Why this fascination with beauty?
The demand for beauty services in spite of the economy?
Even when there is a recession, beauty parlours still flourish. Beauty products still fly off the shelves.
There is this saying that beauty is skin deep.
Then again, first impressions count.
Put it this way. Beauty is power. That was true centuries ago. That is true today.
When a beautiful woman walks into a bar, men flock to her and offer to buy her drinks. When an unattractive woman walks into the same bar, chances are, she would have to buy her own drinks.
A beautiful salesperson, man or woman is more likely to win the sale. Between a beautiful job seeker and an unattractive one, all other things being equal, the employer is likely to choose the good looker.
Like it or not, looks do count.
In the past, when women were dependent on men to support them, beauty was everything to a woman. A beautiful woman would have more suitors. She would be able to marry up. To marry a rich man who could take care of all her financial needs and that of her children. Long before commercial cosmetics existed, mothers would instruct their daughters on traditional beauty remedies. Simple beauty remedies like using mayonnaise as a moisturizer, or egg white as a firming mask were often used by women in the days before commercial cosmetics.
Then along came women entrepreneurs like Estee Lauder [http://www.womanht.com/esteelauder/] and other women from around the world. They converted traditional beauty recipes which worked for themselves into beauty creams that they sold to other women. Every woman has a right to look her most beautiful and these women were selling others their beauty secrets.
Make up was used to paint women's faces. In Egypt, the nobles, royalty and the well off would paint their eyes with khol, with crushed beetles and exotic ingredients. In Europe, women would paint their faces with make up containing toxic mercury for the sake of beauty. In Japan, the geishas would whiten their faces with creams that contain nightingale droppings.
You would think by now, we modern women would have learnt our lesson. Now, we just inject poison into our faces to paralyze our facial muscles in order to prevent expression lines from deepening as we grow older. Think of those botox injections done every 3 months to erase those wrinkles. Think of the acids we smear on our faces to smoothen them. The dermabrasion procedures done at the dermatologist in order to smoothen our skin.
Women all over the world have always been willing to suffer for the sake of beauty. Long ago, in China, women in wealthy families would bind their feet. The Chinese back then view tiny feet as beautiful, so little girls have their feet bound, to prevent them from growing big and ugly. Now that long legs are considered beautiful, some women go through a very painful medical procedure that breaks their legs, and stretches their legs by a few millimeters a day through a painful device until they attain the height they want. With their newfound height, these girls can look forward to a wealthy, glamorous future as an international model.
In Europe, centuries ago, wasp waists and curvy bodies were considered beautiful, so corsets were worn to make the waist look much smaller. These were tied so tightly that women faint easily. All for the sake of beauty. Now, corsets are in again. These days, women and men subject themselves to surgery to attain the beauty they desire. Liposuction to remove the excess fat to contour the body. Breast augmentation for bigger breasts that are considered beautiful. Nose jobs, face lifts, the works.
Thankfully, there is also a return to natural beauty remedies. This time, commercial cosmetics use natural ingredients that women have used for centuries in the home beauty preparations. These are effective and great for the skin.
What we women really should do is to focus on inner beauty, and to keep ourselves healthy.
Health is beauty.
8 to 10 hours of sleep every night, fresh food, fresh air, daily exercise, drinking plenty of water every day, soap and water, or cleanser and toner, moisturizer where necessary and sun protection all day long. All that keeps your body healthy and your skin and hair, beautiful. Oh, and learn to age gracefully. After all, aging is a natural process in life.