The Truth About the Beauty Industry
Beauty trends are constantly changing, but the idea of whether or not something is beautiful is no accident. Body size, shape, physical appearance, ethnicity, height, and hair color are all examples of things that we as a society have viewed should look a certain way. The beauty standard is created by big corporations such as cosmetic companies, trying to sell the idea of beauty to profitable customers through shame. 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. They know that women will spend any amount of money to achieve the impossible standard of beauty that only about 5% of women achieve.
According to Beauty in Mind: The Effects of Physical Attractiveness on Psychological Well-Being and Distress, 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 mental health. “We find that greater facial attractiveness, lower BMI, and greater height are associated with higher psychological well-being and lower rates of depression”. All of those attributes are just some examples of the beauty standard that millions of women around the world aim to achieve. 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 can cope with it, is directly coordinated with how they appear to themselves and others. What has been promoted by the beauty industry to be the beauty standard, are the same people who have positive emotions toward themselves as well as lower stress levels and abilities to retaliate to negative situations in their lives. If you look better, you feel better. Therefore it can be assumed by the reader that once they achieve the beauty standard, they will automatically live a better lifestyle.
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, which is also where our emotions come from. 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 major goal of a business is to make profits to keep the business alive, so by doing this they purposely body shame their target market into thinking that the only way they will be beautiful is to buy their product. 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.
The article titled “The Most Famous Beauty Campaigns in History” goes over how some of the most successful advertisements for cosmetics came to be, and the psychology of 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. If they smell bad, then it could jeopardize something that they care about a lot, ruining their chances with the man of their dreams.
After the advertisement hit the papers, women everywhere had 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 themselves. The advertisement put this anxiety inside of their heads which is why sales of that company’s deodorant increased by 112% because they believed that it was the only way they could become beautiful to others. Now, deodorant is used as an everyday item.
For this exact reason is why cosmetic companies also use photoshop in their advertisements. They use it to digitally alter a photo to make the person appear more attractive, which gives the impression that the product will make the customer more attractive. They rid the models featured in beauty campaigns of any natural skin texture, smoothing hair, whitening teeth, as well as enlarging and shrinking other features. They create a look that is unrealistic and unattainable for the average person. Companies want their products to appear as if it works better than it does, by using photoshop, 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. Companies try to make photoshop look as “natural” as possible so customers believe if they buy the product, then they can achieve the same results the advertisement promises.
Once consumers 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. Which in turn creates profit for the company, which is what the company wants to happen. They have started to take notice of this and began to create insecurities out of normal parts of life to deliberately make customers feel insecure about themselves. “Anti-aging” products are a perfect example of this, aging is the natural process of growing older and no matter who you are, you get older. Society and marketers put this view on women, especially that once you get older, you are getting uglier. There are millions of anti-aging products on the market that claim to make you look younger, but what is wrong with getting older?
Once women see that there are all these products to prevent aging, they will start to feel bad about themselves because they are getting older. 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
Swim, can I do a makeover on your first paragraph as a way to demonstrate several important writing lessons?
Thank you for texting me permission to do a makeover on your first paragraph.
It contains a bold premise, Swim, that you have almost completely buried.
First, let me paraphrase your sentences in order.
1. The idea of whether or not something is beautiful is constantly changing overtime depending on the view of society.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Before we get to Step Two, let’s just compare those bold summaries to the subjects and verbs you used in your original sentences.
ORIGINAL: An IDEA CHANGES DEPENDING ON A VIEW.
BOLDER: Beauty trends change.
ORIGINAL: FACTORS CONTRIBUTE to a STANDARD.
BOLDER: Our culture dictates what is beautiful.
ORIGINAL: A STANDARD is MARKETERS ACHIEVING a goal.
BOLDER: Profiteers coerce us to buy beauty.
ORIGINAL: BRANDS PRESSURE FEMALES to ACHIEVE a standard.
BOLDER: The fashion and beauty industry victimizes women and girls through shame.
ORIGINAL PARAGRAPH: An idea changes depending on a view. Factors contribute to a standard. A standard is marketers achieving a goal. Brands pressure females to achieve a standard.
BOLDER PARAGRAPH: Beauty trends change. Our culture dictates what is beautiful. Profiteers coerce us to buy beauty. The fashion and beauty industry victimizes women and girls through shame.
Now that you know what your claims are, what’s the most powerful and direct way to communicate your clear claims?
Beauty trends change.
Our culture dictates what is beautiful.
Profiteers coerce us to buy beauty.
The fashion and beauty industry victimizes women and girls through shame.
Beauty is no accident. It’s manufactured by cosmetic brands and fashion designers, style magazines and clothing manufacturers, and then sold to us as a product. Ideals of body size and shape, ethnicity, preferred height and hair color are commodities we’re encouraged to buy. Every season, marketers create trends to get us to buy a new impossible standard of beauty. They target women and girls of low self esteem who they know will spend anything to chase the latest ideal.
The content is not different from your original paragraph, Swim. But it starts and stays on topic throughout, developing the one bold claim that the beauty industry creates unachievable goals and sells the dream of achieving it to vulnerable customers through shame. (Actually, that’s at least four bold claims, but one strong hypothesis.)
That should lead very nicely to your example of the underarm deodorant campaign, clearly an early use of body shaming to sell a product.
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I have made improvements