The Science Of Cosmetics Essay, Research Paper
The Science of Cosmetics
Women today have a great deal of pressure to deal with. They often have to worry about their careers, relationships, and appearance. A woman’s appearance is often one of her primary concerns. Whether she is a cold corporate executive or common housewife, she is always striving to meet society’s conception of beauty.
This ad is for the Glycel skin revitalization system. It is a product developed by the Schaefer Institute in Switzerland. Glycel uses a type of patented compound in the Glycosphingolipid category, to make old skin look younger. There are five Glycel, products all of which contain the mysterious Glycosphingolipid compound. The Cellular Toner, Treatment Activator, Cellular Eye Creme, Anti-Aging Creme, and the Glycel lotion.
This ad is sending a disturbing message to women. It is advertising five different products, all of them having the sole purpose of changing the way she looks. It states, “It is, in fact, on the skin that the effects of aging are most visible and perhaps most disturbing.” What kind of message is this sending to women? It is saying that a woman must look good to be appreciated. Women have gained a status nearly equal to men in the last twenty years. They hold a variety of high level positions and surpass men in many ways, but they still look to their appearance as a primary source of self-esteem. Susan Douglas writes, “Lasch identified what he saw as a new trend, the emergence of people who seemed self-centered and self-satisfied but were really deeply anxious about what others thought of them.”p119 This statement effectively describes today’s woman. She is independent in many ways, but still consumed with self-doubt when it comes to her appearance. Every day she gets up to see an aging face in the mirror, but instead of seeing a mature independent woman she sees an old hag. The lack of self-esteem is startling when compared to other cultures. Many cultures see aging as a positive thing, as one gets older they become more mature, powerful, and respected. The media is one of the main factors responsible for this inferiority complex. Women are bombarded by information that says they must look young and have the perfect body. The Barbie doll among other thing begins this brainwashing process at an early age. Considering that Barbie represents our concept of the perfect woman, we can understand why many teen girls worry about nonexistent aesthetic problems. The ad uses science as its main marketing strategy. It uses many technical terms such as “Glycosphingolipid” and “treatment activator”. In fact, it shows the actual chemical bond structure of the Glycosphingolipid molecule. There is no logical reason for this because only an organic chemist would be able to decipher it. Douglas writes:
As we read other ads for competing products (and there was no shortage of them), a pattern started to emerge. Nearly all the cosmetics companies referred to their products as “systems.” These systems “penetrate” the “intercellular structure” of the skin, increasing “microcirculation.” Using only the most advanced “delivery systems,” presumably inspired by NASA, the Pentagon, and Star Wars p123
What is the purpose of this flood of techno-gibberish? Primarily it makes their product look better, but at the same time it alienates women and reinforces their narcissistic personality.
This ad is definitely damaging to a woman’s self image, just like the other hundreds of similar ads in mainstream media. Idealistically we should not let this kind of advertising continue, but this would be unrealistic. Cosmetics are an integral part of many women’s lives, and mere logic would not be enough to change years of conditioning. Men would also be unhappy if we tried to change things; most men want their women to look young and pretty. Supposing that this did take place it would be very interesting. There would be an overall rise in women’s self-esteem, they would gain more confidence in themselves, and they would probably accomplish more. This would cause men to respect them more and start looking at them as individuals instead of mere sex objects. The economic factor would also become very important. The millions of dollars that are spent on cosmetics each year would be diverted to other areas. Although this would be devastating to the cosmetics industry, many others would benefit from the redirected funds. On the other hand, if we were to let this kind of advertising continue we would not see much change. Women are currently in a state between independence and submissiveness. They are independent, but they still hold onto earlier views of femininity. Therefore, they would continue to be narcissistic and keep putting great importance on their aesthetic qualities.
All women worry about their appearance. The cosmetic industry takes advantage of their insecurities by claiming to have a solution. By depending on cosmetics women increase their insecurities, and reaffirm their narcissistic personalities. The only solution for this problem is for women to start placing more importance on how they see themselves, instead of how others see them.