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Bobbi Brown Rails Against the Beauty Industry

I just finished reading an entertaining story about Bobbi Brown's training camp for makeup artists. It's unsurprising to learn that she's a perfectionist who teaches her students to get every detail just so, and yet she comes off as someone who genuinely wants other women to look and feel their best. "Girls with freckles don't need foundation," she explains. (See, I told you!)

The most revealing part of the story comes toward the end, when the reporter has a moment with Brown:

"I am in an industry that makes women feel bad about themselves, absolutely," she says, when I ask her what she thinks of the beauty industry. And yet within the beauty world Brown has gained a reputation for making women feel good about themselves. "I never in a million years thought I would be the person to go to for self-esteem, that was not my intent. But I happen to love beauty, I love the way people look, and I love making women look beautiful," she says.

It's interesting that she's so blunt with her opinion of the beauty industry. I'm curious: Does it make you feel bad about yourself? And if it does, what would you change about it?


Join The Conversation
talking-makeup talking-makeup 9 years
Makeup is still fun to me :) I don't feel any pressure, except to own more stuff. Haha.
haute77 haute77 9 years
if you are against anything that depicts women poorly, you can't have your cake and eat it too. in other words, you can't buy into the tabloid type magazines, the diets, buying products from companies who don't promote healthy lifestyles. that is what drives the industry. the more women keep buying into these lifestyles, the more they will do it because it WORKS.
mcollazo mcollazo 9 years
I have to say that I feel good about myself no matter what.
carolbob carolbob 9 years
I think the industry is an inspiration to women that have a healthy attitude about their body, however, I think it is just as damaging to preteens and those that are hypersensitive about the way they look. It is hard for those with even healthy attitudes to not come down a notch when blasted with images of young, skinny models. I do think makeup can do wonders for those that are okay with the way they look in the first place. It can add a small boost of confidence. My negative responses are more toward the fashion/clithing industry. I don't know if we'll ever see a healthy attitude toward those with less than perfect bodies in my lifetime. One thing that does irk me is seeing skinny models model plus side clothing.
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
i have always been a huge fan of bobbi brown because she is one of the the few makeup artists that promotes a natural look. i agree with her in the sense that in the industry the mantra is "More More More". Companies push artists to sell more product vs selling what the client really needs or wants. The way to do this is by telling the client "Oh i have something great for those little lines around your mouth" Benefit artists used to attack me on the escalator with "Oh my god, i have to fix your eyebrows" when i didnt think there was anything wrong with them. it will always be this way because that is how product is sold but its kind of ironic that an industry that has a predominantly female customer base and an predominantly female workforce has become successful by making women feel like shit about themselves
ClassicsDiva ClassicsDiva 9 years
When it came time for me to enter the job market, I had a long, angsty debate with myself--do I have to wear make-up for job interviews? I never wear make-up. I think it's a waste of time, and I hate the feel of gunk on my skin. But certain people around me seemed to feel that I would look "unpolished," "unprofessional," "not put-together," or even, heaven forbid, "dirty," if I didn't wear make-up. The general sense was that I would be viewed as an incompetent, lazy, unprofessional woman if I did not wear make-up. This is obviously an idea that is perpetuated at least in part by the beauty industry, and it is also a an idea that really really bothers me. If a woman enjoys wearing make-up, I would never dream of telling her she's wrong, or a bad person, but a woman who chooses not to wear make-up is apparently viewed by society as being of less value. I decided that until the day comes when men who don't go to work without a full face of foundation and mascara are considered unprofessional, that I'm not going to wear make-up either. I did crack and by some concealer for my break-outs, but I use as little as possible, only when needed, so that I don't look like the middle schoolers I'm trying to teach.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
I'll certainly agree with some of the previous posters that the fashion industry does more damage than the beauty industry- but I think the push to look a certain way (and of course, to buy all the products that will help you get that look) is unreasonable and potentially damaging. I think "beauty" has gotten really narrow, and pretty unnatural. You're changing your hair color, removing most if not all of your body hair, plucking eyebrows, and then using makeup to get that "natural" look. A person who doesn't wear makeup is the oddity instead of the norm. I dunno. I had a psych professor who never wore makeup and she was one of the loveliest women I ever knew- but she's considered strange and frumpy by our beauty standards. I wear makeup. I am aware that my eyes look brighter when I wear mascara, or I look more glowy when I have a little blush on. But it does strike me as strange sometimes how much work is required for the bare minimum of conforming to our culture's beauty standards, and that it's so much more than is expected of men.
LaVida LaVida 9 years
Women are bombarded with products and advertisements from a young age promising to make us beautiful and to fix our many "imperfections". You grow up feeling you are essentially "flawed" and go on a expensive, life long crusade to find "perfection". It doesn't exist and if it did why should we try to attain it? None of us is perfect but we are all perfectly human, that's what makes us interesting. The over the top airbrushing in magazines disturbs me. It's not real and in doing that they are telling young women that "real" isn't good! Looking your best and being happy with your appearance is important but so if filling yourself up inside!
jeda21 jeda21 9 years
The beauty industry does not make me feel bad about myself for two very different reasons: 1) the girls that are used to model are in their early teens and 30 year old skin is nothing like 13 year old skin, therefore nothing to do about that but learn to love the skin you're in! 2) a lot of the companies want people to feel well about their skin, beauty regimen, and enhance what they have. I feel great about people like Carmindy and Bobbi Brown, as well as Jane Iredale who work to make people feel better either environmentally, about their beauty, or about their skill level with beauty products...and companies at the drugstore are catching up.
lemurian lemurian 9 years
I really dislike Bobbi Brown and her cosmetics.. she seems to make cosmetics only for brunettes, and features them almost exclusively in her ad campaigns. She also makes up all of her models the exact same way!! So, basically she's saying that her idea of 'beauty' is to be brunette, wear brown eyeshadow and pinky-brown lipstick. She has a lot of nerve to criticize an industry that's overall a lot more creative than she is, and tends to cater to a much broader market than she does.
i_heart_me i_heart_me 9 years
I agree that the fashion industry is the main culprit.
dguillenm dguillenm 9 years
it does affect many people negatively which is bad yet those affected have low esteem. more needs to be done to bring up thrir self beauty like dove. love people like Tim Gunn who always seek to help women feel beautiful.
koolbr33z3 koolbr33z3 9 years
I agree with brokeinthecity's points.
brokeinthecity brokeinthecity 9 years
Couple of thoughts: With the right amount of skillful Photoshopping, the beauty industry can make anyone look fabulous with any product they put on their skin. Also, with the right amount of money, you can achieve that too with specialized masques, facials, skin treatments, and the most expensive products. I think the fashion industry is much worse for women's self esteem, putting unreasonable standards on women to be skinny, and of a certain 'look'. Some of the models on there are as young as 15 years old - of COURSE their skin looks young fresh and fab... *sigh* Always do your research when buying cosmetics - look at the ingredients and don't buy it just because you've heard so much about it. Haven't tried Bobbi Brown cosmetics, but am willing to give it a shot, AFTER I finish up what I have in eyeshadows, concealers, etc. Paula Begoun is another brand I'd consider trying too.
apb1172 apb1172 9 years
I am not so sure that every girl in the ads is just perfect. My personal opinion is that a lot of them look like a hot mess! Just as someone else said, I think the fashion industry does WAAAAYYYYYY more damage than the beauty industry, however, I think a lot of the ads I see are crap. I don't want to look like a stick figure with red lips I want to look like the best me possible. I think it is easy for BB to sit on the high horse and make statements like she does. She already has the fame and money that comes with being the "makeup artist to the stars." I believe that if she really means what she says, then her products would be more affordable? $38-$48 for foundation! Come on now Bobbi! Actions speak a whole lot louder than words!
Lilavati Lilavati 9 years
Well, there's many sides of it. On one side, putting make-up on and caring about myself makes me feel good and confident. On the other hand, there are the ads, where all the girls are just perfect, and I'm not. None of them has the slightest overweight, none of them has a square face, none of them has any asymetry, not the smallest imperfection... unlike me. Now I feel bad cause being perfect is a strandard and I will never be able to fit in. BUT! These are ads. I prefer to look at pretty girls on the ads. I'd pick the prettiest if it was up to me. So what do I want? Confused... Second topic: the expensive make-up. I read about how great Chanel's cosmetics are and I can't help but wish I could afford them. But I can't. Feels bad again. BUT! I already own more than I need! I love to read about cosmetics just to read and look at the pictures, not to buy everything that seem cool! So what do I want again? I don't know...
tralala2 tralala2 9 years
We can be glad there are talented people who understand such a complicated matter. These industries can be so devious and threatening to a person's mental health. Each advertisement you see is researched to such precision, and every detail is taken into consideration. They know exactly what to do to cause a desire in a person's psyche. All you hear from your inner dialogue is: "This looks nice," "I'd like to have that..." "I want," "I need;" however, these visual messages run so incredibly deep. As a person who studied design and its history, I know this first hand. It's good to research beauty products you purchase and think about the reasons why you are doing so. It has much more psychological depth than one could ever imagine. It's a serious matter, and we can be happy there are people like Bobbi Brown, who actually care about a person's well-being. Everyone should take time for themselves to think hard about the amount of programming and effort put into every single beauty product. I highly suggest looking at a diagram created by Archie Bishop of two Estee Lauder advertisements. It can be found in the first chapter of Typecasting- an incredible read. There are so many examples which shed light onto the psychological games behind beauty and the warfare it can cause mentally on a person. It can get extreme...for instance...'Extreme Makeover'... If this is what people need to feel comfortable with themselves, its going to become a problematic issue for society as a whole. There can be major repercussions for those who don't fit the image of beauty. Some people don't think enough upon the simple question: What is beauty? The question is not actually so simple... On this note, the fashion and beauty industry goes hand-in-hand. Just look at every women's magazine, you won't see one without the other. They help sell one another. They enforce stereotypes. First we define and then we see.
Karebear828 Karebear828 9 years
In general, beauty products make me feel much better about myself. But I used to be really out of the loop with makeup (I wasn't allowed to wear it growing up), so back THEN the beauty industry made me feel bad about myself, because I didn't know how to make myself look like those other girls. Now it's a huge pick me up-- though if I go a few days without wearing make up (for whatever reason) I always feeling crummy, and maybe that's bad.
AParker AParker 9 years
The beauty industry makes me feel great about myself, because I know I'm not buying, for instance, blush, to build cheekbones - I know that mine are great, but the product's just helping me emphasize them. And I totally agree with demonkitty18 - the fashion industry does way, way more damage.
megafie megafie 9 years
I cannot stand Bobbi Brown - she is a hypocrite. A woman that reccommends 3 different undereye concealers at once is saying this type of stuff? Plus she speaks out against plastic surgey and injectables. It is a woman's choice if they want to do that..not some makeup company owner's.
SassAndBide SassAndBide 9 years
i like bobbi brown cosmetics but otherwise i dont agree? i dont really care lol
kebmosgirl kebmosgirl 9 years
Today, as I searched for a skincare product at the drugstore I felt defeated. There was a product to address every real and perceived problem possible. I can never measure up nor afford to care for my skin the way I am programmed to think I need to.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
No the beauty industry doesn't affect me. I love Bobbi Brown, she brought true beauty back to the industry. The fashion industry is much worse when it comes to making women feel horrible.
demonkitty18 demonkitty18 9 years
nah, I think the fashion industry does way more damage.
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