Globalization. A complex, problematic and controversial global issue. Globalization contains a lot of different aspects. This term can be quite ambiguous to describe something that is highly complex as it is.
For a long time now, I see globalization as mainly a positive thing. Not that I now think otherwise, however I’ve come to realize that things are not as simple as black and white.
You see, the thing about globalization is that it’s something that eases on to you and to your subconscious. It grows onto you slowly, and after a while you stop asking what is the definition of everything, and if those things served on to your plates are really good for you, or if they are just handed to you as a part of fitting into a ‘normal’ society.
We stop asking what is ‘acceptable’ for individuals, and what is not. We stop thinking how we do things, and start thinking how the world wants us to consume and behave. Humans even go so far to let the world dictates what they should wear, and how they should look. What is the definition of beautiful? It is no longer relevant which skin you are born into, nowadays it’s always about those blue eyes, blonde hair, slim figures, and fair skin. If you are none of the above, well too bad for you. However, thanks to globalization, the gigantic international beauty companies seem to have the solution for those of you who are not blonde, not fair skinned, do not have blue eyes, and do not have slim figures. The answer? Just get beauty products that would make you look like the criteria mentioned above, then surely you will look ‘beautiful’.
When I first came to Australia, I remember thinking that I looked ‘different’. I was not dressed like the Australians, I did not eat the Australians food, I did not behave like the Australians, I did not speak fluent English, even if I did, I would not have spoken like them, with their oh-so-fancy accent. I remember thinking that I need to fit in. Why? Because I felt like I want to be accepted. To belong into a group that I can call a clique of friends. Only then I would feel the confirmation that I am one of those ‘cool’ people.
I remember not feeling beautiful.
How can I be beautiful, when I have dark hair and not blonde?
How can I feel beautiful, when I don’t have fair skin like the models they use for the global advertisement of beauty products?
How can I look beautiful, when I don’t have clear blue eyes?
How can I be beautiful, when I am not slim and tall like those models?
I remember not being confident for a long time. I had a lot of insecurities when it comes to how I look. When society feeds you a constant image of how you should look like in order to be accepted as ‘beautiful’, it slowly changes how you look at yourself. You start expecting to look like one of those supermodels strapped all over the front cover of VOGUE, buying all the things that can possibly make you to look a bit closer like them.
People start curling their originally straight hair, straightening their originally curly hair, bleaching their originally dark hair, dying their natural hair color to lighter shades, and even go to the extent where they would spend hours and hours every day before going out to school or work, in the hopes that they would look ‘beautiful’ or at least ‘decent’ enough to appear in public.
But one question remains unanswered, when does this beauty trend end?
Does it end at the cashier when you purchase those blue contact lenses? Does it end when you finally bleach and dye your hair blonde? If so, then why does it seem like it is endless?
There is this French term, ‘Passé’, which means ‘no longer in fashion’. This confirms the idea that beauty and fashion trends are so disposable that customers will need to keep on buying more and more if they want to look ‘trendy’ or ‘in fashion’ which then leads to the idea of being beautiful.
It is indeed very difficult to stop and think for a second, that the real truth lies behind those hands who define what beauty really is. Being beautiful, in an ideal world, should be highly relative. After all, it is human rights to feel secure and comfortable in our own skin.
In contrast, the definition of beauty is currently being held by those large corporations, whose purpose is to create profit. None of their agenda contributes towards the well-being of society, let alone to create the diversity of beauty. The idea of creating a homogeneous consumer society is much simpler to cater for, compared to a society of diversity. Only by doing so, companies can effectively produce a mass, single type of products, instead of spending a lot more to cater for larger demands of variety. In addition, by creating one, universal definition of beauty, it makes it that much easier for commercial companies to control and dictate the next trends, simply because the society will eventually get used to what is being served, up to the point where they will stop asking if the products are beneficial for them.
As long as consumers think that they are heading towards looking more beautiful, they will never stop buying beauty products. In the name of beauty!
So, going back to the unanswered question of the endless trends, I reckon it is now safe to say that it will, in fact, NEVER end. This is one of the reasons as to why we should not let commercial companies dictate how we should look like, how to behave, what products to buy, etc.
Beauty exists in a lot of different and much deeper aspects of life than just what appears on the outside. While it is very difficult to avoid the slippery slope, down to the web of lies created by large corporations, we need to constantly ask and reflect on our own individual cultures and backgrounds to define what beauty is, as there is no right and wrong answer. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin, whether or not those profit makers agree. The fact that they commercialize what supposed to be the basic human rights to begin with, should be enough reason to steer ourselves away from what they are selling.
With the agenda full of stereotype and white supremacy, those companies should not deprive our society from physical diversity that is the basic element of life sustainability.