Beauty Or the Lack Thereof

Beauty may be only skin deep, but that’s deep enough to make it a matter of urgent concern for many people around the world. In a Synovate survey conducted in a sampling of countries — Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Korea, India, Singapore, Spain, South Africa and the U.S. — four in 10 respondents said they would change their looks if they could. Indeed, 19 percent would have plastic surgery if money were no object.

Given a continuum of choices, South Africa’s respondents were the most likely to endorse the sunniest of them: “I am beautiful and do not need to change anything about the way I look.” Korean respondents were the most likely to think they look merely “ordinary.” At the negative end of the scale, Americans were the most likely to pick the self-description, “I do not think I am beautiful or attractive and want to change the way I look.”

Advertising for beauty-related products takes some of the blame for people’s sense that they don’t look as good as they should. “Nearly half of all people think beauty advertisements make women feel inadequate, and 28 percent agreed beauty advertisement do the same for men,” the survey found. And they say this as if it’s a bad thing! It isn’t bad for the beauty industry, to judge from another of the survey’s findings: Two-thirds of respondents (including 72 percent of the women) said they think facial or beauty products do make a person look more attractive.