Monday, July 23, 2007


Despite my involvement in the beauty industry, I have what can only be described (cliche as it may be) as a love/hate feeling for it. I still find myself getting caught up in what feels like the fun of cosmetics and beauty tips, etc. But I also realize now (as I wish I had in my teen years and early twenties) that the effects of western attitudes toward women, how we are portrayed, what we are expected to look and act like, and what we are constantly being sold on is unbelievably unhealthy and destructive to our self-worth and to our relationships with other women.

Learning more about feminism shed a lot of light on why I was constantly feeling insecure about my appearance and my role in the world. I learned that several industries thrive off of making women feel concerned about how we look starting from when we are very young. I still ocassionally struggle with this feeling (as a 25 year old woman) and have to look it square in the face sometimes, which is scary.

A book called The Truth About Beauty by Kat James addresses the motivations of the beauty, medical, and food industries and their effects on us. In addition, James shows us a better approach to beauty that is actually good for us and respects that we are not simply walking collections of flaws that need fixing and covering up. There is so much information in her book and yet it is a joy to read. I frequently return to it when I need extra inspiration or reminders about great advice. I urge all women, especially those who have ever felt insecure or uncomfortable in their own skin, to read this book asap.

Here's a little excerpt that I always feel empowered by (and it is applicable to the beauty industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, and our government):

"Do your body and your beauty a serious favor: Don't put your unquestioning trust in professions and industries, brand names, number-one recommended products or treatments, industry stamps of approval, or guidelines, no matter how respectable they seem. The only people you ever needed to trust entirely were your parents, and just as every parent has very human weaknesses and personal agendas, so does every regulatory agency and authority figure that influences your living choices. The sooner you let go of any blind faith you have in the government's ability or incentive to protect you, the sooner you can put that faith and the role of the protector where it belongs: with you."

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