Artificial enhancement of personal appearance
Boring personal appearance
Unsatisfactory personal appearance
Unfashionable personal appearance
Debilitating physical appearance
As an indication, the market for cosmetics in the UK in 1986 was £760 million (eye make-up, £103 million; facial make-up, £73 million; lip make-up, £76 million; highlighter and blushes, £25.5 million; nail make-up, £46 million; female fragrances and perfumes, £302 million; male fragrances and after-shave, £132.7 million). The market for shampoos was £125 million and for hair sprays was £86.3 million.
The beauty myth is a relatively modern piece of social engineering designed to control a new class of literate women who might be its critics. Add to the billions spent on cosmetics, $33 billion poured into the diet industry. Images of "beauty pornography" are aimed straight at young girls so that now children under 10 are putting themselves on diets and contracting "pre-pubescent anorexia". Whilst feminists successfully took apart discriminating aspects of social control, such as the "romance" of the suburban family as women's magazines presented it, they remain prey to psychologically devious arguments of the image culture, such as "entrepreneurial beauty": that all beauty is in women's hands if only they work at it. This means that women are open to consuming the advertisers' bogus products in an increasingly desperate pursuit of personal transformation. This distracts women from looking out into the wider political world rather than into the mirror. In the process the old double standards are preserved and women will continue to be discriminated against on the grounds of inadequate appearance (too old/fat/ugly [etc]).
People have always gone to lengths to look well. The effort of taking care of personal appearance is an indication of physical and emotional well-being.