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[Y-SPACE] The beauty industry profits off of our insecurities, and some fail to even realize it

by Ariane Beatrice A. De Castro

Belo Medical Group came under fire because of the controversial ad titled “The Pandemic Effect'', which has now been deleted. In the said video, a conventionally attractive woman is shown before the pandemic. As the pandemic progresses, significant changes with the woman’s body like weight gain, growth of body hair, dark under eyes, and acne were shown. Netizens were not happy because of the ad’s insensitivity and body shaming theme. The said ad even trended on Twitter. This exact scenario is one good epitome of what I am saying, although it is only a surface of how the beauty industry exploits our self-hatred.

In the Philippines, it’s almost normal to see skin whitening advertisements everywhere. On billboards, televisions, through the internet, in radios, in supermarkets. Name it. These advertisements will never fail to make you feel like your skin is not enough, especially if you’re morena. The biggest irony of this is that they hire mestizas as endorsers!

Besides skin whitening products, slimming teas/coffees and diet pills are also being heavily promoted everywhere. If there’s anything that these things tell us, it is how we are never enough for the beauty standards. So what choice does it leave to those who are not very confident with their image? Nothing but to patronize these products. Can we blame them for it? Not really, because the beauty industry is the one responsible for perpetuating the idea of unrealistic “perfection.”

The industry deserves to be held accountable for the irreversible damage that it contributed to people’s unhealthy self-image. To some, it even caused body dysmorphia, self-loathing and unresolvable trauma. This is why we should be advocating for inclusion and representation. More people should be able to see themselves in magazines, televisions, and billboards.

Wrinkles, cellulite, untoned skin, stretch marks, dark skin, large built, curly/kinky hair, should not be deemed imperfect. It’s time that we let go of the unrealistic standards that cause people to hate themselves, and instead treat every type of body as worthy of love and acceptance.

The worst kind of insecurity is the one you’re not even aware of until someone points it out. But unfortunately, that is how the beauty industry sells by making normal things seem flawed. What should have been ordinary turns into something that needs to be fixed? Although we cannot instantly change how the beauty market works, we can start one step at a time beginning with changing how we perceive beauty. It’s about time that we accept that beauty comes in different shades, sizes, and shapes and how there is more to beauty than just the existing eurocentric standard. In this way, more Filipinos will be encouraged to improve our body because we love our bodies, and not because we hate it. This allows for healthier changes and not temporary ones rooted in self-hatred. We can all do better.

Ariane Beatrice A. De Castro is a 2nd Year Legal Management Student in Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She has always been passionate about fighting animal cruelty and neglect, being a fur parent herself to 5 adorable dogs. She is hoping to inspire the Filipino youth in joining the call for the safety of every animal’s welfare, especially the strays.

YSPACE is a platform open for young writers to contribute their worth-sharing thoughts and stories to the world. It is a space for young people and by the young people which aims to promote a strong sense of empowerment and inspiration to young Filipinos.

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