Is Beauty Culture Hurting Us? – Glad You Asked S1

Is Beauty Culture Hurting Us?  – Glad You Asked S1

I think it was watching
makeup videos maybe five or six years ago when I started to feel like
my eyebrows were insufficient. So I went out and I bought
an eyebrow pencil, and then this happened.All agreeing to scan millions
of pages from books…
Oh, my God.…related to biodiversity.I guess I did it wrong. So I watch these beauty vlogs,
and almost without fail, all of these beautiful women
with gorgeous, flawless skin
would mention the same thing. And finally I just cracked. I was like, what is a retinoid
and where can I buy one? So I have very minimal
beauty routine, I think. I mean, okay, I do go get
my eyelashes done and I get the Botox
and I get waxed. You’re right,
there are maintenance– there are maintenance things. How many times
have I gone into work and people are like,
“Emma, you look
really tired today.” I’m just like,
well, I guess I didn’t put on
enough concealer, and that’s frustrating. I feel like the only reason
I care about the way I look is ’cause I want to impress. Honestly– like,
being honest about it, it’s ’cause I want to
impress on social media. Cleo:
Over the past few years,
research shows
that more and more women are
saying that they feel beautiful. But at the same time,
the vast majority of women say they feel pressure
to be beautiful. So what effect is this online
beauty culture having on us? If we have more choices and more
information than ever before, why do I feel so trapped?( music playing )( music playing )Baby Katie Holmes. Joss:
November 1997. So here’s how makeup
was marketed in the ’90s. “So breakthrough.
So new. So sheer.” So, it’s, like,
you had to read copy, – but no one read that.
– Yeah. Today, if there’s a YouTube
video and someone’s like, “I’ve used this product,
I know it works,
here’s how you do it.” – Way more compelling.
– Way more compelling. The data shows
that people interact with, meaning like and comment on
influencers’ videos and posts 32 times more often
than they do on brands. I talked to Tiffany Gill
about this. She’s a professor and an author – who writes about the history
of beauty culture.
– Huh. I think the digital aspect
is what really has changed. What it has done
is really democratized what beauty
and beauty culture is,so that the people
who are consumers
now have a lot more controlover what constitutes beauty
and beauty culture.
I mean, first of all,
anybody can make content. And when they do,
they end up talking about – a lot more than just makeup.
– Hmm. – Hey, guys.
– Hi. – Hi, guys.
– Assalamu alaikum. Hi, everyone.
Welcome back to my channel. The shade match is pretty good. I clearly have imperfect skin, but it doesn’t mean
that I don’t love my face. I did not have a good
high school experience at all. Most of it kind of stemmed
around my skin tone. Actually, all of it stemmed
around my skin tone. I wanna talk to you guys
about my body, about the fact that I’m fat. If you need someone to talk to, I’m always here.
You can always DM me. I love you guys a lot. I’ll see you soon. Bye. Aww. I wanna be friends
with all of them. – Right?
– They’re so great. The reason why I think
we’re beginning to see more women sort of defining themselves
as beautiful,is because
they’re able to find
these kind of
micro communities
that affirm their brand
of beauty.And as much
as selfies get a bad rap,
there’s something
very libratory about being able to show
yourself to the world and say,
“Look, I’m beautiful.” Cleo:At every level
in these magazines,
somebody was making
a specific decision
about who gets to be there.Not just the editorsand the gatekeepers
at these institutions,
but, like,
the agents of the models.
Whereas now,
it’s not as though somebody’s
making a decision
about who gets to
make a video.
You know, I think Instagram’s
actually been really,
really important for the ability to kind of
follow people who look like you. Because the reality is
that not everyone is, like, a skinny blonde with big boobs. Woman:
I follow a lot of women
on Instagram
that are in my age bracket. And that makes me feel good because before,
we were invisible. In my friend group,
I was always the fat one. Every other thought was like,
“How am I gonna lose weight?” It came to the point where I wasn’t even
enjoying food. For me it was seeing all these
stunning curved models. That made me realize,
oh, I’m beautiful, too. We’re going to IPSY
which is this beauty convention where people can interact with
their favorite beauty vloggers – and makeup brands.
– Let’s do it.( music playing )Joss:If you look
around this event,
it’s a really sort of
exciting environment.
And we get to talk
to Gigi Gorgeous,who is one of the biggest
YouTube beauty gurus out there.
– Hi. Nice to meet you. Gigi.
– I’m Joss. If the internet
hadn’t come around, what do you think
beauty culture would be like? It really was very rare to see a boy in makeup
or, you know, a brand stepping behind
a transgender woman. I feel like the times
kind of pushed that along, but I also feel like
the internet did. Because along with these
beautiful, stunning looks that are being created
are also these stories that are being told
by the people doing them. I have felt
for a very long time now that I was a girl trapped
inside of a boy’s body. I’m really excited just today
to talk about my mom. Ah! This literally
smells like her.I think that that instantly
kind of connects you in a way
where it’s no longer
fan and talent.
It’s literally family
and, like, friend. Cleo:And that’s what
the online community
feels like sometimes,
a group of friends
all getting ready together
and swapping tips.Consumers are more informed
than they’ve ever been.They can take these tools
and change the way
they present themselves
to the world.
But if you look at
it another way,then it’s this constant cyclethat ultimately
is costing women
big chunks of their paycheck,but also something
that’s more valuable,
which is the space
in their mind. Cleo: If you’re like me, you’re spending hours
on your phone every day. Last week I spent six
and a half hours on Instagram. Which means
we’re constantly faced with images of other people to compare ourselves to. And a lot of the time,
with the advent of filters, those images are full of subtle,
little changes, like this skin smoother
I’ve been using. And if everyone around you is making subtle tweaks
to their face, it can warp
your understanding of yourself and how you fit in. If you’re thinking, sure, but we’ve always compared
ourselves to pretty people. That’s true, but there’s
evidence to suggest it’s even more
concerning online.One study found
it made women feel worse
when they compared themselvesto beautiful peers
on social media
as opposed to
beautiful celebrities
in traditional media like magazines and in movies. Researchers think that’s because
our peers on social media feel like more relevant
comparisons. They feel more like us. And then there’s
all the likes and comments. Another study found that seeing
someone leave a compliment like, “You look amazing!” on a pretty woman’s photo
on Instagram, made the viewer less happy
with their own body. I leave comments like that on
my friends’ posts all the time, and I really didn’t realize
it was having this effect. It makes sense that the more
we compare ourselves
to good-looking people, the more dissatisfied we are,
and the more beauty work it feels like
we have to do to keep up. And I should also say, I’m wearing makeup
on a professionally lit set. So, I have no high horse here. This says,
“Youth activating concentrate.” Because there’s
a 23-year-old inside me. You just have to activate it
with something like this. I do use this often. ‘Cause it feels really good.
It’s super cold. Cleo:
What is its objective? I’m sure it does nothing. Emma:
Skincare is really expensive.
My facial oils
are an investment, and it’s just never-ending
in the name of self-care. I see these lines,
and they’re just gonna
get worse and worse and worse. And I should actuall
y love them and accept them because they’re lines
that are actually
the result of my life. But they really,
really bother me, and now it’s the first thing
that I see. I see my boyfriend
just roll out of bed and take a shower
and go to work. And when I watch him do that I wonder, you know,
not why can’t I do that, but why does it feel
so bad when I do? – Hello.
– Hey. So we’re gonna talk
about the bigger context here. – Okay.
– Recently, a group
of computer scientists figured out a way
to analyze the language that writers use when
they describe men and women in three and a half million
books in English. We’re talking about both
nonfiction and fiction books. So what they did is they pulled
out the 200 adjectives that were most uniquely used
to describe men and women. And what they found
was that of those words, the ones used to describe women
were twice as likely – to be about their physical
appearance or their bodies.
– Mm. Christophe:
Pretty, fair, beautiful, lovely, charming– those are all kind of words
describing appearance. Whereas like faithful,
responsible, grand,
worthy, adventurous, these are all, like,
character judgments – of who someone actually is.
– Mm-hmm. And these are books
that were published
between the years 1500 and 2008. So what about today? Well, in 2017,
the Pew Research Center did a survey
of American adults, and they asked this really
interesting question, which was, “What traits do people
in our society value most in men
and in women?” – Okay.
– Now, this was
an open-ended question, meaning people could
write anything. But you guys are gonna do the multiple choice version. What do you guys think
the top six responses were? Strength and toughness
I feel like is not gonna be on the female list
for what people value. – Yeah, that’s gotta be
off the list.
– And ambition. People hate those things
in women. Wow, it’s just so hard
to listen to this. Just think of really
( bleep ) up– You both have six down.
You good with them? All right, should Joss
and I rearrange? So the top answers
for women were physical attractiveness,
and then empathy, nurturing, and kindness. The top answers for men were honesty,
and morality, actually, and then second
was professional
and financial success. So those are adults. But maybe it’s getting better
with the next generation. Well, last year
they did a survey
of American teenagers and they asked them
the same question, except for instead
of men and women, it was what does society
value most in girls and what does society
value most in boys? Okay, so, physical
attractiveness was at the top of the list for girls.
In fact, there was even more
consensus among teenagers than there was among adults
that this is what society values – in girls.
– I feel like I have noticed that our commenters
pay a lot of attention to how you two look
and not so much with us. – Yeah, we’ve noticed that, too.
– Cleo: Yeah. But I would say that, like,
mostly they’re positive
about you guys. In so far as
positive comments about
our appearance are positive. A lot of that
is just so gross. It’s gross,
and also we are trying
to look pretty on camera. – Right.
– So where does that leave us? Like, we are trying,
and we have makeup on. And I think that if someone
comments on this video
and says, you know, “Hey, you guys are talking
about these beauty norms and you’re benefiting
directly from them,” I think that’s
a reasonable critique. And actually this is
a really widespread issue. There’s a lot
of research that shows that they way a woman looks,
you know, her weight, how much makeup she wears, can affect things
like her earnings, and how her personality
is perceived. Alex:
It’s kind of like… every aspect of your life you’re getting stared at
and judged. And I think this all comes
from this cultural context that I’ve been telling
you guys about that dates back centuries, which is a world
that cares a lot about the insides of men
and the outsides of women.And this is all causing
what psychologist Renee Engeln
calls beauty sickness.It comes from a culture
that is absolutely obsessed with how women look. Man:A woman’s hair
is like a work of art.
It must have balance
and composition.
Renee:This culture
that never misses a moment
to comment on
a woman’s appearance,
to criticize it.
– She looks quite, uh–
– She looks tired. She’s under pressure.
She looks tired. Man:“Look at that face.
Can you imagine that
the face of our next
– That purple on you
looks spectacular.
– Thanks. Renee:
To keep drawing out attention
over and over again
to how we look.
– I have a beautiful daughter.
– Two beautiful daughters. All:
My beautiful daughters. Jenny, you’ve lost
your baby weight
it looks like already. The world has watched you age.
Has that been a difficult
thing to live through? – You are that sort of poster
child for aging gracefully.
– All: Aging gracefully. Renee:And the minute
your focus shifts to thinking
about how you look,
it did shift away
from something else.
To me, that’s where
the sickness is. And this guy who went to
the school down the street got on the bus
and he was like, “Oh, your legs are so hairy.” And I was like,
“Oh, I guess they are.” And I went home that day
and went and got a razor. I splashed it underneath
the running tap and I dragged it along my leg. I looked at it,
and I cleaned it off with my thumb
and I split my thumb open. I was super freaked out
about getting divorced. And one of my daughters,
who was eight at the time, said to me one day, “Why do you always
look so angry? You have so many lines
on your face.” And I was really angry. She was not wrong.
And I had to deal with that. But I almost immediately
was like, “Oh, my God,
my face is falling apart.” Everybody has a list. My ears stick out. I have this vein in my forehead
that only comes out when I smile really big. So sometimes
I worry about that before I smile
in a photograph. My bangs are awkward,
but I can’t get rid of them because they’re hiding
my forehead. I have these three chin hairs
that are very adventurous. And even though I’m really thin,
I have cellulite. Every time I feel insecure
about something, I guess I do something
to make up for it. Like, my eyebrows,
I feel insecure, I dyed it. For my ears, I feel insecure,
I got piercings. My eyelashes,
I got extensions. That’s the truth. So, it seems like we’re being
presented this endless list of things that we can do now
to beautify ourselves. – Expensive things.
– Expensive things. – Woman:Eyelash extensions.
– Man:May be the new standard.The fastest growing type
of cosmetic surgery–
butt implants. – Sparkle tattooing.
– The price ranges
from $600 to $800. Microblading.
It’s a form of permanent
cosmetic tattooing – for your eyebrows.
– The vampire facial uses
your own blood on your face. And we’re gonna show
you one of them. – This one.
– Oh– – Face gym.
– It’s a gym for your face. – For your face.
– It’s a workout for your face. It does kind of scare me
because it reminds me
of, like, body image, like how they say
there’s a skinny person
hiding beneath you. So maybe underneath this face there’s a sculpted
chiseled chin in there. – Yeah.
– Oh, my God. – That’s exactly it.
– That is the idea. – Are you guys ready?
– I think so. – Let’s do it.
– Okay. See you in an hour. Yeah. It is Alex. – A-L-E-X. Clark.
– Uh-huh. – What does this headline mean?
– Work it. Don’t fake it. Just, like,
a natural approach to,
you know, making your face look
the best that it can be. As opposed to makeup? Makeup, Botox filler. I mean, a lot of people
that come here do get both. So you wanna get started? – Yeah.
– Perfect. Going to the gym. So whatever you do,
go really intense. Oh, cardio. Ooh. Do you get facials or anything
done to your face often? – No. I never have.
– No?( music playing )Joss: This is one
of those Botox places that are popping up all over
cities like New York. And, actually,
the use of Botox
has increased over 800% – since 2000.
– Really? And the use of fillers
has increased over 300%. It doesn’t seem like
we can build a society that expects women to be
young and beautiful
above all else, then flood society with products
that promise just that, and then judge them
for buying them? Like, no.
( bleep ) that. Cleo:
92% of cosmetic procedures are performed on women. It’s the inequality
between what women
are expected to do and what men are expected to do
that really makes me angry. Oh, wow. I’m so tense right now. ( grunts ) Oh, that’s so weird down there. Oh, that’s too much.
That is too much. I just have no sense
of perspective on the kind of painful
beauty treatments that women do all the time. Around 15, you realize
that beauty is pain. Ooh!( music playing )– Can I take this off?
– Yeah. – You guys done?
– So? We’re done.
How do we look? Do I feel moist? – Oh, so moist.
– So moist? I liked it a lot. Joss: Now what is that
supposed to do? Make you beautiful? As beauty standards become
more open and welcoming, it’s great.
It’s an amazing thing. But it also is still true that beauty
is still the point at which we are judging people. Like, it is still
the metric of value. Beauty culture is so much
more interesting and approachable and diverse
than it’s ever been before. And that is wonderful. But maybe it can make it seem like we’ve made
more progress than we have. Tiffany:
I think we’re beginning
to see some changes,
but our definitions
of beauty are connected
to other systems of power
in our society and culture.They’re connected
to ideas about class,
to ideas about what race is.It really will take the
dismantling of systems of power
for beauty to be
truly democratized.
Renee:I would love to see
our representations
of beauty diversified.
But what I would love to see
even more than that,
is just less concern with how
beautiful women are period. Emma:
And I think that we need
to start complimenting women
less on, “Oh, I love the way
your hair looks today,” and more like, “Oh, I love
what you said in that meeting.” And just focusing more
on what we have to offer aside from the way we look. Renee:
I’m all for positive
self statements.
But I’d much rather
hear those statements
address other parts
of who women are.
Parts that you don’t
have to see in a mirror. What words would you
most want people to use
when they describe you? Kind.
I really, really hope that I would be
described as kind.Resourceful, resilient.– Determined.
– Creative. Curious and skeptical. Charming. Free. I want them
to say she’s free. And I wanna hear
those things now, y’all. So maybe the goal
isn’t to change how we talk about beauty. Maybe it’s to talk
about beauty less.( music playing )Thanks for watching.
If you’re looking for more episodes
of “Glad You Asked,” you can find them right there. And if you want more amazing
learning content from YouTube, you can find it right there. “Glad You Asked,”
“YouTube Learning.”

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Huge thanks to the women who came to talk to us about beauty culture and how it plays out in their lives: Mona, Emma, Nina, Rihma, and Arlinda.

    What words would you most like people to use when they describe you? We’d love to hear in the comments.

    Keep an eye out for new, free episodes of Glad You Asked every Wednesday. And don't forget to subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications (🔔) to get more Vox videos:

    —Cleo and Joss

  2. It is the magazines ….which is bullshitting. I have scars on my forehead and it is alright . It doesn't affect how I am.. and it shouldn't for anyone . Not that it wouldn't…but It shouldn't

  3. As you started to talk about words that describe women and men, something kinda clicked. Most of the standards and descriptions for each are largely from what society deems to be what a person should look for in a prospective partner. Men are considered to be more desirable on what's inside of them and women on what is out.

  4. Are this people serious?
    Next episode: Are dentists ripping us off by promoting a culture with white teeth? Isn't it racist that white teeth mean beautiful teeth?
    On the same topic: Are 10 cats enough to fill the void in your soul, when you're 40 and childless?

  5. Because I realised I couldn't get myself to go out without makeup, I tried to stop wearing it overall for a few weeks. After that I just never wore it again even though my eyelashes and eyebrows are white and almost invisible aaa but it saves me so much time and has made me more confident!

  6. One of the reasons my boyfriend liked me is that he found me you be very "natural". In fact what happens is that I don't wear makeup; only lipstick every now and then.

  7. I am starting to get bored watching the beauty YouTube rs ! I think it's also sunk in that I'm really being I influenced lol 🙄🤣. No more.

  8. I was way more insecure as a teenager. Now with my 25 years I am comfortable in my own body not because I think I am super beautiful but because I accept myself. And beauty is not that important that it should define how I feel about my own person.

  9. Hey! I absolutely love this video, as a woman I am saying. Please make a video about men and the societal pressure put on them like they have to have abs, they can't be house husbands' etc. DON'T leave them out.

  10. Complimenting someone if they looked good is not bad but it should not overshadow their achievements like oh! For your age you did really well! I would be like what's that supposed to mean

  11. I think men are affected by this too, just definitelly not as much as women. It would be nice if we talked about how it affects men, bcs it's different.

  12. I can't keep up seriously my make up bag has gone from a simple medium size to 3 boxs full not including the 60+ make up brushes I have more make up brushes than a blooming artist on canvas seriously oh nor forgetting the beauty sponge or what ever it is called I got another bag of them .

  13. Is hijab not the better option then, than letting people judge you from your head to toe!? People need to understand why so many Muslims proudly and willingly wear hijabs.

  14. I love make up… for me. I like changing my look everyday. 💄💋 And my nails. It’s my mommie downtime. Instagram is really Insta-filter. When I left Facebook (never started Instagram or Twitter) I started enjoying it for me and only me. I kind of have to since I have no online audience. It’s freedom.

  15. I never were make up because I'm partially always scared I'll love myself more with make up then without, and I don't think you should live not wanting to go out the door bare faced , so what the others were make up .. if you don't start making a difference by not wearing it then who will?!?

  16. This made me cry within….I work in producing cosmetics and beauty products, it's an endless journey of what will suit the skin what will not, what's more effective. Despite all this somewhere deep down we would still be doing something about our appearance no matter what. It's so sad but true…really it's exhausting… I get exhausted with my work too sometimes.

  17. Actually, I truly don’t care. If I look beautiful to my self that’s all that metters. My classmate say “I can show you a tutorial how to take care of your hair” and ect. I’m like “No thanks”. Really, why to look beautiful it is such a big deal? I have better things to do

  18. You can't simply "deconstruct culture". Culture are ideas, they can be changed, never destroyed. Too much emphasis is being put on culture in this debate, when really it's moreso biology that dictates culture generally. An "inclusive" culture is impossible, simply because the pressures which create culture are imherently built upon competetiveness. The competetiveness can never be removed, the goalpost can only be shifted.

  19. las mujeres les encanta seducir, que le digan qué hermosa estas, y después son victimizadas por culpa de la industria de la belleza. NO ME IMPORTA lo qué digan de mi belleza, mi madre murió de cáncer a los 39 años y eso es lo importante la SALUD FÍSICA y MENTAL.

  20. Women just have a wrong idea of beauty. Make-up should be used minimally. A healthy body should be priority. A lot of women could spare a lot of money if they would do fitness or play sports instead of buying so much make-up, tattoo's and/or piercings.

  21. "At age 15 you really understand that beauty is pain"…. Wow. This is so true. I can't believe how much this resonates with me.

  22. Well, i passed months without wearing makeup and the difference in my life: nothing. I still love makeup, i do some makeup tutorials on my ig who have 0 followers. The pressure is on our mind. You do if you like, don't put yourself down.

  23. You can't go against the nature, men like beautiful women and women love successfull men. Hate it or love it, but it's the way it is.

  24. Dear Vox Audience,
    Please pay attention to what the women hosts are saying in this video
    In the future leave a comment about content not their physical appearance
    Compliment their intelligence, worth ethic and so on!

  25. The fact that I see 12 year olds at my school wearing a lot of makeup really says something about the pressure we have to look perfect everyday. I mean even kids think of makeup as an essential.

  26. It’s not that bad in the West…women in South Asia and the Far East are never accepted if we are overweight or dark skinned! They all love petit and light skinned women! Dark skinned women cannot become top models in Asia…🤷🏻‍♀️

  27. I’ve never worn makeup in my entire life, and I’ve also never experienced insecurity about my appearance. I wonder if there could be a correlation…hm….

  28. Just remember, EVERYONE faces the challenges that beauty culture bring! Women, Men, Transgenders, Adults, Kids… So next time give someone a compliment about a character trait, an action, or something they said. "Aimee you are always so caring" "That was pretty cool that you took the new hires to lunch Tom" "Thanks for having my back in there"

  29. Doh. They sell vanity and narcissism. We've all been warned about that for centuries. Its vanity that makes a woman weak

  30. I simply look much better with makeup 💄 and red lipstick. It’s like my war paint 😉 I don’t judge woman who don’t ware makeup, its just a my personal preference to wear makeup.

  31. skincare culture has definitely given me an irrational fear of aging. i had a panic attack last week because my 20th birthday is coming up and i heard that’s when the body’s collagen production begins to slow down. how is that normal?

  32. What an absolutely fantastic video. I learned about experiences outside of my own perspective and was genuinely entertained the entire time.

    I watch a lot of YouTube videos that I “learn” from but these days only a minority of them stick. This feels like one that’s gonna stick.

  33. I do really like going out bareface, only using sunscreen. But now I work in a place that demands me to use make up. Can't wait for my contract will end then I'll be free again. 😆

  34. im 15 and i never wear make up unless i rly want to but on the holidays i dressed up a lot and the comments i got about "how girly i looked" "how nice i look" "how beautiful i was" its just that i shouldn't have to dress up to get comments bcz my beauty is still here with or without make up

  35. Here I thought u would talk about the waste of natural materials, child labor and millions made on something u don't need.

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