Am I the only one that thinks there is an implicit connection between the blown-up beauty industry valued at $530 Billion and the increase in anxiety and antidepressant use in young girls? The impossible standard of beauty in movie stars and advertising models is now, whether we like it or not, unavoidable. There’s an online world more than willing to usher them into adulthood with these beauty games as social media influencers are being tapped to promote products and do tutorials on how to use their “favourite” brands. They’re being taught they aren’t clean enough, thin enough or pretty enough and playing right into the hands of these gigantic retailers. I suppose this messaging has been going on for years. I flashback to my teen years when there wasn’t enough makeup in the world to cover up my perceived imperfections. For better or for worse we eventually have to discover that beauty products don’t cure unhappiness, loneliness, a broken heart or discontent.
Eyebrows seem to be the gateway into the beauty industry as a 12-year-old looks around and realizes they look different than their friends. Recycled packaging, all-natural products and donations to wildlife are all part of what millennial and Gen Z shoppers want and brands know it. Just recently Lululemon introduced a new line of gender-neutral personal care products. What’s in that shampoo that is any different than the army at Shoppers?
I look at old pictures of my mother; she was gorgeous. She’s 86 now and went through chemo and lost her hair. It grew back. She spent too much time in the sun and ran herself ragged chasing 4 kids. She served everyone her whole entire life including my father. I see how living with pain is taking its toll on her body and face. I see her laughing, baking and sewing. I see her as a senior in high school playing basketball and running her activities as a cub leader blowing her whistle. I see the veil of her wedding gown over her jet-black hair. I see her getting ready to go out dancing with my father. I see her singing in the church choir and answering the door to sell her homemade barbie clothes and getting the pickles and beets out of the jars and licking her fingers. I see her swollen hands and the family ring that hasn’t been removed in 40 years. I see her making pies and ignoring that my sisters and I would sneak the dough when she turned her back. I see the beauty that no mirror can reflect. A beauty that is not skin-deep but life deep.
We must find a way to inhabit our bodies and deal with our doubts and hang-ups. It’s all very messy work especially when there is a predator like the beauty industry that grabs fortunes and doesn’t care who it hurts.
Am I the Only One?