It’s been quite an emotional ride for many women as we watch the #metoo and #timesup movements evolve. Some may not understand this movement, some may not agree, but for others it brings back experiences in our lives that we buried long ago. It also brings to my mind the never-ending attack on women’s self-esteem from external sources which we have unknowingly internalized and have carried with us throughout our lives.
In my opinion, the biggest offenders are certain elements of the “beauty” business. I wrote about this in my most recent book, Notes from Your Fairy Godmother. (Actually, it’s the specific reason I wrote this book). As estheticians – especially as female estheticians — we have a great opportunity to turn this around for our female clients. But before I get to that, here is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of my book:
I identify more with who I feel myself to be
than what I look like. Either way,
am I obliged to entertain you with my appearance?
~ Carrie Fisher
I have been in the beauty industry since 1999, and I can tell you that making women feel they are “not enough” has become big business over the years.
Women are regularly exposed to ad campaigns suggesting that we should lose weight, exercise more, eat this, don’t eat that. There are age-shaming ads implying that we need to fix something. We are encouraged to lift, tuck, flatten, lose, add, remove, install, inject, cut, dye, lengthen, shorten, ingest a supplement, sign up for a program, or model ourselves after celebrities.
As a result of this marketing strategy, self-image takes up a lot of space in the brains of many women. It clutters our minds to the point that we are unable to appreciate our own beauty as we continue to evolve throughout our lives. We are typically our own worst critic, however our criticisms are not based upon who we really are, but rather who we think we should be according to input from external sources. What woman hasn’t at one time or another said to herself (or to others), “I hate my _____“ (arms, legs…fill in the blank)?
We weren’t born this way, but we have unintentionally picked up this burden and we carry it with us every day of our lives. If we could eliminate the self-critical thinking, can you imagine all of the extra space we’d have in our brains to think about other, more pleasant things? If only we could enlighten girls about this at a younger age, what a wonderful life experience they would have!
By no means do I mean to imply that women should avoid all anti-aging efforts, because I really don’t feel that way. Certainly, if something makes you feel good, do it. But the methods offered for improvement are becoming further invasive and frighteningly extreme.
Many great ideas come from fashion and beauty resources, of course, but we’ve got to find a way to keep everything in perspective and not abandon our spirit while chasing physical perfection.
(There is more to this chapter which I will share in my next blog.)
Esthetics has changed dramatically since I started 19 years ago. The growth has been swift and fun. To be honest though, the lack of personal connection with clients has dulled my interest quite a bit. By “lack of personal connection,” I mean things like selling professional products online to the general public without a personal consultation.
I am not suggesting that every esthetician should run their esthetics business the way I would. But what I am suggesting is that today’s estheticians may be overlooking wonderful opportunities to help their female clients feel good beyond what the surface of their skin looks like immediately after a facial. I will write more about that in my next blog.