How White Supremacy and Capitalism Influence Beauty Standards

Ashley Hendricks October 19, 2020 9 No Comments

How White Supremacy and Capitalism Influence Beauty Standards

The link between spirituality and beauty took a more prescriptive twist in the Middle Ages together with the growth of Christianity in Europe. “Now [women] were exhorted to seem pure and virginal, eternally young,” writes Mark Tungate at Branded Beauty: How Marketing Changed the Way We Look. Light attributes, such as blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, have been thought to be physical manifestations of “the light of God.” Starting about the 15th century, “colonizers went to Africa, Asia, and Latin America and introduced the idea that whiteness is good, that nothing is better than white,” Adawe says. “If you were white, you had better economic well-being, you had good employment and education attainment.”

Skin tone has had course connotations. In early Egyptian, Greek, and Roman societies, lighter skin has been associated with belonging to a high course, since “a woman with fair skin clearly led a very different life to that of the bronzed laborer,” Tungate writes — but colonialism took this concept and implemented it across races. )

“It was the same ideology during slavery in the United States,” Adawe states ) “Those with darker skin were functioning in the area outside. Those with lighter skin were favoredthey functioned in the houses. Those with milder skin were considered amazing, and that’s still a continuing thing within civilizations and within classes.” She states that when the colonizers abandoned the U.S., even if slavery has been abolished, the standard stayed. “The colonizers left, but they left a legacy: the legacy of whiteness. It’s an ongoing colonization of the mindset.”

The colonizer mindset continues today. It’s mirrored on the faces from the pages of fashion magazines, and that, up till recently, were nearly entirely white. It’s there at each base range that includes 10 options for white women but just two for Black girls; a still-too-common phenomenon, regardless of the sector’s newfound attention on more inclusive shade selections. It’s assembled into the makeup corporations that carry on to market skin care creams in Asia — , skin lightening creams which, in response to recent backlash, today have less overtly racist product titles.

In such a manner, colonialism gave capitalism a fantastic business model to follow: It exemplified exactly how simple it’s to profit from deep-seated insecurities stemming from a life of being treated as less than. And so during history capitalism has sowed the seeds of insecurity in most people. Much of that which we believe to be accurate about our own bodies is only marketing, made up by beauty manufacturers to create a buck.

In the publication War Paint, writer Lindy Woodhead documents cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubenstein’s profession, composing, “She was the first beauty specialist to classify skin as ‘dry,’ ‘normal,’ and ‘oily’” from the early 1900s, also employed those classes to market her face lotion, Valaze. It was subsequently women started to believe the standard functions of the skin (the creation of blemishes and wrinkles, the creation of petroleum, the occurrence of dead skin cells) were permanently incorrect, “and that buying creams would put it right.”

Similarly, now’s average hair-care regimen wasn’t prescribed by health experts but –surprise! — a marketer. When Eugène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, introduced the brand’s shampoo 1938, he also introduced a new benchmark: “There are 43 million people in France,” he stated at the moment, based on Tungate. “Let’s imagine that those 43 million people washed their hair once a week. We would sell 20 times the number of units that we sell at the moment.”

Schueller summed up his marketing approach: “Tell people they’re disgusting, they don’t smell good, and they’re not attractive.” Just, you understand, subtly. Psychological manipulation is the basis upon which attractiveness marketing is constructed. This method is not only excellent for selling goods; it is also well suited for keeping up the patriarchy.

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