Perhaps an age old question, but does the beauty industry promote low self esteem? Does the industry as a whole make those who consume the content feel bad about themselves? From glossy magazines to Instagram influencers, “beautiful” content is everywhere. But is it healthy for those of us who worship the creators?
This question that provoked and titled this blog post came from a song – I was driving in the car with my Mum, listening to one of her old CDs and a song called Affirmation by Savage Garden came on, which has the line “I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem.” (listen if you get chance, it’s a great song.) It got me thinking – does the entire beauty industry as a whole make us feel bad about ourselves? Feeling pressure to look like the latest Instagram star, can affect our mental health quite significantly, and can make you want to stop browsing social media altogether.
The beauty industry has evolved since that song was released in 1999 (I was 8 so wouldn’t have been a reader of beauty magazines then.. apart from maybe Mizz, let me know if you remember that!) and now includes instant consumable content in the form of the internet and social media. Every cover girl on magazines, YouTube videos, models used on social media or a regram of an influencer, can all be seen to fit a certain aesthetic, that are deemed by society as “attractive” or “pretty”.
But these girls look nothing like the “average” (so to speak, I use that term loosely and with caution) girl that you see walk down the street. The “everyday” girl if you like. Does seeing these pictures make us want to be like them, to look like them? Do we buy the products they promote, because we think it will make us look like them, or at least help? But what happens when the products they rave about don’t look the same on you as they do on them, does it makes you feel bad about yourself?
I started my blog because I love makeup and I wanted to share my joys and frustrations, with both good and bad products, with like minded people. I get excited when I find an eye shadow that’s insanely pigmented, or a highlighter that can be seen from space, and I like sharing this with others who would get equally as excited as me. But I don’t think that excitement should be tainted by the need to look a certain way in order to wear it.
Everyone has times when they look in the mirror and hate what they see, or do their best makeup look and still feel like crap, that’s just part of life. But I dislike the fact that we should be made to feel bad if a product doesn’t look the exact same way it does on someone who has probably been photo-shopped and heavily filtered anyway.
It isn’t just an issue with the beauty industry, the same goes for the fashion industry as well. When you see girls wearing clothes that you know would never suit you because of the shape of your own body, it can make you feel a bit crap about yourself.
Social media is such a huge part of our lives now and is unavoidable, and I think this mentality of always having to look flawless affects how we navigate it. Not wanting to post a photo to the grid that isn’t 100% perfect, refusing to go on Instagram stories unless you’re made up or apologising if you’re not. I for one have poured over a photo for hours debating whether or not t post it because I have a double chin or you can see a spot or my eyes look small and deleted videos that I’d filmed for my story because I don’t like how I look or sound. Not to mention the teenage girls growing up with this at the forefront of their lives feeling pressure to look a certain way.
There are some influencers who are breaking that barrier and are more like the “everyday girl next door” who we can all relate to, who are celebrating their natural look and embracing their flaws, and that’s definitely something we need more of. Boots, for example ensure that the model on the cover of their magazine are never photo shopped, which again is a great step for beauty publications.
Please know that this is not shade to anyone who is naturally stunningly pretty, own what you got; what I’m talking about is with the photo-shopping, the unnecessarily heavily made up faces and lack of flaws that make us everyday girls feel bad about ourselves for not fitting that same aesthetic.
So what I’m trying to say is, get excited about that new lipstick, or buying that new dress, and celebrate those feelings and feel good. Don’t buy it because you think you need to look like the model promoting it or the Instagram influencer who raved about it on their feed. Embrace your own beauty and don’t let the way other people look stop you from loving the way you look. Because let me tell you, you are beautiful in your own way and that beauty needs to be embraced.
I hope this all makes sense and I haven’t just rambled on. I would love to know your thoughts on the subject and what you think about the way the beauty or fashion industry makes you feel about yourself? Please let me know below!
Thanks so much for reading!