The idea of whether or not something is beautiful is constantly changing overtime depending on the view of society. Body size or shape, physical appearance, ethnicity, height, hair color, as well as attitudes and behaviors to what is considered beautiful can contribute to society’s beauty standard. The beauty standard is made up of a bunch of marketers whose job it is to create trends to get people to dedicate their time and money to achieve one main goal; being beautiful. Cosmetic brands specifically target and pressure females of all ages, to achieve this standard of beauty given that the way their self esteem, or the way they view and value themselves, is influenced a lot more by outside factors than men’s self esteem tends to be.
According to Beauty in Mind: The Effects of Physical Attractiveness on Psychological Well-Being and Distress, which was a study conducted by psychologists Nabanita Datta Gupta, Nancy L. Etcoff , and Mads M. Jaeger proves how physical attractiveness directly and indirectly impacts an individual’s self-esteem and mental health. “We find that greater facial attractiveness, lower BMI and greater height are associated with higher psychological well-being and lower depression”. The state of someone’s mental health, which is connected with one’s self esteem relating to how one person feels about themselves and how they are able to cope with it, is directly coordinated with how they appear to themselves and others. The study found that what has been promoted by the beauty industry to be the beauty standard such as attractive facial features, low BMI (Body Mass Index), and taller height, are the same people who have less negative emotions toward themselves and lower stress levels. Another finding that the study concluded is that those who are considered to be more attractive, are the same ones who get special privileges such as being more likely to be hired, promoted, and to earn higher salaries as well as win arguments and persuade others to change their opinions easier.
Now, all of this may not matter to the average person, but to marketers of cosmetic products this information is extremely valuable considering that a lot of our buying decisions are made through our subconscious. If people who are physically attractive automatically have higher self esteem without even realizing it, then marketers want to create something for people to achieve this greater feeling so they keep coming back for more, which in turn creates a profit for the business. The average person does not automatically look in the mirror and think that there is something wrong with the way they look, this behavior is learned. For example, in the article titled “The Most Famous Beauty Campaigns in History”which goes over how some of the most successful advertisements for cosmetics came to be, and the psychology about why they were so successful. For example, Deodorant 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 created an advertisement that sold the idea that every woman smelled bad whether they realized it or not, and if they smell bad then it could ruin their chances with the man of their dreams.
After the advertisement hit the papers, women everywhere had a new insecurity that they had to worry about, and the “only solution” was to buy the deodorant that they were selling. Now, we all know that deodorant is not technically a need for survival, and if someone has a slight odor it is not the end of the world, but once women saw that the way they smell can affect how others view them, it severely impacts the way they view how much they smell themselves. The advertisement put this anxiety inside of their heads which is why sales for that company’s deodorant increased by 112%, because they believed that it was the only way they could become beautiful to others.
For this exact reason is why beauty companies use photoshop, which is digital altering a photo to make the person appear more attractive in their advertisements. Most of the time they rid the model of any skin texture, as well as enlarging and shrinking other features, they have a look that is unrealistic for the average person, and that can only be achieved with photoshop. The reason companies do this is because number one, they want their products to appear like it works better than it does, and number two because a person will see how a model looks in an advertisement and then, without realizing, automatically compare the way they look with how the model looks. Once they start comparing how they look with how the model looks, their self esteem starts to lower and the need for the product starts to grow.
Companies have started to take notice of this and begin to create insecurities out of a normal part of life, such as acne for example. Acne is caused from clogged pores in the skin and appear as red bumps on the face. Starting at a young age, almost everyone gets acne especially as they are going through puberty, so why is everyone embarrassed when they get a pimple? The simple answer is because society and beauty companies tell them that acne is ugly and something to be ashamed of. When looking at all the types of skincare products, there are millions of products that are catered to “fixing” acne as well as every single model, influencer, and celebrities, the main people who are considered beautiful, all have acne-free skin. As a teenage girl going through puberty herself with extreme acne prone skin seeing the people who are considered beautiful not having any acne, as well as the thousands of commercials on tv promoting products to get rid of acne, it is extremely damaging to that girl’s self-esteem because she feels that having acne makes her ugly. Overall, brands should start to be more inclusive and promote that the image of beauty is the way that you naturally look
Beauty in Mind: The Effects of Physical Attractiveness on … 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
Komar, Marlen. “The 9 Most Famous Beauty Campaigns in History Will Probably Surprise You.” Bustle, Bustle, 12 July 2017, https://www.bustle.com/p/the-9-most-famous-beauty-campaigns-in-history-will-probably-surprise-you-62818