Industries Shaping Women’s Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is what a person thinks of their own self-worth. It includes beliefs and emotions, and is reflected by behavior.
In today’s world, girls and women are supposed to follow ideals of beauty, appearance and weight, imposed by multiple interconnecting industries that benefit from making them feel bad about themselves. The more women hate their bodies, the more they can buy dieting products that harm them, pile up the cosmetics and consumer products they don’t really need, and subject themselves to all kinds of painful practices and plastic surgeries that would make them look pretty. In a world that loves youth, anti-aging creams become best sellers. The same goes for bleaching products that enforce the norm that white skin is beautiful skin. All this is being perpetuated by the entertainment, fashion, media, advertising, diet and cosmetics industries.
In her 1991 book, The Beauty Myth, author Naomi Wolf argued that women were under assault by the “beauty myth” in five areas: work, religion, sex, violence, and hunger. Wolf wrote that women should have “the choice to do whatever we want with our faces and bodies without being punished by an ideology that is using attitudes, economic pressure, and even legal judgments regarding women’s appearance to undermine us psychologically and politically.”