty products, many brands today still use the traditional way of advertising by using celebrity endorsements, to make consumers choose which makeup brand to buy from based on who they are a fan of. Celebrities now are seen as having an out of reach lifestyle, so as a way to connect with consumers more, a lot of brands now use influencers. Influencers are people who review makeup products and make videos about them on instagram, tik tok, or youtube. Brands will either pay these influencers or send them free products in exchange for a review, then the consumers will see that people “like us” are using and enjoying the product so they will want to buy them. The truth is, influencers can get paid up to $85,000 for a product review or instagram post that can sell their audience, which is majorly made up of young women, to buy products that make their lips bigger, lashes longer, or skin clearer. It is extremely hard to tell whether this is the case or if an influencer just likes the product, with many young women seeing this on their timeline that people “like them” need these products, so they feel like they do as well to feel and look as beautiful as they do. This results in many young women feeling the need to wear makeup to feel pretty and most times cant even leave the house without it on. By doing this influencers are creating a generation of young women who feel like the way they look isn’t enough and they need to buy products that make them look better. 

How do gender stereotypes solidify body image in social media advertisements- https://webofproceedings.org/proceedings_series/ESSP/EIEMSS%202021/ZZZZ_SC009.pdf

Since social media and advertising first became popular, they have promoted the image of a women’s “ideal” body type being young, thin, tall, and fair skinned. Social media as well as society popularized this body image as being the beauty standard and made women believe that their looks are the most important thing. Many brands have been criticized for selling this look to consumers and making them think that unless they look like that, they can’t be beautiful. The truth is, only a small percentage of the population actually looks like that, and for those who don’t, they believe that they are ugly. This causes those people to have a low body-image because they are comparing themselves to advertisements with touched up photos that just aren’t realistic. In turn people end up obsessing over their looks and constantly wondering if the way they look is enough. Many cosmetic advertisements promote products that can provide the customer with many benefits that can relieve their stress about their appearance. Many companies promote “anti-aging” products that promise women a younger look, as if aging is a bad thing and can make one look ugly. When women think that aging makes them ugly, and they already are obsessing over their appearance, it makes them even more inclined to purchase these products.

Topics for Smaller Papers

  • Definition/ classification argument
    • Companies deliberately making beauty standards
      • Companies tend to purposefully make consumers feel worse about themselves so they can sell them products that will make them feel better about themselves 
  • Cause/effect argument
    • The effects that photoshop can have on someone’s self esteem 
      • When one person looks at an advertisement and sees that person with flawless skin, they start to wonder if something is wrong with the way that they look
  • Rebuttal argument
    • Companies are only responsible for selling products to customers wants and needs
      • The way one feels about themselves is not the fault of the industry, it is in human nature to compare yourself to someone else and always criticize yourself. If a customer does not like that they have acne for example, a brand is just simply providing them with a solution

Current State of the Research Paper

As I have already finished my first draft of my white paper, I am feeling good about how it’s going so far. I feel confident that the resources I have gathered furthermore prove my argument about how the cosmetics industry makes people, especially women, insecure about themselves just so that they are able to sell them products. I feel like I might need a bit more research before I actually start writing my essay, but so far I have enough to start at least a first draft.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to White Paper- Swim1903

  1. davidbdale says:

    One REALLY GOOD feature of a topic as NARROW as How a Beauty Company Marketed the Unibrow is that, to cover it well, you need to touch on every aspect of the broad topic you’ve outlined in your White Paper so far BUT WITH A CLEAR FOCUS.

    Instead of observing in a general way that companies dictate what we consider beautiful from season to season, you point out that for three seasons we were told unibrows were deliriously sexy . . . until they weren’t. In other words, you don’t need new examples to illustrate every aspect of beauty marketing; instead, you THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE one example for the way it illustrates every aspect of beauty marketing.

    I hope that’s clear.

  2. swim1903 says:

    Thank you for the articles, I’ve browsed over them and they seem really helpful to my research! When you talk about narrowing in the broad topic such as the unibrow, do you meant that I need to take the example of what the beauty industry declares ugly, and break down just exactly how that one thing can lower one’s self esteem? Instead of using many examples? I agree that breaking down every aspect of one example will really help the reader understand just how even one thing that the beauty industry doesn’t consider perfect can break down someones self esteem. I am just confused on how more examples could hurt my argument considering that the more examples there are, the more the reader will see exactly what I am talking about.

  3. davidbdale says:

    I’m glad you finally asked for feedback on your White Paper, Swim. Now you can get an actual grade for it. Remember that the White Paper will be graded more than once during the semester, so continue to use it as a cumulative and developing resource. I like the way you’re using the WP as a place to draft actual text for your papers while you summarize. That’s exactly the way it should be used. Keep it up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s