Friday, 6 May 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the cosmetics industry

"I can't leave the house without make-up," is an all too familiar phrase uttered by women worldwide. Even if it's only a splash of foundation or a dab of lipstick, not applying some form of make-up is seen as somehow out of the ordinary.

The global cosmetics industry is worth an approximate £6.2billion, and when you consider how common it is for women to wear make-up it's not difficult to see why.

But it doesn't end there.

It is becoming increasingly common for women to have cosmetic surgery in order to change the way they look. Figures released by the Harley Medical Group confirm that cosmetic surgery has increased by 85% over the past five years. Brits spent £2.3billion on cosmetic surgery in 2010, and one in four would consider having surgery such as liposuction,
boob jobs and facelifts.

Surely we have to ask ourselves how we have grown into a generation that are so dissatisfied with our external appearance that we are prepared to spend vast sums of money on trying to change it.

How has it become unacceptable to leave the house without first applying several brands of cosmetics, to the extent that I know of women who apply their make-up before doing anything else because they say they look ill without it?

How have we reached a point where 25% of the population would consider having surgery, which is not without risk, in order to change the way they look?

I think the answer is simple – we have been conditioned, often through marketing, but also through media, into believing that we must conform to a certain standard of attractiveness in order to fit into an increasingly body-conscious society. If you look at adverts for cosmetics they all promise the best results, fuller lips/longer lashes/great colour, some even promise the reduction of wrinkles and promise to have an anti-aging effect.

But equally the celebrity magazines are full of the women who are in their bikini's just weeks after giving birth, and so many women feel they need to live up to the image. And as surgery is not uncommon within the celebrity culture, many women feel that surgery is the way they need to go to achieve the image they want and to be accepted.

But what's wrong with just being who you are?

As someone who has never worn any make-up, and would certainly never consider cosmetic surgery, I find this need to change appearance completely baffling. After all changing your external appearance is not going to change the person you really are, yes some might argue that it makes you feel more confident, but what kind of confidence is it that you have to paint on first thing in the morning and remove again before you go to bed, or which you have to put your life at risk to achieve by going under the knife?

There are ranges of cosmetics for children too, so this is something that we are breeding into the younger generations, this belief that you have to cover up who you really are, and become a synthetically attractive person.

We have a notion that what other people think is important, when in fact, it isn't. Of course it is human nature to want to be accepted by others, but equally it is important to be who we are.

I am certainly no supermodel; in fact I would go so far as to say that I probably wouldn't even be considered to be pretty or physically attractive. But no amount of lipstick or foundation will ever change that, so surely it would be better to save the money and gain an extra couple of minutes sleep in the morning.

I just cannot be bowled over by the adverts that promise me a better look or to cover up the fine lines that must inevitably be there. Of course I can work out in the gym to be confident in myself, but that is vastly different from having to achieve that surgically.

We need to stop and open our eyes to the messages that tell us to change, and instead be more confident in who we were in the first place.

No comments:

Post a Comment