“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” ~Dr. Gail Dines
Something is terribly wrong with how we as a culture view the female body and what we think of as beauty. Perhaps it has always been this way, to a degree, however, with the rise of the chemical cosmetics and the cosmetic surgery industry, coupled with a shift towards more materialistic cultural values, women are now more than ever before taught that beauty is anything but natural, and that their bodies need to be modified in order for them to happy and to be accepted.
“In 2015 the industry generated $56.2 billion in the United States. Hair care is the largest segment with 86,000 locations. Skin care is a close second and growing fast, expected to have revenue of almost $11 billion by 2018.” [Source]
The cosmetics industry is big business, and is expected to break records in 2016, potentially generating almost $63 billion, a figure which does not include cosmetic surgery. In 2015, there were nearly 16 million surgical and minimally-invasive procedures performed in the U.S. alone, and that number is also expected to grow in coming years.
Since 2000, overall procedures have risen 115 percent, but the types of procedures patients are choosing are changing.
“While more traditional facial procedures and breast augmentations are still among the most popular, we’re seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address,” said ASPS President David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS. “Patients have more options than ever, and working closely with their surgeon, they’re able to focus on specific target areas of the body to achieve the look they desire.” [Source]
The portrayal of women in media and advertising is a big part of the problem, and as Irwin Ozborne wrote in How the Beauty Industrial Complex Oppresses Women:
“The media (television, films, videos, billboards, magazines, movies, music, newspapers, fashion designers, social media, and other internet sites) bombard us with body images throughout the day. Young children spend around six to seven hours per day enamored with these messages (Brown, JD 2002). Chris Downs and Sheila Harrison found that one out of every 3.8 television commercials portrays a message about attractiveness. They went on to state that the average viewer sees about 14 of these messages a day and more than 5,200 advertisements related to attractiveness each year (Downs, 2011).
By the time the average teenage girl in Western society reaches age 18, she has seen nearly 100,000 television advertisements about the importance of attractiveness. This does not include seeing images on the internet, facebook friends, or other media outlets which account for an additional 5,000 plus images per week! (Wiseman, 2012)” [Source]
Truth in Art
Sometimes in order for us to understand the folly of our ways, we need to be jolted back to reality, and this has often been the function of art in our culture.
Inspired by disasters in cosmetic surgery, French film-maker Frédéric Doazan created Supervenus, a short film which graphically captures everything wrong with how we view beauty, showing how our rejection of natural beauty ultimately results in the destruction of women.
“ I started manipulating an old anatomy illustration in Photoshop and became a virtual cosmetic surgeon. I didn’t have a complete concept or a clear preconceived idea of what I wanted it to be when I started. I was just playing spontaneously in Photoshop, enjoying it, trying things. Step by step, I transformed this standard illustration into an iconic plastic beauty falling into pieces”. ~Frédéric Doazan
Beauty is within, yet the beauty industrial complex is highly invested in keeping us disconnected with this simple yet eternal nugget of wisdom and truth. View Supervenus by Frédéric Doazan here:
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