The cosmetic market is huge and growing every year. Every time we go out and buy a new cosmetic product, we buy it with a hidden agenda that we seldom acknowledge.
“Please make me look beautiful”
There was a very interesting study last year, by Esther Honig, a 24-year-old journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She sent an image of herself to 40 people in 25 countries with the request ‘Make me look beautiful. ‘ The results were photoshopped or at the very least re-touched and reflected the different ideas of beauty across a variety of cultures. Her before and after photos are here.
It’s probably entirely normal that we each want to be ‘beautiful’ according to the culture we live in but what happens when women have cosmetic surgery when the options for change are so diverse and without ‘boundaries’? For these women, an award winning eye cream or moisturiser will never be enough to keep the demons of old age at bay.
I think what drives cosmetic surgery is our deep need to belong, our deep need to be accepted and our deep fear of being rejected. It’s hard wired into us. In ancient cultures, to be kicked out of your ‘tribe’, to have to fend for yourself and no longer belong to a community, no longer have the support of family and friends used to mean inevitable death. We didn’t survive as loners, with no-one to help us, no one to care for us, no one to even have a conversation with.
And so for many people now, the process of ageing taps into these ancient memories in our DNA, it awakens fears we didn’t know we had which are reinforced by the isolation that we see many older people having to endure, by the horrendous stories of abuse and neglect in care homes we hear about and and the pain of great loneliness and loss of independence that affects so many. There are many articles about older women feeling invisible, no longer a part of society so at a subconscious level, we feel that as long as we can remain looking ‘our best’ and being part of a community, which includes family and friends, colleagues, acquaintances, we feel connected and grounded and part of society.
So the efforts to ‘Make Me Look Beautiful’ are understandable. Although Cosmetic Surgery is not a route I would choose I understand what drives many women to create a shopping list of ‘fixes’.
Women are still looking for miracle cures that will hold back time.