What are we trading for beauty?

Beauty seems to be a hot topic recently. But many of you will remember when, not even ten years ago, finding make-up products was a struggle. And we were content with the few products already in our possession, or indeterminately borrowed from our mums, because reviews weren’t a thing and there was basically no competition. Eventually, the market got on board with the beauty obsession, providing limited edition collections, more drugstore brands, better formulas, brushes, skincare for men… What a time to be alive!

Or, is it?

trading freedom for beauty

Some might even say this beauty craze took on a ritualism typical of religion and oppression. Quoting Naomi Wolf: “As women released themselves from 1950s domesticity and motherhood, the beauty myth took over, expanding to carry on its work of social control". What we seem to be trading for this beauty myth is the freedom to not look like beauty gurus and not feel guilty about it. Guilt is, in fact, the key to internalise a behaviour, so that the beauty myth can re-gain the control society lost on modern women.

In my opinion, this is not completely untrue. However, it assumes that women who fall for this ‘misogynist beauty trap’ have, in fact, no personal choice or thoughts about it. Another counter argument would be that the make-up industry is the most frivolous as it literally washes off. How did it get its status as new social control entity?

Have you been openly judged by your local supermarket because you weren’t wearing red lipstick and a pouffy pinafore dress? I think not. Just like I haven’t been kicked out from my gym for my lack of make-up and Friday pineapple hair. Even my innocent statement about going to the gym is heavily interpreted by feminists, spoiler alert! not as a personal attempt to be healthy.

In fact, according to Naomi Wolf, the cultural fixation on thinness is not an obsession about beauty but about obedience. Spokespeople would be there to just to sell the beauty myth under the fake name of ‘health’, yet the stress on appearance gives people an extremely negative view of themselves.

No news here.

The bottom line is that you need to do it for yourself, which means you eventually internalised ideas such as self-empowerment and self-improvement, following the motto: 'You can do it!'

Key word being 'can'.

Just because everyone around me is eating smashed avocado on toast and drinking green kale smoothies, it doesn't mean I am forced to do so. I know plenty of girls who couldn't care less about make-up, they wear barely any or none at all. You can do it!

We are free to wear make-up, push-up bras, wigs, high heels, and spandex. And I am not talking just about biological girls! Everything is only one click away from purchase and its secrets are available to all in a plethora of tutorials. At the end of the day you will wash off your make-up and wear your comf
y sweater. After all, there are much more important issues to talk about than if I powdered my nose and why. 

Image: via

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