The beauty industry which is reportedly worth over $500 billion has become more inclusive than ever. Not only designers, models and influencers are actively involved as even the very common person now has a chance to explore the industry and ‘fulfill’ their beauty goals.
An evidence of this inclusiveness is the advent of modest fashion which has now given women the chance to explore beauty and remain on trend while still fully clothed. Modest fashion has become very popular especially among Muslim women.
More so, a prominent feature of the beauty industry is beauty pageants. Beauty contests have definitely made women more confident, improved their self-discipline and exposed them to opportunities.
Truly, the feminine gender wholly has become stronger with the beauty industry. Women have the opportunity to invest in their beauty, commercialize it and make success stories from it.
We can go on and on discussing how positive the industry has been to the feminine gender but we cannot deny that this beauty has also become a beast.
The murderous beauty (beast)
Overtime, the beauty industry has had beauty standards and ideals but only major stakeholders like beauty pageants had to attain those standards. Now that the industry has become more inclusive with just anybody being involved, attaining beauty standards have also become everybody’s ambition.
A much known thing is that beauty standards are made by humans and so are quick to evolve. For instance, in the early 20th century; plump and full bodied women were considered as beautiful. Now, the ideal body is – ‘moderately’ slim with curves and flat stomach. A link between these two criteria is fantasy. These standards portray the ‘ideal’ but unrealistic body – at least not without a surgery.
Even with surgeries, many have gone wrong. A very recent case reported by BBC is Omotola Taiwo who did a Butt Lift surgery and liposuction in Lagos, Nigeria. Two months after the surgery, the 28-year-old began to have serious complications including fat necrosis.
While Omotola got a chance to survive a surgery although still suffering complications, Nnena Onwuzuligbo could not. The Nigerian beauty queen died in 2019 after a failed butt enlargement surgery.
Failed surgeries are not the only issue as depression and suicide have also accompanied the pursuit of the ‘ideal’ body. For instance, Hannah Carpenter was an 18-year-old girl who took her own life after long efforts of weight reduction. Her parents revealed that she had developed an eating disorder at age 13 and the pressure to have a ‘celebrity’ body size caused her death.
One common factor behind these stories is pressure- both from the victims and from others.
Beauty should not be a trap
We know that the ‘ideal body and beauty’ is unrealistic. Nevertheless, criticism, body shaming and self doubts are reasons why these looks are still pursued. The media also has been very supportive in promoting these unrealistic body looks. Sadly, children have also become very conscious of their body size and appearance for the same reasons of wanting to be in vogue.
The beauty industry has no doubt given a voice to women and helped them become more confident of their bodies. Unfortunately, the quest to attain beauty standards have caused failed surgeries, behavioural disorders and even suicide cases.
For these reasons, beauty standards should be banned as they have polluted the beauty industry. The beauty industry should remain a tool to empower women rather than a trap to endanger their well-being.