Beauty is the Beast –

By Meron Worku

If you’ve ever felt unattractive, or undesirable, or just painfully average in your appearance, this is for you.

Here is the reality. The beauty inclusion project is a myth designed to make us think that more people can be included; but in reality we are only included in the logic of consumerism.

Whenever you see celebrities posting how happy they are that the beauty industry is becoming more inclusive, it all means a black or plus-size or trans model comes into the picture. While these small victories should be celebrated, it is important to recognize that these people are in positions of authority where they can take a stand and begin to move forward to create a larger space for those who are unrepresented.

While researching “inclusion in beauty”, I discovered a video manufactured by Vogue which has various models speaking out about representation in the beauty industry.

I found this ironic, given that Vogue is on the cutting edge of fashion and hasn’t taken any steps to make its magazine fully inclusive. It’s a great example of brands using diversity as a trend to make themselves appear more inclusive.

What is happening now is that the center of beauty is shifting in a way that reaffirms the logic of the center. What this means is that there are so many ways the center expands a bit, but it will always be the minimum expansion, so it never overwhelms everyone.

For example, when beauty beyond Eurocentric beauty standards began to be considered and people of color began to be included in this idea of ​​”beauty”, it was limited to mixed-race/light-skinned people who were skinny. It was this idea that POCs can be included, but they can’t be too dark or too big, and they have to be valid. There are always restrictions, although there are exceptions. If the system was inclusive, if everyone could be involved, the construction itself would collapse.

If everyone were “beautiful”, the concept of beauty would no longer have any value. I’m not saying beauty can’t be found in everyone, because it definitely is. What I’m saying, though, is that beauty as a construct is exploited under capitalism and consumerism to sell us things we don’t need to convince us we’re not enough; subsequently instilling in us a desperate need to purchase these items. This is the logic of consumerism that we are included in – the only thing that we are included in, essentially.

I want you to take a second and think about all the things you bought because you were sure it would make you look better. What made you want to buy them? A billboard ? A tik tok? Someone you saw on social media? If you think about the lengths we have gone to as humans to be seen as “beautiful” by the western world, it’s extremely sad.

Examples of this are self-bleaching, harmful plastic procedures, and restrictive diets, all of which are still used today. There will always be an infinitesimal part of us that wants to be wanted, that wants to be appreciated – and it is in our human nature to crave these things. But go all the way to feel wanted, to the point of seriously harming our quality of life? What does this say about us and the world we live in? What does this mean for our young people? Our perception of ourselves is so skewed and the standards we are held to are unrealistic.

Now more than ever, it’s important that we recognize that “beauty inclusiveness” is a term that means nothing in terms of representation, and we need to stop trying to conform to what society wants us to be perfect.

Meron Worku and Karen Lin are in 11th and 10th grade respectively at Eagle Rock Jr/Sr High School

Jeremy S. McLain