as if / Civilization / Economy / Fashion / Racism

Cosmetics

File:Henderson's Fashion Hip Corsets.jpg

Dark skinned people are being told they have to get light-skinned. So they sell them bleaching creams.
Light-skinned people are being told they have to get brown. So they sell them solarium hours, tanning creams and beach holidays
Straight haired people are being told they have to have wavy hair, so they are selling them perms.
Curly haired people are being told they have to have straight hair so they are selling them hair straighteners.
Frizzy hair people are being told they have to have curls so they are selling them hair relaxers.
Bald people are being told they have to have hair so they are selling them wigs.
Dark haired people are being told they have to be blond so they are selling them hair bleach.
Blond people are being told they have to be dark haired so they are selling them hair coloring.
People dressed in last year’s clothes are being told their clothes are out of fashion so they are selling them new ones.
Chubby people are being told they have to be slim so they are selling them diet products.
People with Asian eyes are being told they have to have European eyes so they are selling them plastic surgery.
People with body hair are being told they should be without so they are selling them depilation treatments.
Small people are being told they have to be taller so they are selling them high heel shoes.
Women with small breasts are being told they have to have larger ones so they are selling them silicon pads.
Women with big buttocks are being told they have to have flatter ones so they are selling them liposuction.
Women with flat buttocks are being told they have to have bigger ones so they are selling them padded panties.
People with wrinkled skin are being told they have to have smooth skin so they are selling them Botox treatments.
People with old faces are being told they have to have younger ones so they are selling them face lifts.
People with thin muscles are being told they have to have thick ones so they are selling them training equipment.
… (Artificial eye lashes, nail polish, lipstick, perfume, hair extension, tattoos, piercings …)

The principle is to enclose you in an as-if-construction so you are convinced you are not all right. So you have a problem. And here is the solution. Just buy…

This is a resource for economic growths. It’s a market. It’s a business.

Since our economy is growth based, they find every imaginable market niche of this type. As a result, we see more and more liposuctioned, face-lifted, botoxed, hair-straitened, permed, pierced, depilated, hair-colored, tattooed, etc. people.

But it is wicked.

The principle is to undermine your self-esteem, to let you think something is not all right with you.

The simple solution is to step out of these as-if-constructions. Stop putting each other under peer pressure and stop responding to it. And step out of the competitions. Find out who you are yourself. Be free.

Letting marketing people define an “identity” for you is a form of violence. Don’t take it.

You may have your personal preferences about what type of people you find beautiful, and that is O.K. But defining one type of person as a beauty ideal is a form of psychic violence and indignity against everybody else.

In fact, “Miss elections” have a lot in common with racism: people are grouped and ranked according to superficial properties of how they look, and then treated differently based on that.

(The picture is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Henderson%27s_Fashion_Hip_Corsets.jpg)

16 thoughts on “Cosmetics

  1. This an important aspect of the capitalist profit machine.

    The constant indoctrination, from cradle to grave, creates a malleable population easily manipulated by Bernaysian propaganda methodology.

    The same principles are also used by the imperial ministry of propaganda to manufacture patriotism .

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
    Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

    “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
    Steve Biko

    • Excelent citations. Both really have a point.
      However, just two remarks about the two authors.
      1. One should note, that Bernays himself was one of those who he is talking about here🙂 He is one of the inventors of “public relations”.

      2. I think that the Black Consciousness movement that Biko founded together with others, while being important, does not go far enough.
      In my view, their mistake is to accept the black-white distinction. They take it as something factual, a physical or biological fact. They live in a world in which races exists. But the division of people into races is an as-if-construction invented by racists in order to exploit people. If you define yourself as a “proud black”, you define yourself in terms of this same artificial distinction. In a way, that is perverse.

      I think that the distinction should instead be rejected. Instead of saying “I am black and I am proud of it” people should say “are you people nuts to distinguish between ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’? We are just human beings”. Accepting the distinction leads to a form of racism itself. I am living in a multi-ethnic family (see my article https://asifoscope.org/2012/11/30/being-cross-cultural/), my wife is African, my daughter, according to the normal race-distinctions, would be either “mixed” or “black”, but I don’t accept such terms. I suggest to give up any notions of race completely (I have tried to express this in https://asifoscope.org/2012/11/20/a-trip-through-racism/). The pan-africanists, afrocentrists, black power movement and black consciousness movement are not giong far enough and some of them end up with their own version of racism. I don’t think that a concept based on the notion of race will help to solve the problems caused by racism.

      Black consciousness might be a necessary first step because many people have been humiliated and traumatized and it can help to heal those wounds, but then one must take the next step and abolish the concept of race completely.

      • NANNUS, I don’t necessarily use quotes because I think the person who made the statement is someone to be followed, emulated or even respected.

        Sometimes it’s even necessary to take a quote completely out of context to make it meaningfully. I’ve even quoted Ayn Rand when I felt it was appropriate and I think she’s a complete psycho!
        “Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection, and the base of a moral existence.”
        Ayn Rand
        While her statement refers to her belief in the gold standard, which in my opinion is utterly useless, taken at face value, without considering her belief, the quote is very astute.

        I’ve never read anything he wrote but if I took the time to read him, I could probably find a quote from Adolf Hitler that makes complete sense under certain circumstances.

        It’s usually not about who said it for me. It’s more about the stand-alone content of the statement. Almost anyone can get something right at least once in their Life.

        As far as the black/white distinction is concerned, my wife is black and I am white. We’ve been married 21 years. And, coincidentally, I’ve just been working on a rewrite of an old essay on racism. I’ll be posting it soon.

  2. Richard, in case you perceived my reply as an attack I am sorry, I did not mean it to be one and I only realized afterwards that it could be taken that way.
    I agree about Ayn Rand! And yes, content is more important here.

  3. No, no. Of course I didn’t take it as an attack.

    Many people use quotes specifically because they feel the person they are quoting gives more weight to their argument than the actual words being quoted. I’m even guilty of that myself to a limited degree when the individual I’m quoting is someone I’ve studied a bit and hold in very high esteem.

    On the other hand, I’ll quote someone like Bernays, whom I find detestable for his attitude regarding the use of propaganda, in an attempt to open people’s eyes to what has been and is being done to them. Goes back to Ivan Pavlov and then folks like Jose Delgado.

    Bottom line; I just didn’t want you to think I was name-dropping to support an opinion that I happen to hold. I don’t really know much at all about Biko and his movement. I just think that quote is spot on.

    Anyway, I assure you, I think we’re mostly on the same page.

    Anon
    Richard

    • What provocative thoughts, Nannus. It does belong here!

      Suppose we’re odd in the sense of not buying into mainstream marketing and all the nonsense of secular attractiveness.

      Hubby works out for a physical release of stress not to fit a mold of world approved sex appeal! But I agree…all those “good buddy deal gadgets” are perfect examples of what you elegantly described.

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  6. The grass is always greener on the other side…. And we always want what we can’t have. Humans need to feel better about themselves and this need is met by all the fake products on the market. A perfect world would see us happy with natural selves but I’m on the fence with this one. Sometimes a bit of lip gloss makes me feel better, more confident and isn’t this good for me? On the other had I definitely don’t want to be physically removing or adding things to my body to make me feel better because then I would have a serious problem. I guess what I mean is that people need to learn to draw the line, does that make sense?

    • As always in satire, I had to exaggerate a little bit here. The crucial thing is to stay in control. If others define how you must be to be O.K. you become their milk cow for money.

  7. Reblogged this on The Asifoscope and commented:

    Reality as we perceive it is our creation. We project our ideas into reality as such. We enclose ourselves into as-if-constructions. This mechanism can be exploited economically. We can be advertiezed into believing that we have problems, and then we can be sold a solution…

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