The Consumerism Of The Beauty And Fashion Industries Distracts Us From Our True Femininity

Like the other billions of women worldwide, I’m susceptible to the beauty trends that flood my social media feed. And I, too, have succumbed to the consumerist frenzy in the past and present, thinking maybe this beauty product will be my solution. But I’ve realized this incessant consumerist orientation deeply affects our view of femininity and distracts us from discovering beauty within ourselves.

By Jessica Kidwell3 min read
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Most of us have experienced browsing on the web, and your whole screen is completely covered in ads. Annoying as that is, it can be easy to fall down that rabbit hole. Wide-eyed scrolling through the relatively new Instagram Shopping feature, companies find an even better way to market to teens and young women. According to one statistic from Deals on Health, 96% of beauty brands are active on social media.

Ads constantly convince us that we’d die without buying this new version of this yoga pant in this color from this brand right this minute. But the idea that we must buy every sweater in every color and every shade of lipstick only detracts and distracts us from our own inherent, natural beauty. Dependently living on the latest trends for only temporary satisfaction hardly sounds fulfilling or sustainable. In this distraction from pursuing and embracing our inner beauty, we trap ourselves in this exhausting, fast-paced cycle of these unachievable beauty standards that no woman can financially or emotionally afford to keep up with. 

Femininity Is Simplicity and Virtue

No amount of money can satisfy these ever-changing consumer “needs,” which is why I find refuge in the timeless motto “beauty is simplicity.” There is more to femininity and true beauty; to be beautiful in the most classy way is to draw that from yourself in simple ways.

The most beautiful women I know are elegant, intelligent, confident, and kind. By this, I don’t mean you can only be beautiful if you ditch the makeup and live a completely minimalist lifestyle. However, I think there is substance to finding more thoughtful, sustainable ways to feel beautiful, whether that’s integrating healthier habits into your lifestyle, affirmations, treating others well, or perhaps all of the above!

Beauty and truth are found in simplicity, “not in the multiplicity and confusion of things,” as Newton said. This is so applicable today in our lure toward over-consumption of material things. It’s difficult to reorient this kind of mentality ingrained in us daily in all types of media, but this “perfect image” of femininity that big corporations portray is detrimental to women’s health and is disastrous to our perceptions of our own self-worth. In the grand scheme of things, society’s image of what a woman should be is what really needs to change, but in the meantime, we need to start finding and embracing the beauty within ourselves.

A woman’s spirit and attitude are powerful contributors to her beauty and femininity. 

True beauty is, firstly, virtue, and virtue is timeless. A woman’s spirit and attitude are powerful contributors to her beauty and femininity. A woman with confidence and dignity, who treats her body respectfully, is a woman others look up to. Femininity is being a role model to younger women, directly or indirectly. In today’s world, we need women who will teach and lead others by example on the beauty, simplicity, and virtue of femininity. Women who can truly navigate what femininity represents are the women who can re-center its understanding.

What We Can Do

Instead of spending what Financial Best Life averages for women as $150-$400 per month on clothing, try to find fashion staples that will last, are flattering to you and your body, and accentuate your vibe! Instead of buying loads of cheap clothes from companies notorious for child labor, try thrifting or clothing swaps! Most women, myself included, are guilty of only wearing 20% of the clothing in their closets, evidence that the allure of consumerism has made fashion and a sense of style about having the most stuff you can. 

Consult Pinterest or other websites for help finding what flatters your body type and style the best! I have found that understanding what looks best on my body and what complements my personality has led me to spend much less money than when I was confused in the chaos and cluttered complexity of fast fashion. Understanding who you are as a woman is key to finding pieces that accentuate and complement your femininity. 

Beauty is in simplicity, so finding staples that you can mix and match not only saves you money, but allows you to focus less time on rifling through your wardrobe finding the perfect outfit, and more time on how you conduct yourself as a woman. Evaluating your composure as a woman is important in today's world where the Instagram image seems to be the only thing people focus on. 

The number of Gucci bags and Ulta products you have doesn’t determine how classy and put-together of a woman you are. Neither does the number of likes and comments on a post, or how much you spend on a “clothing haul” at the mall. Having the courage to evaluate yourself in terms of what’s on the inside is what’s important. Spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora won’t ease a woman’s deepest insecurities, but facing them head-on will. The greatest testament of a woman is how she holds herself, rather than how much money she spends on her closet. 

The greatest testament of a woman is how she holds herself, not how much money she spends on her closet.

The beauty industry, worth about $511 billion, plays on this exact mentality and lack of self-esteem: that you will buy this product because without it, you are not what beauty is and you won’t fit in. 

Beauty in Moderation

Fashion and beauty in moderation of quantity and quality is where real femininity lies. In the past few years, society has taken a step toward rejecting the beauty standards of the past, but maybe a step in the wrong direction. In efforts to accept everyone and every idea, with the help of social virtue signaling, we have normalized the wrong things for profit and have turned beauty into a material thing that you can buy. We have abandoned the virtues of femininity for what is unveiled with just a bit of critical thinking – the insincerity, superficiality, and deception of industries ready to prey on your self-doubt. 

Closing Thoughts

We as humans find beauty in many different places, and the first thing that comes to mind when you think of beauty abstractly is definitely not the short-lived fashion trends. As women, our femininity has been influenced and corrupted by these industries, force-feeding us a perverted image of what women “should” be and look like. Our responsibility in this age is recognizing this, and finding beauty in our femininity outside our shopping carts and within our hearts and minds instead.

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