The beauty industry is a multimillion pound world wide phenomenon. Britain’s market is worth £783 million alone! Created out of advertising to try and make our society’s women (and increasingly men) feel as though they are inadequate to sell products.
The media create an idealistic, yet distorted, image of unattainable perfection which now it seems the entire universe is trying to achieve. The average person sees over 2000 advertisements everyday, many promoting a product that promise to make you thinner, have better skin etc etc… Media critic Jean Kilbourne when referring to the advertising industry within the field of beauty said: ‘these women don’t have blemishes… they don’t even have pores!’ adding a tone of humour to what is a very serious subject.
There is a great deal of money to be made in the beauty industry especially in today’s climate, people need to put a brave face on things so to speak, and some choose to do that by hiding behind a layer of foundation. But instead of camouflaging our skin shouldn’t we be revitalising it with the other products on the market such as moisturisers? In the most recent beauty survey it emerged that Britain’s are the most susceptible when it comes to falling for advertising, and we in Britain wear more make up than any of our European counterparts. The French are so much more subtle with their beauty regimes compared to those in the UK or America, and we wonder how they retain their reputation of being the most demure and beautiful? The French are also highly regarded within the fashion industry and French designers such as Jean Paul Gautier, who rarely uses excessive make up in his shows, showing that it is not essential to attain something which is beautifull.
Just fewer than three-quarters of women use make up every week, half of these say they WOULD NOT leave home without it. The most interesting thing to come out of the study was that half the women who said they do wear make up daily said they do so for moisturising or nourishing purposes… which is interesting as over 60% of foundations sold contain no trace of moisturising ingredients at all, but in fact suffocate the skin – so are these women just miss-informed or just lying? If the latter, why do women feel ashamed of something they do daily? Do they realise that it is a superficial non–necessity which structures their daily routine? Only one in ten women admitted using products to hide imperfections, which is forgivable in the highly pressurised environment many of us reside within, but only one in eight admitted to using such products to appear more beautiful. People obviously don’t tell the truth in such surveys.
More over the beauty industry is not longer restricted to women. Thanks to the increasing number of ‘she-males’, or the emergence of the ‘modern man’ which is a trend that began with personalities like David Bowie and continues through to today’s reflections such as the awesomely funny and sexually appealing Russell Brand creating a new market. Men are becoming less ‘manly’ and opening up, expressing themselves in different ways through adornment. We have already discussed the femininity of male piercings in this issue, and now the idea of ‘guyliner’ is highlighted alongside male beauty products. The very idea of ‘men’ and ‘beauty’ being said in the same sentence is still very controversial in some more traditional circles. This was one segment of a whole routine which made these particular characters famous for being feminine. It is well know that Russell Brand brags that his outwardly feminine appearance and personality makes him more appealing and approachable to women… works on me! So there we have it a generation of men born to be encouraged to act like women and splurge a little of their hard earned wages on the same anti-aging products, moisturizers and self tanners as women. CHER CHING!
However in the fashion industry, make up is seen to enhance the look of a piece on the catwalk, and back stage, hair and make up artists are key players in making a successful show. Of course events like this hire hundreds of individuals and are a creative output so can’t be seen as all evil. The use of simple or no make up is something which is also practiced in this area, when the clothes themselves are loud and speak to the audience, or transversely when the items on display are of a simple nature and the designer uses make up to embellish his or her art. Make up is also a form of art and self expression which can be celebrated.
Moreover, in conclusion I feel the beauty industry is predominantly a vicious circle created by media moguls. The general public get sucked in to the ideal of unachievable utterly flawless beauty and spend a portion of their earnings of trying to attain the unattainable… what a pointless exercise, what we all need is Photoshop – ask yourself where the Celebes would be without that?
Make up obviously has its place within society, as a form of art, self expression within photography and fashion – but must it be a staple for the day to day lives of millions of people starting from 12 year old girls?
Next time you go to put on the slap, just think… do I actually need this? I bet the truthful answer is no.