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Beauty is in the Eye of the Industry: How an Entire Section of the Economy Feeds on Insecurities

A bird's eye view of a brown-haired woman wearing red lipstick looking into a small handheld inverted triangle mirror which she holds, open-palmed, in both hands. The glass of the mirror is shattered in the middle with cracks spanning outward while the core crack obscures the right side of her face as she looks into it with a close-lipped and pensive expression. The background is black, but the corners of the photo are blurred. Source: Trevor Lawrence/Pexels

Thinness Gives You Beauty, But at What Cost?

As an introduction, let’s start with the most common victims of the beauty industry - teenage girls and young to middle-aged women (we’ll get to society’s gerontophobia soon enough). Now, let’s define what’s beautiful for women in the UK. It has been determined by a number of features. For example, a woman is beautiful if she has pale, unblemished skin and an hourglass figure. Unquestionably, the diet industry benefits from this. The principle that most diets are founded upon is the desire to lose weight - this encourages restrictive eating disorder-related behaviours, such as counting calories and having a goal weight. Sound familiar? These are things you are told to do by services like Noom, but Noom takes it a step further and decries people they label as Food Pushers - people who give you food when you're supposed to say no. To make matters worse, a Food Pusher is often a grandma giving food to her grandkids. Only a world dominated by the dieting industry can be this heartless.

Society's Quest for the Fountain of Youth

The conglomerate of beauty industries doesn't only control what a person eats, but also what skin products they use. According to a Glamour article published in 2018, an average woman spends over £300 on skincare products and makeup in a year. Most of these products are anti wrinkle serums that boast the ability to make people look younger. This is just one of many products that do so, with perhaps the most famous being hair dye. Given how many people buy stuff like this, it speaks of a country that fears the most natural process of life - growing old. Why is this? Beauty has long been associated with youth, and for women, this often means that she is past her sell-by date if she grows too old. Objectification aside, this also reeks of ageism, a form of discrimination that manifests itself most commonly as disdain of the elderly or elderly features, like wrinkles or grey hair. Discrimination can cultivate insecurities as people try drastic measures in an effort to not become the characteristic they most fear - such as botox fillers - and thus the vicious cycle of the beauty industry continues.

It’s Just Cosmetic, but I’ll Go under the Knife Anyway

Leading on from the previous points, it’s clear that some people crave a semblance of control over their bodies. One of the most serious ways to do this is through surgery, from leg thinning to surgery to make people grow taller. These methods, however, come with harmful consequences. In the case of the former, a surgeon must sever a key nerve in the upper leg, and, through deprivation of blood to the area, force the leg through the process of atrophy in order for it to shrink. Recipients cause themselves nerve damage, and inevitably report difficulty and pain when walking - this one should frighten readers enough - what mentally stable person would exchange bodily function for beauty?

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