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Beauty is Diverse: Women in Beauty and Lingerie Advertisements Today

Anyone who’s met me knows that I have a huge celebrity crush on Rihanna. Most people know that she’s not only a singer. She has her own beauty and fashion line out now, and I’m sure many of our wallets are aware. A few days ago, her Savage X Fenty show took place, and public audiences were able to watch it on Amazon Prime. You already know I was watching.


The show opened with dozens of girls dancing on the runway and advertising various lingerie pieces. Rihanna was center stage, of course. It didn’t take me or anyone else long to realize the diversity on stage. I saw girls on stage who looked just like me. For me, that’s a pretty big deal and it’s not something I can say frequently. Every woman has their own body type and their own unique insecurities. Among models like Bella and Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, and Slick Woods, there were performers like Aquaria and Laverne Cox. There were women strutting their stuff in lingerie and makeup, looking as beautiful and confident as ever, no matter what their skin tone, weight, sexual or gender orientation, disability, or height. 


All this comes after much backlash towards Victoria’s Secret. Recently, their CEO stepped down after making controversial comments about transgender women and plus sized models. In fact, after years of criticism, their annual fashion show was cancelled for 2019. Lingerie fashion shows have received criticism for quite some time, but Victoria’s Secret and other beauty and lingerie companies have been in the spotlight of this criticism for lack of diversity, poor quality of products, and limited sizing. 


Savage X Fenty and Fenty Beauty run on a motto emphasizing inclusivity and diversity. Brands, like L’Oréal, Glossier, Milk Makeup, and others have begun to incorporate ideas of inclusivity and diversity in their products and the advertisement for those products. Savage X Fenty offers sizes from XS to 3X and 32A to 46DDD. Fenty Beauty, L’Oréal, Glossier, and Milk Makeup have foundation lines that come in 30 and more various shades. These companies also advertise their beauty products on models who have very light skin, as well as those who have very dark skin. Some makeup brands include models who are plus sized and models who have freckles, gaps between their teeth, and untouched eyebrows. Transgender women are also represented in makeup brands now.


Not every woman wears makeup or lingerie so why does this stuff even matter? Because if something is put on screen for the world to see, and then called powerful, sexy, and beautiful, then women in all audiences will hope to see someone like themselves on screen. Brands like these advertise that beauty is not upscale and out of sight. It’s not something you can only hope for, or something you can have only if you already look a certain way and have special products. Rather, it is something that is available to everyone, as they already are, regardless of whether or not they wear makeup or lingerie. 


The world is becoming more diverse and women today are empowering the world more than ever before. We are finally at a time where it is slowly but surely becoming understood that beauty is diverse. Makeup and lingerie are avenues women can use to express individuality and beauty in ways that are unique to them. Inclusive brands make it possible for all women to express themselves, in their everyday lives. Women are beautiful, and it’s about time they were advertised that way. So here’s to powerful women empowering women.


Elsie Parmar

Denison '20

Hello! My name is Elsie and I was born and raised in Chicago. That city will always hold my heart. If given the opportunity, I will read every medical textbook in the world, for fun. Rainy weather always makes me ridiculously happy. I enjoy drawing portraits in charcoal and pastels. I am a huge Blackhawks fan, and I may have an unhealthy obsession with true crime podcasts and Amy Winehouse. I also have a green birthmark, and no, it's not just a bruise.
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