Shadi Azari

Capitalism and beauty:

A study of Iranian women against Western standards

 

Abstract

This paper examines how women are affected by western consumer culture and capitalism of the beauty industry. Although each society has a different definition of beauty, globalisation has made it possible for western beauty standards to overpower other ideals. This paper reviews whether capitalism causes insecurities among women, especially Iranian women as the pressure of being beautiful can be overwhelming. Two interviews were conducted with an Iranian woman and a cosmetic beauty surgeon and in addition, there were eight Iranian women who filled out questionnaires. The main findings of this research was that Iranian women are exposed to western media and that as the regime in Iran has become more tolerant, women use this opportunity to style their head scarves loosely, wear a lot of make up and go through surgery. The results were analysed to find that women feel insecure in their bodies due to images presented in the media. The pressure of looking beautiful can be powerful and industries use these anxieties to make profit. This self-doubt that women have obtained can be seen throughout other cultures as this research has shown that Iranian women are influenced by western ideals to a large extent and generally over-exaggerate their beauty in order to achieve their desired look.