Beauty is Rare - Elusive so it Can be Easily Sold

A couple years ago my wife and I had our big wedding in the Philippines (we even had the mayor of Manila show up). She was so beautiful that day. And lucky for me she is just as beautiful when she wakes up each day. :D

But she can be hard on herself and if she gains a single pound she worries. Truth is I am the chubby one who needs to drop weight.

Beauty (and the perception of it) is a wonder commodity to sell because there is no limit. Almost everyone could be in better shape or be stronger or eat healthier or not have this or that birthmark or the odd finger that bends backwards.

We are imperfect beings by our very nature.

We get sick.

We break.

And we all fight the battle of aging one day at a time - every single day!

But no matter where you go, whatever is rare is typically considered desirable & beautiful. This is not done as an accident, but as a way to generate profits. If the human condition is flawed (and can't be fixed) then the person selling a bogus solution to that problem is going to make a lot more money than a person who sells something which is actually attainable.

And so we live in a world where we treat symptoms, rather than problems. Anything to make the numbers look good and make the sale. From there you are on your own! If you feel bad, we can give you more drugs!

Spending too much time at the computer and eating unhealthy has made me a bit too chubby. No good in obese America! But did you know that in the certain times & cultures being fat was considered a sign of beauty, like when few people could afford to be fat! ;)

There is too much high fructose corn syrup in the typical American diet for obesity to be considered beautiful:

"Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic," Avena said.

The new research complements previous work led by Hoebel and Avena demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse.

In the United States many girls not only label anorexia as beauty, but some go to tanning salons so they can darken their skin to look beautiful, at least until they get older:

Long-term exposure to artificial sources of ultraviolet rays like tanning beds (or to the sun's natural rays) increases both men and women's risk of developing skin cancer. In addition, exposure to tanning salon rays increases damage caused by sunlight because ultraviolet light actually thins the skin, making it less able to heal. Women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

A service which has no lasting positive tangible value AND certainly has a lasting negative tangible risk can grow to become a multi-billion Dollar industry

Anything to be beautiful! This is what beautiful people do. I want to beautiful.

The above never really made sense to me and always felt a wee bit scammy. There was an odd odor to it, but it was hard to appreciate how scammy it was, until...

When it really hit home for me was when my wife and I were in the Philippines. Many of the department stores sell skin whitening soap! Having a lighter skin tone is supposed to be a sign that you are from a wealthier family. And since wealth is concentrated that is rare. And so that is what is considered beautiful. :D

Published: April 8, 2010 by Aaron Wall in marketing


April 8, 2010 - 2:34pm

Wanted to add this to the above post...but couldn't without ruining the flow...

  • in India they now make millions selling skin whitening cream TO MEN
  • if you want to become & stay happy in a sustainable way you have to create your own value systems, as most external value systems are heavily corrupted
  • if anyone gives you a list of things that you shouldn't do, then hidden somewhere in that list is probably an opportunity for you to be different: beautiful and remarkable :D
April 8, 2010 - 3:24pm

Thanks for sharing, Aaron, and remember to eat a lot of raw vegetables.

April 8, 2010 - 4:06pm

I lived in Thailand for several years and the skin whitening cream was everywhere. Not only that, but people would wear jackets outside (especially motorcycle drivers), despite temperatures over 100 degrees, just so their skin wouldn't get darker.

Now I live in Florida where pasty white people take off as much clothing as they can so they can get darker (though they usually just get red).

I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Wesley LeFebvre
April 8, 2010 - 5:55pm

Very Interesting Post. Thanks, Aaron.

April 8, 2010 - 9:39pm

Haha, ya those filipina girls don't mess around when it comes to that over there. While I was in Boracay (visiting the Phils with my friend who is filipino) I was talking to this one filipina, who I thought was drop dead gorgeous. She was all dolled up, spoke perfect english, and seemed pretty educated to me. I had a crush :). Later that night though, a few other filipina girls came up to me and asked why I was talking to her. They said she must be from a poor family and is uneducated and lower-class. I told them I disagreed , then one girl said "over here she is ugly like feet" hahaha. wtf? I asked my friend what the hell that girl could have done wrong and he explained the whole dark skin thing. I was pretty damn disgusted, because the girls who were talking trash didn't seem like they were joking one bit. Needless to say, I only talked to dark (they're not that dark over there) skinned girls for the rest of the trip. :) Good times. Love the Philippines.

April 9, 2010 - 9:10am

My programmer had a great analogy for the above post & consumerism in general.

I stated that we cure symptoms, and he stated that "when you look at the Maslov hierarchy of needs, marketers try to sell people things at the top while teaching them that buying those products allows them to skip the steps in the middle."

And Fake Steve Jobs recently wrote the following, on iPad:

Some pundits have posed the question: Why do anyone need this thing? Indeed, even those of you are lining up and standing outside stores may be wondering, Why am I doing this? Why am I lining up like a zombie for an expensive piece of consumer electronics, a product for which there is no shortage and which, let’s face it, nobody really needs? Back in the early days of our design process, Jonny Ive came in to see me and we spent a long time trying to decide where on Mazlow’s triangle this product would sit. Because we knew if we couldn’t be way up above the very top of that pyramid, floating above it, totally outside the needs it describes, then this wouldn’t be a product we wanted to make. Some of our early iterations, in fact, had to be tossed out because when we looked at them we realized that parts of them were too, well, necessary. Don’t get me wrong. That’s fine for other companies. It’s just not what we do here at Apple.

April 9, 2010 - 1:20pm

hehe Aaron,

I use Fair and Handsome!!!

and you know what...

I am neither fair nor handsome ;-)

and I know these products will *not* make me one :-)...

I am educated - a post-graduate, but I still use these products.

So why do people here in India use these products?

Because these guys sell HOPE.

And Hope Sells.

April 12, 2010 - 9:37pm

I thought for a second there you'd spent your wedding night with the mayor of Manila :)

April 12, 2010 - 10:38pm

There is only one thing better than getting married in the Philippines with thousands of flowers. That's living here.

BTW any amount of high-fructose corn syrup is to much. Dr Byron Richards documents the serious harmful effects of HFCS.
I also highly recommend his books on Leptin.

Tony Hollowell
April 14, 2010 - 12:27am

This just reminds me of the star-bellied sneeches!

Dr. Seuss was a genius.

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