During the course of this month’s blogging, I briefly noted the effects of external influences on our sense of self, how we perceive our value to society, and our basic sense of worthiness as a human being. (https://donnacerame.com/2014/11/16/more-than-meets-the-eye/)
I admit, I paused before pressing ‘publish’ on that post. Having gone my entire life not making waves, standing on the sidelines to support whatever or whomever had the courage to speak up or speak out, I decided it’s time for me to join the conversation. I’m glad that I did.
This conversation has stirred up some interesting discussion. I hoped it would.
I wear several ‘hats’, like most of us do. You already know that I am a mom and a wife. I’ve also briefly mentioned my studies in consciousness and my work with clients. Each of these areas has been touched by this experience of unmasking, and it’s been interesting to hear others’ take on what this is all about — what drives women’s need to wear make up. Some of it has surprised me.
So I did a bit of research to see what was at stake here. To understand why people had such strong opinions about the whole issue, I looked at the numbers — specifically the gross income of the cosmetics industry (yes, that could be taken as a pun) and of the personal care industry overall. Make no mistake about it — there’s a lot of money to be made from our insecurities and our aversion to aging!
While the economy took a hit overall in 2008 and the few years that followed, the personal care industry and specifically the cosmetics industry experienced significantly less of a slow down as customers switched from higher end products to less expensive lines. (Translation, women who purchased their cosmetics at a department store switched to products purchased at a chain drug store.)
Here’s a link to a great blog post that includes an interesting five minute video of the fashion/cosmetics industry: http://brandongaille.com/26-cosmetics-industry-statistics-and-trends/
In spite of the economy, people still want to feel good about themselves and how they look. Men have also been targeted as a new market for the personal care and cosmetics industry, creating a bump in the industry’s growth which appears to have stabilized and is now sustainable. And with the ever-growing numbers of baby boomers entering their senior years, the sales of anti-aging products is only going to continue to grow, as well.
Armed with these figures, I understood the boom in salons adding spa services to their menu of offerings.My conversation with one of the partners who happened to be in the reception area last week when I went for my cut and color intrigued me. He stated that in the thirty plus years he’s been in the beauty business, he’s come to the conclusion that women ‘do this to themselves, and that we are our own worst enemies.’
To a certain extent, he has a valid point. But I had to bring up outside influences such as the proliferation of television and print ads we grew up with. Add the barrage of advertising online and in social media that we say we don’t pay attention to, and it’s difficult to place all the blame on women alone. My studies during the past years tells another story: our subconscious takes in everything in its environment. We are registering all of the messages, subliminal and otherwise, and they are coming in loud and clear whether we acknowledge them or not.
Which brings me to the conversation going on in another area of my life: the ‘spiritual’ or ‘metaphysical’. Where I have found the discussion strays is when I am told that the cosmetic industry is an extension of one’s own consciousness and that when one clears one’s relationship with their sense of worth is healed, the need for the industry will no longer be necessary. In other words, the only change we can effect is changing ourselves and that adds to the collective awareness.
I know this is going to draw a bit of flack from my peers. If we are to be open to all possibilities, we have to consider the very real possibility that the numbers don’t lie. There is a lot of money to be made in the cosmetics and personal care industry… just like there’s a lot of money to be made in the health care industry — maintaining disease rather than wellness as a life choice. That is something nearly everyone in the alternative/consciousness field can agree on.
I realize that we cannot change an entire society in one instant. It would be naive to think otherwise. When society can create an alternative to the necessity for earning money, there will no longer be the need for industries that exploit our insecurities and fears for a profit, if that is what we perceive is going on.
And this is what we can change: our perception.
Engaging in this experience from a neutral point has made the world of difference for me. I am no longer conscious of whether or not I have make up on when I am talking to someone, and am surprised when I catch my reflection in a mirror or store window. I went from being uncomfortable in my own skin to knowing that my smile is what is seen before anything else. There is a quote I came across the other day which is one that has stayed with me. Where I was telling myself, “What other people think of me is none of my business,” to get over my self-consciousness, I now remind myself that “People don’t remember how I look, they remember how I made them feel.”
This all being said, I encourage you to at least watch the video on the blog link provided above. You will see that many in the fashion and cosmetics industries believe they are providing fantasy and illusion for those seeking relief from their lives… a lot like the movie industry, or a good work of fiction. Can those industries be any less vilified than that of cosmetics? Besides, who doesn’t love a little magic in their lives?
However we chose to engage in this discussion, there are options to our perception. It’s up to us to choose how we engage.
And if that’s all we do, it’s a lot.
Copyright 2014 by Donna Cerame. All rights reserved.