I work in the cosmetic industry and I hate it. Not the work but the industry. The design work I do is sometimes interesting, the people with whom I work are top shelf and the pay isn’t bad. But I hate being part of an industry that in order to move product it tells women they aren’t beautiful enough.
Perhaps that’s being overly simplistic. I mean, the beauty industry is just filling a need (to feel beautiful), right? It empowers women, helping them feel good about themselves, right? It doesn’t tell women they’re ugly, it provides the means to enhance their already beautiful features to be more beautiful, right?
I think the reality is more along the lines of the beauty industry creating a need and then filling it. I mean, does the marketing of beautiful women make the everyday woman feel inferior or does the everyday woman already feel inferior and the beauty industry is there to help a girl (hi ECS!) feel beautiful?
The reality is that almost all companies, through marketing, try to convince us of our shortcomings in order to overcome them with their product. What we currently have isn’t fast enough, bold enough, soft enough, stylish enough, colorful enough, or clear enough, therefore we need to get a new Dell, drive a new Cadillac, sleep on a new Serta, wear a new shirt from Barney’s, use the new Tide, and switch to the new AT&T, and then life will be good.
And for the most part I don’t really mind modern marketing, but for me the beauty industry is different because it’s dealing with people and the way God created us. It’s one thing to say that your phone is ugly, it’s an entirely different thing to say that your face is.
A few thoughts regarding this industry:
– Models are objects, not people. Their “product” is their face, body, hair, lips, etc., not their opinion, ideas or creativity. The model does exactly what the art director tells her/him. (That’s why the scene in Zoolander in which Derek is acting like a monkey in front of the camera is so funny, because that’s the reality of this business.)
– Being that a model’s product is her body, to succeed she must do everything she can to improve that product. Therefore her daily routine is entirely focussed on maintaining/improving her body, face, hair, etc. (If you spent all day, every day improving your body it would probably look a little better than it is currently.)
– Photoshop is a model’s best friend. Trust me, models don’t have such nice pores, lip texture, nose shimmer, strategic hair placement, lack of blemishes, long eyelashes, radiant eye color, etc. All of that stuff is adjusted to communicate what the company desires (“smooth skin!”, “soft lips!”, “no wrinkles around the eyes!”, etc.). (If you had tens of thousands of dollars spent on a single photo of your body or face, including the photoshop work, it wouldn’t be a good representation of your current reality.)
– If you haven’t seen the Dove ad yet then you need to. It is an almost perfect summation of what I’ve written in my last two points. (After you watch that one you also need to watch the spoof ad just because it’s hilarious).
I’m not necessarily advocating for anything, these are just some thoughts that I’ve had since I’ve been working here. I recognize that this is a complex issue without any easy answers (and “moderation in all things” is an unsuccessful, easy answer). Thoughts?
NOTE: If you’re wondering why I’m still working in an industry I hate, my answer to you is complicated, but is largely a combination of “It’s convenient until I get my other business going” and “I like the people I work with” and “I’ve got a mortgage to pay” and “I’m lazy”.