“If a guy can look handsome without makeup, why must I apply makeup before to look beautiful” – Aisha Yesuf of #BBOG movement, condemning the use of makeup formulas by women.
While I disagree with the idea expressed in the quote above (because handsomeness of a man is uniquely and naturally different from the beauty of a woman, because external ornamentation is God-given royalty to women), I have to admit that we are in era of global explosion in beauty enhancement.
I have in previous discussions in this platform said that the year 2000 opened the door to countless unprecedented revolutions in virtually every field of human endeavour. It seemed the fiery tail of Sisqo’s Dragon which he ordered be unleashed at the dawn of Y2K touched every aspect of life.
Not even the most ancient of man’s occupation – farming remained the same as its pre-new millennium status. Genetic engineering, which is scientific intervention in the natural process of crop yields, boomed well into the third world to enhance agriculture outputs in the wake of the new millennium.
Likewise, in human beauty enhancement, the boom is sweeping our terrain.
Prior to the past 20 years, beautification and ornamental sectors were not institutionalized the way it is presently. Beauty shops especially in Africa were more of hair-dressing salons. It was a female dominated industry, operating mainly on small and medium scale levels.
But as Sisqo released that song: “Unleash the dragon” for the year 2G, the tail of that dragon seemingly touched this sector and beautification extended beyond the head, down to the whole body. Not even body extremities like finger and toe nails were left out, as manicure and pedicure facilities operated at large scale level.
Floriculture which is a branch of agriculture that deals with production of decorative and ornamental crops got busier than ever. Spa lounges and massage parlours dotted our streets.
Fast forward to 2005, when former first lady, Stella Obasanjo lost her life to sophisticated beauty expedition in faraway Puerto Banús, Marbella in Spain, few weeks to her 60th birthday.
Nigerians were shocked!
Many only heard of such procedure for the first time from her account, while others felt it was suicidal and fool hardy for someone (at such advanced age) to embark on a delicate venture of that nature.
Her experience did not in any way serve enough caveat to Nigerians against embarking on such luxurious beauty expedition. On daily basis, oversea trips on plastic surgery among Nigerian elitist classes and celebrities kept increasing.
Increase in the demand for gluteal (bum bum) enlargement and skin glow enhancement among female celebrities made plastic surgeons around the world shift their bases to Nigeria. Consumer countries like ours is always a good market. Injection of steroids into the adipose tissues to increase hip sizes and appear more erogenous is on competitive rise today.
But just like every other trendy practice, the patronage of artificial beauty by elites didn’t account for the explosion being noticed today, because statistics is still consistent with the fact that they (the elites) account for less than five percent of our population. It was the involvement of the commoners that pitched it at inordinate rung.
The amazing volume of patronage which makeup artists enjoy in our clime is phenomenal. Almost all low class babes are on YouTube downloading makeup application techniques.
Today, there is virtually no ugly woman outdoor. We once heard that beautiful ones are not yet born, but at present, the ugly ones has transformed themselves into those ‘expected’ beautiful ones. We were told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But in this age, beauty is in the hands of the Make-up artist.
While some people consider it, a fake or fraudulent enterprise aimed at dwindling men, many still see it as a fundamental credentials of womanhood. It is in their nature to cherish decoration.
Man has inherent affinity for anything that is beautiful. Women are therefore baiting men with what they loves to see. Psychologists over the years posited that women are moved by what they hear, while men are moved by what they see.
So to please our sensual faculties, these daughters of Eve have discovered the superficial decoration of their pulchritudinal complexes as viable option. And consequently, they added more task to men who are on the look-out for women of good character to marry. They may have to discern beyond the facial paintings and delicious anatomical curvatures.
Light, they say, travels faster than sound, and that is why every girl looks beautiful until she speak. Though beauty may inform the choice, but content of her character determines the sustenability of that choice. That is to say that if a lady used her beauty to deceive a man into marrying her, it is only her character that will determine if the marriage will last or not.
So if there is any disadvantage that this era of excessive ornamentation of physical beauty presents, it is the joke on our women who believe that beauty is everything, and therefore spend hours painting their bodies while leaving their attitudinal displays unattended to.
Although, we cherish these ephemeral beautification, it is worthy of note that good manners beautify the world better than mundane decorations.
The other disadvantage is its purported implication on health.
Some experts in internal medicine have maintained that long term use of some of these improved cosmetics has telling effects on organs such as kidney. Dermatologists had gone into research to unearth the veracity of such claims. And until enough statistically sound evidences are obtained, one can not outrightly conclude that bleaching creams and enhanced makeup chemicals are carcinogenic.
Few skin cancers were traced to artificial collagen obtainable from pomades in 2015 by the American society of dermatology. Such few numbers are still insufficient to draw a clinical conclusion.
However, medicine teaches that it is better to err on the side of safety. Theological counsels on charity also urge that in moments of doubt, we should not act. Therefore, inasmuch as we are clouded with doubt about the side effects of these beauty chemical agents, it is better to stay off or play safe.
Modesty demands that we approach any trendy fashion with caution. Deification of physical beauty has a way of diminishing our admiration of the eternal beauty that is God, for idol is anything substitutes God in one’s life.
Eze Jude O.
A Medical Laboratory Scientist, Columnist and Public Affairs Analyst.