The society has always regarded women as homemakers. In the past, it was challenging for women to break stereotypes at the workplace and emerge as leaders. However, with the current reforms and realizations, the role of women in the labor force has changed. The number of women engaged in commercial activities stood at 62% in 2019.
Now, women are getting an opportunity to hold powerful and influential positions in companies. The number of women who carry a board position rose to 18.4% in 2019 from 7.9% a decade ago. Women have the liberty and support to start their businesses. Several governments are formulating women-specific policies to make their life a little easier. That being said, women still face discrimination in the workplace. But, are the challenges in the workplace, the only thing that bothers women? NO (emphatically).
Women cannot help but chase perfection. It is not only on the work front but also in the way they look and feel about themselves. While some amount of the struggle of looking impeccable can attribute to the image of the perfect women that media creates. The rest has to do with the fact that nobody likes fat, dryness, marks, or puffiness on their skin. Society may call it artificial beauty, but looking good gives women the confidence and power to get through the hectic business meetings. It gives her the strength to fight for her place in society and in other areas of life where male domination is seeded. It may spark a debate, but no one can compete with the science that says beautiful people are happier. The studies also prove that infants prefer looking at attractive faces than the unattractive ones. Who is calling them discriminating?
Science of Looking Good:
Since facts and science are more convincing than psychology, let’s start with the experiments, observations, and studies around beauty.
- Coming back to the infant experiment, a lot of studies have been conducted in this regard. The most popular being a simple experiment which proved that babies aged two months and older were shown two different sets of faces – 1 attractive and another unattractive. As rated by adult judges, the babies spent more time looking at the ‘attractive’ faces.
- Another study claims that more beautiful people have a higher rate of success at getting called for interviews. It is called the wingman effect, and it is based on analytical evidence.
- Beauty translates into higher salaries and better perks for both men and women. However, for women, beauty also presents with opportunities for better social life, more confidence, and better skilling opportunities – as claimed by another study.
- The beauty of a human face and the beauty of the products influence our decisions. Research shows that irrespective of the nature of reviews, beautiful product photos can garner interest on social media and make sales. This is how the lowest rated products end up being the best sellers.
Psychology of Looking Good
As per Daniel Hamermesh, a labor economist from the University of Texas, Austin, “Women feel that beauty is inherently important.” As per his studies, women feel bad if they aren’t looking at their best. Daniel is known for his research in the field of study of beauty. He has often been acknowledged as the father of this field, and his style is a bummer for women. Another of his research/study says that beautiful women are paid more than their peers, and hence they are motivated to stay in the workforce as compared to other women. He does not stop here. Mr. Hamermesh has done a full-fledged study on the return on investments made in looking good. Here, gains are measured in terms of an increase in the salary; investment is referred to as any beauty product bought by the consumers. As per his calculations, an average of every dollar spent on beauty increases the salary of the consumer by 4 cents. Thus, rendering lipstick as a futile investment. But, does that stop women from investing in high-end make-up? Rarely!
Figures show that Singaporean spent USD296 million on beauty and fashion products, an increase of 10% as compared to 2018. 57% of the women in Singapore buy cosmetics and personal care products online, while the same figure stands at 56% for men. This brings a new insight into the field of beauty – not just women, but men, too, are becoming increasingly interested in the way they look.
The human brain takes a maximum of 30 seconds when it sees someone new to analyze their age, social status, and approachability and form an impression of them. Irrespective of how shallow it sounds, the looks have an impact on the way the people perceive each other.
Marcia Reynolds, in her article on Psychology Today, shared her experience about how the perspective of people changed once she started taking care of her looks. She says that ….
I changed my hairstyle, my clothes, and my make-up. Then, after seeing myself in the mirror, the pride I felt changed my posture and my stride.– Marcia Reynolds
A lot of other women have admitted to being judged based on their looks in the past. As per Jessica Bennett, columnist at Newsweek, looking good is not an option in today’s economy, it is survival. Science has already proven that beauty affects hiring and promotions at the workplace. Therefore such statements are not an exaggeration.
Essentials for Looking Good
The difference between the vanity of a working woman and any other woman is that of clutter. A working woman has to balance the wants and needs because an overflowing bag is the last thing they need. It is why it is necessary to understand the ‘essentials’ of a working woman’s make-up capsule.
- Primer: A lot of women undermine the power of having a primer handy at all times. A primer makes the make-up last longer, and do quick touchups. It provides a pore-less and flawless skin, keeps the sweat and oil from ruining the make-up, and can be used right before a meeting without worrying about smudging.
- BB Cream: A lot of beauty blogs recommend carrying a foundation. Still, a BB or CC cream is more efficient and easier to handle in a crunching situation. Also, since working women would not like to wear full-face make-up every day, a BB cream emerges as a perfect candidate to provide just enough coverage.
- Concealer: For things that BB cream cannot hide, like pimples and dark circles, a concealer does the trick. A concealer is the easiest and the quickest way to hide or ‘conceal’ the imperfections. Moreover, concealer can even help in faking a wide-awake look during the long conferences.
- Blush: Merely using a base imparts a washed-out feel, and hence the need to have a little bit of color arises. Blush is one of the most recommended products for working women because of two reasons: it is easy to handle and use, and it does not need hours of practice, just a swirl and done!
- Mascara: Mascara is another product that helps in faking a wide-awake look. Apply a tad bit of it on the bottom lashes, and the face will light up like a beautiful candle. Also, mascara is easy to carry and quick to use.
- Eyeliner: Eyeliner is used to draw attention to the eyes. It can be used above the upper eyelashes, or below lower lashes, or on both the places. The eyes hold emotions. An eyeliner thus can be used to attract attention towards eyes during a presentation or a pitch.
- Lipstick: A lipstick fixes a dull complexion and lights up the overall mood of the face and the clothes. Depending upon the preference, women can select from a range of shades and feels. The most reliable shades include nudes and dark shades of red.
Beauty Goes Beyond Makeup
Science has proven that looking good has benefits. And interestingly, vice versa holds as well. The emotional and physical well-being contributes to glowing skin and hence better appearance. Make-up is a shortcut to looking beautiful, but an individual needs to do more than that, like keeping out of the sun, maintaining a healthy diet and water intake to look and feel good. No matter how unfair it sounds, beauty plays a significant role in everyone’s lives. Society can either accept it and move ahead with it or train itself and the future generations to look beyond beauty standards.
Even if the society plans to adopt the latter, it will be a challenging task; since it would involve changing the deep-seated mindset (remember the experiment with infants). Therefore, the best way forward is to use the current mindset of the people and use it to one’s advantage until that happens. Eat well, dress-up as per the occasion, learn make-up tricks, and as a popular internet slang goes – ‘Close the Deals, in High Heels.‘