I’m often asked, “why did we choose to write about beauty?” After all, we, from Beautyskew, are a group of strategic planners in the technology and brand worlds. The reason? Through the lens of beauty, we can learn so much about the world around us and our place in it.
Whether we invest a ton of effort in beauty or barely wash our faces in the morning, beauty — and the discourse around it — surrounds us, drives us and transforms us. As such, beauty affects us and will be affected by us — our norms, concerns and dreams — as individuals and as a culture.
When I stumbled upon this story about beauty tutorials of yester-year, I had further evidence of this. Fashionista curated a bunch of YouTube beauty videos from the past 100 years. From a call to wash your hair more frequently — twice a week! — to a Coty commercial for perfume to be used before you “stalk,” you feel these are definite messages from another era.
The article also references some truly scary stuff. Imagine a how-to-video to remove radioactive waste from your face? Yep! Or a video that shows how to apply make-up given one’s physiognomy. In case you don’t remember, physiognomy is the false “science” that allowed white people to further devalue people of color during the first half of the 20th century.
Wow, how things have changed, right? I can’t help but look at these videos and wonder, are we mere subjects of all this beauty culture? After all, at one time, we thought these messages were bang on! Do we have a role in all of it? Can we change it for the better?
The first step is to be aware of it. Be conscious of the messages — bad and good — that surround us.
Second, take a stand. If you see beauty being used for the wrong reasons, e.g., if teenage girls make fun of someone’s appearance, stop it.
Third, appreciate beauty. Don’t belittle it. When we appreciate it, we will be more able to see it as a force of good.
Fourth, reveal the beauty we see around us to others. Take pictures of it and share those pictures. Blog about it. Bring your kids to museums.
Finally, use beauty to help others, e.g., tutorials to prep people for job interviews.
Without us even realizing it, we use beauty to reflect who we are — the good, bad and ugly. The good news is we can play an active role in applying beauty to help us make the world a better, more beautiful place.