Dealing with beauty prejudice
I love my job. I love beauty products - skincare especially. My friends are appalled when they find out that I buy products in addition to the ones that I receive. But people around me will vouch that I never hoard. Of course I try and test everything - after all, it is my job - but I always pass the goodies on. All in all, I feel lucky and incredibly grateful that I have a job that I enjoy so throughly. And I thank god for it everyday.
My job has no downside, but I have to deal with prejudice - the prejudice of being a beauty expert.
For some reason, taking care of your skin, enjoying makeup, and being knowledgeable about perfume makes people think that perhaps you’re not so cerebral. I face this mostly from men. When I was beauty director I was often asked - “Beauty what? Is that even a job? What is it that you direct? Write about makeup?” I try to explain that real beauty is holistic because it includes great skin, a good attitude, happiness and confidence, among many other things. But mostly I can’t get myself to talk because I all I’m thinking is - man…if only you'd use a pore strip on your nose, I would focus on what you're saying instead of those giant blackheads.
Sometimes I also face this from certain women, who go out of their way to tell me that they are not ‘beauty people’. I think everyone is a ‘beauty person’. If you wake up in the morning, slap on some moisturiser and wear a touch of kohl then yes my lovely you are very much a part of this world whether you like it or not. After all, you don’t wear that kajal because it’s part of a socio-economic movement. You wear it to look good. Period.
There was this one time when someone actually told me (in really good spirit), that - “I always thought that the beauty business was superficial, but you're not superficial.” Sweet. It was by far the best backhanded compliment that I ever got. But you see this is what people think. If I were to introduce myself as food, or art, or even a fashion writer, people would rarely form a judgement. But beauty…prejudice all the way.
I have to say that despite this I’ve always felt lucky to be a part of this business, only because people who work in beauty are super nice. I’ve formed real friendships with girls in beauty brands, PRs, makeup artists, and hairstylists. All of them are kind, generous, fun and non-judgemental. I don’t know if you can say that about other industries but in beauty, literally everyone is a gem.
Some of the smartest women also belong to the beauty business. Look at Huda Kattan who has more followers on Instagram than Barrack Obama. Or Emily Weiss who has changed the beauty game by crowd sourcing product ideas with Glossier. Closer home we have Shahnaz Hussain, Mira Kulkarni, Vivek Sahni just to name a few super smart, super elegant and super nice people who belong to the beauty industry.
So why is there prejudice about beauty? I don’t know.
But I’m just going to say one thing. Enjoying skincare, makeup, fragrances, lasers, spa treatments and all the wonderful things that the beauty world has to offer, does not make anyone a lesser person. If anything, it just shows that you love and respect yourself because you take time out for self-care.
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