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What is beauty? September 18, 2007

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.
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A simple question, but hard to find an answer to…

Is it about accepting imperfections and enhancing your best bits? Or is it about striving for perfection and hiding all signs of aging?

Personally, I would argue it is the former; but then I would say that because I am originally from Belgium and research has found that the natural look is popular in Europe, with the exception of the UK.

Women in northern Europe are less anxious about their looks and spend less on beauty products than their counterparts in Italy and Spain. However, UK is not following this trend; 59% of women in the UK feel under increasing pressure to look more attractive.

Why this difference? According to Isabella Lepri, an anthropologist from the London School of Economics, the celebrity culture is to blame. I think she may be right. In Belgium, there are no tabloids or celebrity magazines; there is just not a market for such press. Belgian girls are not that bothered about celebrities and therefore they don’t aspire to look like one. Of course, they want to look good – who doesn’t? – but they prefer understated beauty.

It is these observations that make me think celebrity culture is one of the reasons why women in the UK feel more pressure to look good and this is not likely to change overnight. With women spending more on beauty products each year, it is no surprise the UK beauty industry is considered a key market in Europe, worth more than £1bn a year. Looking like a celebrity does not come cheap…

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