Systems of Control: beauty industry
Beauty Industry is called “industry” for a reason. Its primary goal is to create, promote, and sell beauty standards in order to sustain and grow market for its numerous goods and services. Beauty industry strives on our needs and desires. One common human need is to be loved and accepted, and it’s pretty obvious that beauty (however we define it in a given culture in a given time period) plays a huge role in how most people feel about themselves and perceive the others.
You might want to argue that the true beauty is on the inside. You might also say that the most important human values are those of our characters and our actions. I agree with you fully, and I find that even the physical beauty is most magnificent in its natural form, unaltered by shape and color manipulations that involve plastic surgery, lash extensions, lip fillers, or even make-up.
But if all this is true, how do we explain thousands of “beauty products” that fill our stores, millions of make-up tutorials on YouTube, and increasing popularity of such videos? What do we say about social media and show business figures who engage in super-heavy use of make up and perform plastic surgery?
Clearly, there is a huge demand for such stuff out there, and the demand is created by the very system that wants to control and to sell.
I think at some point each of us comes to a place on a journey through life where certain questions become crucial.
“Who am I, truly? Do my desires and needs belong to me, or does someone else create them? What is my purpose in life? Is there anything alien or imposed on me in my daily existence? Why am I not happy with the way I naturally am?”
As I keep walking my path, I start seeing something frighteningly unnatural in daily use of make up. I came to believe that both men and women should reserve its use for special occasions like theatre or circus performances where one’s face becomes a part of the specific play. It’s metamorphosis. You become another character, or maybe the stage is so far from the audience that red lipstick is a must for your face to have visible features instead of looking like an undercooked, shapeless pancake. Make up is also for those occasions where you want to trick people, to present your alter self.
Please, don’t say “I am doing it for me.” Yes, at the end of the day we all do everything “for me.” But people who use this to justify wearing masks on their cheeks and lips and eyebrows must ask themselves, “Who is this ME and why is it not happy with its own clean bareness? ME would be happy with it if ME stayed alone in a forest cabin in the faraway mountains by the river. Then why not here? What is present here that changes it? Isn’t it… society, the other people?”
Stage is beautiful. Theatre is beautiful. Acting is interesting. There is a bit of sentimental interest in me for it since I grew up surrounded by theatre props and reading plays. But hey, dear reader! Not all play characters get to be princesses; some are old hags, mean step mothers, street beggars, and wicked witches. And no matter what happens on the stage, real life, just life as is (raw, unaltered, genuine with its wrinkles, pimples, droopy eyes and eye-bags, uneven skin tones and thin, pale lips) is undoubtedly exiting and interesting as well.
When we are taught and conditioned to cover the Real with the “standardly beautiful”, we steal from ourselves. We give away our natural authenticity to this forever hungry monster that mutates and grows on people’s insecurities and the need to sell themselves better.
Although beauty stereotypes don’t leave the men out, on the market of sexiness, desirability, and forever-youth women are the main consumers. For some, it takes years to recognize the scheme. And once they do, it all comes to thinking deeply and then making a choice.