Beauty - Smoke and Mirrors
October 2007
Almost every day, we hear that one celebrity or another is about to ‘tell all’ all of their beauty secrets.  The secrets will be detailed in a daytime television program, this months must read magazine or in their soon be released book. are of the opinion that this behaviour only serves to perpetuate the media lead standard of beauty against which women invariable compare themselves, most often to the detriment of their self worth, self confidence and self esteem.


Why? Because they depict an image of perfection that is unreal and unattainable to 99.99% of the population. The message that if you buy a product or undergo a certain procedure, that you could look like the celebrity you most admire, is inexcusable and untrue. Simply put, it’s just ‘smoke and mirrors’ by this we mean that selling ‘beauty’ is merely a way for advertisers  to draw attention away from the fact that their sole purpose is to promote and sell their products and services. It should be noted that every year we splash out £6.4 billion on beauty products spurred on by the beauty industry which spends £600 million on advertising. If we said “your worth it” L’Oreal products would spring to mind, what about “real beauty’… easy Dove’s products. We’re sure you could easily add to the list.


The more we believe the message that ‘beauty” is the number one priority for women (and increasingly men),  the more we buy. The more successful the message (at generating huge profits for the industry), the more we are bombard with it, in increasingly ingenious ways. The underlying message is always the same ‘you are not good enough’.  The solution to your problems? Spend…spend…spend.


It is crystal clear that the beauty industry’s aim is to keep us in a position where we always need ‘fixing’ but are never actually fixed, as this would lead to the money fountain drying up.  Taking this a logical step further, there is evidently a very deliberate strategy to perpetuate our insecurities e.g. encouraging us to buy over priced moisturising creams to ‘reduce the appearance of aging’.   The cosmetic surgery  industry goes even further with statements like ‘be shapely… be stunning…be you transformed’.


The irony is that the advertising media promise that purchasing their product/service will strengthen and empower you, while in reality these are the very qualities that they are intentionally and systematically stripping away from those who can’t see beyond the smoke and mirrors.


Women are caught in a vicious circle in which we apply copious amounts of makeup, creams and potions on a daily basis. At the same time we are dieting, shaving, styling our hair, discussing possible cosmetic surgery with our peers and spending ever increasing amounts to achieve that illusive ‘perfect’ look.


The result?

Women and highly impressionable adolescent girls are left feeling unhappy, un-empowered, insecure and depressed, due to the fact that they have failed (inevitably) to live up to the unreal, unnatural stereotypical images of beauty.


The answer?

Every day countless women are ignoring the pressure to confirm to the cultural standards of beauty simply by leaving home without spending ages in front of the mirror trying to look like they have just walked of the page of a magazine. This act of independence and self assurance pinpoints the truth that being a woman is more than their outward appearance. They should be applauded.