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How Social Media is Shifting the Conversation Around Beauty

Instagram drives social change

As we hit our sixth month at home, it is important that we continue to raise awareness on issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and systemic inequalities that occur within society and the beauty community. One significant platform that we as consumers and content creators use to educate ourselves on these topics is social media. Lately, platforms such as Instagram have been the community’s outlet of choice to hold beauty companies accountable for the lack of inclusivity and diversity when it comes to their employees, products, and overall branding.

One notable Instagram account called “Pull Up for Change”, started by Sharon Chuter of UOMA Beauty, is driving the conversation around the lack of diversity within the workplace. She is asking companies to “pull up” by revealing stats on their race representation starting from regular employees all the way up to leadership positions. While many of our beloved beauty companies did participate in this campaign, some of their information and responses were very disappointing to uncover. For example, according to Sharon, “only 8% of people employed in white-collar professions are Black, and only 3.2% of those folks are in executive or senior management level roles” (Forbes).

The beauty industry has been operating on an outdated foundation for many years now

Although it is evident that the beauty industry has been operating on this outdated scaffolding for many years now, only recently have people been able to effectively have a dialogue with brands one-on-one. This is all due to the creation of Instagram accounts such as “Pull Up for Change”, as well as the advent of beauty influencers choosing to use their platform to drive the accountability discussions.

When companies release their sentiments expressing their shortcomings along with an action plan for change, the conversation doesn’t just stop there. What is unique about this moment is that consumers and beauty influencers alike are combining forces to hold the industry accountable by commenting and DM’ing companies, as well as reposting relevant information and insights to their own stories and accounts. These actions are very impactful and occur so frequently through social media that they can no longer be ignored.

The rise of accountability bloggers

There is a growing recognition that ultimately we as a society vote with our dollars spent. Progressive social media accounts are rightly encouraging the beauty community to increasingly become mindful consumers, and to perform deeper research on a brand’s values before making a purchase decision.

Some beauty influencers have created a niche around advocating for brand accountability, and as a result, have built out a very loyal and highly engaged following. Customers like to refer to these beauty influencers’ posts as they perform their own extensive due diligence on the brands they are researching.

Brand accountability is imperative in the community because it works towards making systemic change

One of Minori’s supporters, Nikki, from @thesnoopdoggfanpage, strongly believes that “brand accountability is imperative in the community because it works towards making systematic change. The beauty industry stands on the foundations of outdated ideals of beauty that oftentimes exclude or discriminate certain groups in our society. Holding brands accountable ensures that real change can occur that supports and embraces different interpretations of beauty.”

The beauty industry still has a long way to go

A major issue that Nikki, along with many other beauty influencers, want to shed light on is the lack of inclusivity when it comes to shade ranges in makeup products. It wasn’t until 2017 with the launch of Fenty Beauty’s 40 shade foundation range that the beauty community started actively advocating for a wider breadth of darker makeup shades. While the industry continues to evolve in a positive way, it still has a lot of improvements to make.

Inclusivity is far more than an image. It’s a purpose and mission to create a more equitable world, expanding equity and justice to those who’ve never experienced inclusion to begin with

Leah from @leah.azad writes that “Inclusivity is a continual practice. There’s no cap on mastering inclusivity or even landing upon a unanimous idea of what it is and what it should look like. However, the key to inclusivity in the beauty industry is making it a priority for reasons beyond profit. Inclusivity is far more than an image. It’s a purpose and mission to create a more equitable world, expanding equity and justice to those who’ve never experienced inclusion to begin with. Inclusivity is taking action. It’s a cycle of unlearning and learning which cannot be commodified. Inclusivity as a commodity, or an image exclusively, does more harm than good. It’s time we get to the essence of things.”

Social media continues to amplify voices

With the rise of social media accounts such as “Pull Up for Change”, and content creators such as Nikki from @thesnoopdoggfanpage and Leah from @leah.azad, the discussion around inclusivity and accountability has become more effective and impactful. Not only that, but these accounts have helped pave the way for the average person’s opinion and voice to transcend the boundaries that companies have had in place for decades. Though it is true that the beauty industry continues to operate on the foundations of outdated ideals of beauty, social media is helping to propel the conversation in a more transparent direction. 

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