The ethics presentation on the cosmetic industry focused a lot on the creation and promotion of the "Ideal" female role and the trends of makeup use. A lot of what the group touched on was the "social norms" of both makeup use and body image as a whole that women are expected to adhere to. This made me think a lot about how trends in makeup and body image and the "social norm" change. One trend that underwent a particularly drastic change was the use of bronzer. In the Victorian era, light pale skin was seen as the ideal, a sign of wealth and beauty, whereas a tan complexion was a sign of the working class. In the European middle ages women went as far as bleeding themselves to obtain a pale complexion. Today, women expose themselves to harmful UV rays by lying outside in the sun and utilizing tanning beds, in order to get a tan. Tanning lotions, sunless tanner, and bronzers are a staple in many women's daily routines.
Another thing the cosmetic industry group focused a lot on was the presence of hazardous chemicals in many cosmetics and the cosmetics database that informs consumers of these chemicals. Cosmetics have contained hazardous chemicals as long as they have been in existence. This article describes the history of makeup and different chemicals used throughout history. In Greco-Roman society women wore white lead and chalk on their faces. Face powders were made from arsenic, causing hundreds of deaths. The most dangerous chemicals used in many cosmetics throughout history were lead, nitric acid, and mercury.
My question to you is why the "trend" of using hazardous and potentially lethal chemicals in cosmetics has carried throughout history and are still being used and produced today? Why have society's pressures of makeup use lead so many women to ignore the damage they are doing to themselves in order to "fit in" with the social norms of the time?