The Price of Beauty

A look at the lengths women go to in order to conform to society’s view of beauty.

The paper shows that although it is considered a modern trend for women to deprive themselves of food and nutrition in order to starve themselves to become society’s ‘desirable’ size, this trend is in fact not new. The paper investigates how women throughout history, especially during the 19th century, have harmed themselves with clothing and cosmetics in order to conform to society’s standards of beauty.
Many women of the time would use cosmetics, face make-up, containing the deadly product ceruse. Ceruse is just another name for white lead, and although it would whiten the face nicely, its use would produce many skin and other disorders. The desired look the women would want to manage was a white face, which the use of ceruse would help accomplish. Apparently the ceruse was somewhat lavishly applied to the face, neck, and upper part of the chest, and afterward a red color was added to the cheeks and lips. The use of red coloring was thus the next step in accomplishing the ideal of beauty.