Is beauty truly in the eyes of the beholder?

The beauty industry has had a powerful effect on society's standard of beauty for decades. Photo by Hanna Middleton | The Signal

For decades, the beauty industry has significantly influenced society’s beauty standards. The industry sets trends with which most women and men try to keep up.  

Although the standards placed by the beauty industry are the norm for beauty standards, many feel that it abuses its power by praising women for having certain features while condemning other women for theirs. 

Georgia State junior Chanese Bowers feels that beauty standards created a box that many women do not fit in. She believes that the beauty industry lacks representation in advertising, which causes many women to have low self-esteem.

“Beauty brands tend to have a direct impact on women’s self-esteem because they only use models that they perceive to be beautiful in advertisements,” she said. “When young women see they don’t fit the traditional standard of beauty, they try their hardest to fit in.” 

To Bowers, this lack of representation in the beauty industry is one reason why women start to experiment with body modification. Although she has never altered her body, Bowers admits that she deals with this issue. 

“As a Black woman, I feel that I lack the eurocentric features which are desired in today’s society,” she said. “I feel like this has had a negative effect on both my self-esteem and confidence.”   

Although she has become more confident in her skin, Bowers thinks it would be nice for beauty brands to celebrate women’s differences and have more representation from darker-skinned models. 

Georgia State sophomore Dianera Baret feels that beauty brands should focus more on the concept of enhancing beauty rather than covering up flaws. Beauty brands mainly use models with perfect, airbrushed features to advertise their products.

Like many others, Baret thinks this is where the fine line between these beauty brands and their potential consumers starts. Most feel that these beauty brands advertise for average women to look like these models.

“Even when [making] a comparison on good and bad mascara, beauty brands may use a model with longer lashes to model theirs and a model with shorter lashes to model the other brand,” she said. “Even though both brands lengthen your natural eyelash, these beauty brands advertise to people based on the certain details on your body that you’re already insecure about.”

Baret expressed that these are the type of sales tactics that target the average person’s insecurities, allowing them to believe that they have to change a specific feature to be attractive. She feels that the beauty industry could positively affect people if they start using models’ unfiltered photos to advertise their products.  

“Allowing models with skin flaws such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, beauty moles, as well as naturally yellow teeth will show average women that they too can be considered beautiful,” she said. “Beauty brands should also stop using artificial lighting to stop the shadow of skin texture.” 

Although the beauty industry is influential in society, some can agree that these brands should work on their advertising by using models that represent average women.