What is beauty to you?

6942972049_3e17b19c4f(Credits: Google)

Social media has became a strong platform for organisations to advertise their products which led to false perception of beauty being broadcasted.

Does the size of your body and colour of your skin define your beauty? People often misunderstand the definition of beauty due to advertisements from companies such as LANCOME, M.A.C or even from Victoria Secret Fashion shows.

   
(Credits: Victoria Secret Twitter)

The definition of “sexy” is often misinterpreted on social media. Just like this photo on Victoria Secret’s Twitter.

However, is it really ethical for companies to mostly use White and skinny models for advertising?
The video below talks about why size and ethnicity do not matter when it comes to being “pretty” and how advertisements have made people feel unwanted because of their race.

As statistics have shown, 87% of the models are white, 4.9% were black, 5.4% were Asian and 2.7% were Latina in fashion shows. Majority of the models are still white. In addition, there has also been a perception that only white people are rich.

With reference to Chanel Iman, Victoria Secret Angel, she got rejected by designers because they had enough black models. This is why business organisations are unethical in a way that they discriminate people due to their skin colour. Even famous models such as Jourdan Dunn has been shot down for being black. So is skin colour really that important in the fashion industry? I do not think so.

1352387097_candice-swanepoel-zoom                 ashley-graham-lead-xlarge
(Credits: Google)

Furthermore, being a size zero does not mean you are pretty. What about plus size models such as Ashley Graham? She is confident, and she is doing well in the modeling industry. Organisations’ advertisements on social media have manipulated female consumers’ insecurities about their appearance just to increase their product sales (Aimee Nicole Hoffmann, 2004).

I believe that beauty is defined by who you are and not judged by your physical appearance.

Ethical Vs Profitable Matrix Ethics and Profits Converge(Credits: Google)

Thus, business organisations should not define beauty in terms of size and ethnicity. They should provide a better approach such as being fair when choosing models for advertising. Organisations should treat their employees fairly regardless of their size and colour which reduces social disharmony.  With this, organisations gain consumer confidence with a ethical diverse working force. This would then lead to an increase of sales and developing long term relationship with your customers.

In conclusion, size and colour does not define beauty. It is important for business organisations to advertise their products ethically to not build a false perception to consumers that size and colour defines who you are. Lastly, business organisations should not abuse the power of social media but to use it in a more ethical way.

References:
Ejim, E., & Hindman, K. (2015, October 23). What Is the Importance of Marketing Ethics? Retrieved November 9, 2015
from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-importance-of-marketing-ethics.htm

Ejim, E., & Hindman, K. (2015, October 23). What Is the Importance of Marketing Ethics? Retrieved November 9, 2015
from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-importance-of-marketing-ethics.htm

Russell, C. (2012, October 1). Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from https://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model?language=en#t-125612

Freeman, H. (2014, February 18). Why black models are rarely in fashion. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/18/black-models-fashion-magazines-catwalks

Press, A. (2014, February 17). More diversity at New York Fashion Week? Not much! White faces still dominate the catwalk with Caucasians making up 79% of models. Retrieved November 9, 2015,
from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2559938/Jezebel-says-little-progress-model-diversity.html

Freeman, H. (2014, February 18). Why Black Models Are Rarely in Fashion. Retrieved November 9, 2015,
from http://www.alternet.org/culture/why-black-models-are-rarely-fashion

PHELAN, H. (2013, March 26). JOURDAN DUNN, CHANEL IMAN CALL OUT MODELING INDUSTRY FOR BEING RACIST. Retrieved November 9, 2015,
from http://fashionista.com/2013/03/jourdan-dunn-chanel-iman-call-out-modeling-industry-for-being-racist

Reporter, D. (2013, March 21). ‘We have one black girl, we don’t need you’: Victoria’s Secret Angel Chanel Iman reveals racist attitudes from the fashion industry. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2297176/We-black-girl-dont-need-Victorias-Secret-Angel-Chanel-Iman-reveals-racist-attitudes-fashion-industry.html

Hoffmann, A. (2004). The Beauty Ideal: Unveiling Harmful Effects of Media Exposure to Children. Retrieved November 9, 2015,
from http://www.honors.umaine.edu/files/2009/07/hoffmann-2004.pdf

Ethical Marketing | What is Ethical Marketing? (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/ethical-marketing.html

Patzer, G. (n.d.). Ethics concerning physical attractiveness phenomenon: Business strategy versus research knowledge. Retrieved November 9, 2015,
from http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/10555.pdf

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15 thoughts on “What is beauty to you?


  1. Hey Yixin, what an insightful post you have regarding the unethical ‘false perception of beauty’ effect of social media! I love the visual examples you provided and watching the video resonated with me that false advertising of beauty is indeed a dynamic and powerful issue happening today.

    For companies with high brand awareness and high follower count, posting messages that instills insecurities and inferiority to their followers is unethical, because the effect that it will have is augmented. Like your example of Victoria Secret, this false perception of beauty could be magnified to a whole larger group, considering that they have a whooping 8.3 million followers on Twitter.

    Companies should supervise what is shown to the public, as there is no going back when content is posted. With this false perception of beauty instilled, what will girls do to be a certain size or a certain look? Will they compromise their health and self-love in the pursuit to achieve this unworthy goal?

    (164 words)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Crystal!

      Thank you and I’m glad you found my video useful!
      Yes. Organisations like Victoria Secret has a strong online presence. This is one of the reasons why it is easy for consumers (eg. Teenage girls) to be easily influenced by their definition of beauty.
      Due to these wrong perceptions showed on social media, there have been many cases whereby young girls or even women have starved themselves just to be as “skinny” as them. Take a look at this article.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2274227/Teenage-girls-obsessed-celebrity-thigh-gaps-starving-achieve-super-skinny-look.html
      Scary isn’t it? Women are easily influenced by medias and the things they see online that defines “beauty” because of their insecurities. They just want to be as “pretty” and “perfect” like the models they see.
      It is important for ladies to love themselves for who they are, be it their size or their skin colour. Do not let others define who you are, JUST BE YOURSELF! They should know they are worth much more than this.

      I hope you find my answer useful! Thank you Crystal!

      Cheers,
      Yixin 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Yi Xin,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog for Topic 4. I must say that it is highly relatable for me with the love for fashion. I hadn’t really thought about false perception of beauty for these businesses.

    I do agree with you that the definition of ‘sexy’ is often misinterpreted and plus size models boost the confidence of people who are afraid to showcase themselves. However, contrastingly because of Victoria Secret(VS), they give consumers something to look up to – to idolised. These models are deemed as examples to consumers. After all, these brands are just going after their target market – which are mainly populated with vain girls wanting to look all tone and sexy.

    I wondered what are your views if you’re in the shoes of the marketing manager of VS. Knowing that your target customer are vain girls wanting to look all tone and sexy, would you choose to continue to run your fashion show with the current models or otherwise?

    (163 words)

    Siew Woon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Siew Woon!

      It is good to see that my post have gave you a new perception about fashion and beauty!
      I have to say.. These kind of fashion organisations are giving consumers a false perception of beauty. It is true that they have a target market of vain girls. However, aren’t all girls vain? Every girl would want to look pretty but their perception of “pretty” have been twisted due to organisations like Victoria Secret (VS). Have you ever wondered why girls have the thinking to look all toned up and sexy? It is because of how organisations advertise their kind of beauty to their consumers.

      VS has been giving false perception to consumers that you will only look good in their products if you have a toned body. It is a public perception that women look good in lingerie when they are either skinny or toned. In most magazines and on most social media, most of the models who advertise lingerie for companies are skinny or toned. It is very rare to find a plus sized model modeling for them.

      As a Marketing manager of VS, i would have to agree that it is difficult to maintain ethical ways in a business point of view. Which organisations wouldn’t want to earn profits? But I would try to bring in plus sized models into VS just to show to my consumers that I am not neglecting the fact that less toned girls are also suitable to wear VS’ products.

      I hope you find my answer useful!

      Cheers,
      Yixin 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Hello Yixin,

    Interesting topic you have here talking about how social media lead people to the false perception of beauty.

    Firstly, I am on your side regarding how people define beauty and it is usually stereotyped as “skinny” and “size 0”. Girls nowadays are taking fashion models and celebrities as their inspirations and will go all out to follow their diet or fashion to be what they deemed as “PERFECT”. Imperfection is beauty and I personally feel that girls or guys should not be too ‘crazy’ over their so called ‘role models’ on social media!

    ‘Sexy’ to most people meant being scantily clad but it may mean being confident for others. The term ‘Sexy’ and ‘Perfect’ is very vague and different people have different perspective of that.

    Always remember, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!

    Moving on, I feel that your point on the fairness of business organizations for always choosing white models over the others is subjective. Have you thought about other reasons why most white people are chosen for fashion shows(other than favoritism)? Ignore the part about fairness, there are more white people on earth than black! I know the statistics that you show have a huge difference between the whites and black but I think one of the factors for such a difference is because there are more whites in the world. There may be lesser black people that wants to be a model thus, resulting in the dominance of white models in fashion show. Obviously there may be other reasons why the black models are not chosen. Maybe they don’t suit the theme of the fashion show? There are a lot of factors affecting it and I feel that we can look further into these factors to better understand why white models are chosen over black models.

    I agree there are fashion organizations that still bias white or black but it is only a handful of them. I believe that most of the fashion organizations do their selection for models fairly with no favoritism involved.

    Here’s an article on why the world still favours white models over all other skin colors and I hope it will be enriching for you!
    http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/why-the-world-still-favours-white-models-20130503-2ixgh.html

    Lastly, I feel that fashion organizations should educate the public through social media regarding their choices for the models and their intentions to prevent false perceptions from continuously building up.

    All in all thanks for sharing such a interesting topic and I have learned a lot from your post. Hope to read more great stuff from you!

    Cheers,
    Jun Wai

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Denzel!

      Thank you for finding my post interesting!
      I appreciate it very much.
      Your word count seems to be above 150 though…

      I’m in agreement with your point of view that guys and girls, should not let others determine their self-worth through a distorted perception of beauty. It is important for people to know that they are more than their external appearance.

      And yes, i do agree that the term “sexy” had been defined by organisations on social media as being “Confident, Promiscuous and much more”. Everyone has different perceptions of it.

      Due to that issue about why white people are more welcomed than black people, it is could be due to their history.
      Take a look at this article: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/slavery
      No matter how society had progressed, due to their past… there is still an unconscious perception and impression that black people are connected to slavery.
      Thus employing them might not be a good strategy.
      It might not be a good image for fashion industries because it could tarnish the very image they are trying to establish.
      Let’s put it this way instead… when fashion industries uses black people to advertise for them, their perceived value might or might not drop.
      But who is going to risk doing that knowing that there is a chance that sales might decline?

      Thank you for your comment!

      Cheers,
      Yixin 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. Hello Yi Xin,

    Your topic 4 post has definitely moved me 🙂 Thank you for this very relatable post. I can relate to the lacking of confidence part being of a minority race!

    “This would then lead to an increase of sales and developing long term relationship with your customers.”

    I couldnt agree more with this. I do agree that a revolution should start in social media advertising where more representative women should be used. That, is more than ethical, that is revolutionary. Only then we can relate and buy products.

    On the topic of instilling confidence in customers, there has been a research done by my course when I was still in polytechnic. “Would Asian consumers buy products if the model featured in the advertisement was Asian or White?” The findings were: Asian women would prefer Asian models in their advertisements and it directly influences purchase. So yes, using more representative women is better for consumers especially in such a diversified population.

    (160 words)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Renu!

      It is great to know that you have the same point of view as me!

      As a fellow asian myself, this thinking is mutual, advertisement that doesn’t relate to us closely simply do not bring the impact.

      I agree by practicing ethical marketing will be revolutionary not only for organization but also for consumer like us.

      Great insightful research! Now I am more confident with my post!

      Thanks for commenting on my post! Hope there’s more to come 🙂

      Cheers,
      Yixin

      Like

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