The Beauty Industry
“The Beauty Industry” is an essay, of modern English Essays from the syllabus of B.A/ADP part-II. This post covers; about the author, summary of the essay, and important questions and answers.
About the Author
Aldous Leonardo Huxley (July 26, 1894- November 28, 1963) born in England was an English writer, philosopher, and a prominent member of the Huxley family. He was the third son of a writer and schoolmaster.
He was best known for his novels including Brave New World and nonfiction work such as The Doors of Perception. He was also a humanist, pacifist and satirist. Later he got interested in psychological mysticism. He always used to explore the inner beauty of the things around him.
It is for the main reason that in this essay, he registered his revolt against the superficial standards of the internally hollow people. He was widely known as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time. He wrote novels, short stories, poetry, travel books, essays, and screenplays.
His famous novels include Crome Yellow, Antic Hay, Those Barren Leaves, Point Counter Point, and Eyeless in Gaza, etc. His famous essay collections include Ends and Means, The Art of Seeing, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, etc. His writings show philosophical insight and satire.
Summary | Main Idea of the Essay
In this essay, Huxley has analyzed the causes of the tremendous increase in the use of beauty products in America and Europe. He has also indicated the impact of beauty aids on the appearance and health of users. Huxley says that the women of the modern age are extravagant and spend extra money on their physical beauty.
The writer humorously says that the women of old age are rare nowadays. American women spend about three million pounds a week or one hundred and fifty-six million a year on their faces and bodies. This amount is more than twice the revenue of India. The American magazines contain a large number of beauty ads.
This industry can compete with the movies or automobile industry. There are some reasons for this extravagant beauty. Firstly, they are now free to use cosmetics as compared to the past. They are free to earn and spend. Secondly, there is a general increase in prosperity. Now the people are wealthier than their forefathers. The rich have the habit of keeping up their personal appearances. So the poor people also imitate the rich and wealthy people. Women are conscious of beauty and its right.
The old ladies with white hair, wrinkles and bending back, and hollow cheeks are disappearing very fast. Now, today women of every age look attractive, smart, and artificially beautiful. In this process, they forget religious restrictions.
In this modern century, women are working in every field of life and they know to look beautiful. This is their right and they are passionate about attaining this right. The skin foods, facial surgery, facial mask, injection of paraffin wax, and different lotions make the women attractive and beautiful.
There is no difference between the portrait of a mother and her daughter. The beauty industry is successful in all aspects. Huxley laments that the craze for women to look beautiful is failed in many aspects. In the modern age, women are mad to use cosmetics and other skin products.
Cosmetics may hide wrinkles of old age and hollow cheeks but not a corruption of the soul and inner self. In the pursuit to look young and attractive, women forget their spiritual beauty. But spiritual charm is more vital than outer beauty.
In advanced countries, women have no limit to thinking about soul purgation. That’s why they forget their inner beauty and only adorn their faces with beauty products. This may sometimes lead them to dull faces in spite of paint and make-up. So, the beauty industry is a failure.
According to Huxley, a woman is not like an ajar that requires exterior beauty or decoration. She should focus on interior beauty and inner self purity. Huxley believes that cosmetics may hide wrinkles but not soul corruption.
He points out that beauty is the name of good health, while ugliness is the name of some vices which live in the human soul. Huxley says that a campaign for beautification is a failure because it does not touch the beauty of the soul. If a woman is immoral, mean, and ugly inwardly or spiritually, she cannot be called beautiful.
Important Questions and their Answers
Even the great depression could not beat down the American women’s habit of makeup. Explain it with reference to the essay The Beauty Industry.
Aldous Huxley is an English poet, novelist, short story writer, and essayist. In this essay The Beauty Industry he shows the causes of the craze or trend of beautification in the modern age. General prosperity causes an increase in beautification.
The women of the elite and rich classes take great care of their physical appearance. So, prosperity results in a great change of life. It is because they have enough money to spend on the decoration of their faces. This change in the status of women also makes women freer than they were in the past.
So, they are free and independent to attend the social function of their own choice. The American women spend a huge amount of their monthly income on the purchase of the different items of toilet and make-up. Roundabout one hundred and fifty million pounds are annually spent on make-up and other items of women’s toilet.
This huge use of money is even more than the annual budget of India. It also makes the beauty industry prosperous and successful. Moreover, the annual expenses of one hundred and fifty-six million pounds never let the beauty industry decline. That’s why the American beauty industry never becomes a victim of the slump.
The American women retain their physical appearance by using different items of a toilet. These are such as modern massage machines, paraffin injections, patent oils, hair lotions, nail polishes, puffs, powders, and costly creams. The lavish use of these costly items makes their toilet and make-up expensive.
Modern women do so merely in order to appear or look more attractive and charming than the women of the past. Not only, do they spend too much money on their make-up but also on their facial surgery? In brief, we can say that the more the beauty items and products are, the more the new trends and cults are growing. So, the writer has rightly said that nowadays the beauty industry is more successful and flourishing than any other industry.
How has it become possible for a grandmother to look as young as her granddaughter?
Why and how have old women disappeared from western society?
Why does Huxley refer to a Repellent in the make-up of some modern women?
The Beauty Industry, we mean every kind of item of make-up and toilet which women use for decorating or beautifying their bodies. All the items of make-up such as puffs, powders, lipstick, nail polishes, blushes, eye-brows, perfumes, body sprays, lotions, and oils of different kinds, etc are produced in the factories on a large scale.
Women lavishly use all these toilet items or articles. In this way, they use a huge amount of their monthly income on them. As a result, it becomes a successful and flourishing business today. In the past age, women who paid much attention to their physical appearances and outer beauty were regarded as wicked.
Now, in the present or modern age, this trend has been changed. Beautification and make-up of faces are a symbol of women’s lofty status in life. Moreover, it is also not considered a sign of moral corruption. So, beauty is regarded as a sign of good health. Ugliness is thought to be some kind of disease or sickness.
So, in order to look much more attractive, charming beautiful, young, and pretty, women incline to the beautification of their physical appearance on a large scale. In their habit of over-painting of faces, women use so many toilet articles for making up their faces.
As a result, they seem to be wearing masks. They cease even to look human at all. Their faces are not pretty, attractive, and soft because they are inwardly hard and dead. Their faces look repulsive because they lack inner beauty and spirituality.
Modern women succeed in retaining their outer beauty with the lavish use of make-up and toilet for a long time. In this way, the old women look young and graceful. As a result, sometimes, it becomes difficult to differentiate between a real young lady and an old one.
Huxley rightly, remarks that people will be lacking old grandmothers in the future. The reason is, that white hair, wrinkles, a bent back, and hollow cheeks will come to be considered old-fashioned defaults.
How does the writer prove that the real beauty of a jar is in an affair of the inner self?
Why does Huxley compare women to porcelain jar?
How is the human body compared to a China jar in the essay The Beauty Industry?
In what sense does Huxley give the example of a porcelain jar?
Huxley, s view is for moral beauty rather than physical beauty. Discuss.
Express in your words Huxley’s view on beauty and ugliness.
What is the moral of the essay the Beauty Industry? How, according to Huxley, does spiritual ugliness affect surface beauty?
In the essay, The Beauty Industry Huxley very beautifully and clearly gives his views on beauty. He does not favor the women who try to look beautiful and attractive with the help of the lavish use of make-up. He criticizes their craze for beautification because they try to look beautiful by the means of artificial methods.
He thinks that real beauty is not a matter of make-up or the use of toilet articles only. According to him, real beauty is as much an affair of the inner self as of the outer self. Huxley is of the firm view that the beauty of a woman cannot be compared to the beauty of a porcelain jar(the China jar).
The beauty of a flower pot is a matter of shape, color, surface, and texture. The jar may be empty or filled with spiders, full of honey or stinking material, it makes no difference to its beauty or ugliness. But a woman is an alive entity and her beauty is therefore not skin deep.
The surface of the human vessel is affected by the nature of its spiritual contents. The writer is of the firm view that real beauty is not merely a matter of face or skin but of the beauty of mind and soul. The writer has seen many women who by the standard of perfect beauty are highly pretty.
They have a fine body shape, lovely color or complexion, and attractive physic but they can’t be called beautiful because they are inwardly or spiritually ugly. In simple words, it means to say if a woman is empty spiritually. She can’t become impressive or attractive just by beautifying or decorating her face.
A pretty woman must be attractive and impressive from the outside as well as from the inside. Some old women try to hide their hollow cheeks by using different beauty aids and cosmetics. Moreover, women themselves have invented some cults of beautification which keep them aware of their physical appearance.
As a result, they use toilet products of all kinds lavishly. Their artificial methods of make-up and toilet cause some serious physical faults. In spite of their use of different aids and cosmetics on their faces, there always remains a deficiency that causes ugliness under the surface of their extra make-up.
As a result, sometimes they cease to be wearing masks. In this way, they often seem like ghosts under their assumed guise of artificial make–up. Huxley thinks that every woman can look beautiful if she becomes spiritually beautiful at first.
There is irony and humor in the essay The Beauty Industry. Discuss
Point out examples of irony and humor in this essay.
The Beauty Industry is a funny and satirical essay. Explain it in your words.
Huxley openly and aptly makes fun of the cult or craze of the modern women who decorate their visages with unnatural aids or products of the toilet. He ironically says that the beauty industry in America kept on flourishing even during the great depression or crisis.
It is because American women spend roundabout three million pounds a week on their lavish use of toilet products. They decorate their faces just outwardly but neglect their inner beauty. The writer very beautifully and aptly combines irony and humor to express his point of view about women’s craze for unnatural and artificial beauty. He creates fun by saying;
Europe is poor, and a face can cost as much in upkeep as a Rolls Royce. The most that the majority of European women can do; is just to wash and hope for the best.
The writer ironically says about the British Marton that we are sometimes naturally shocked to see her appearance but normally we are not shocked. He further says in a funny manner.
In Paris, where this over-painting is most pronounced, many women have ceased to look human at all. He further ironically and humorously remarks: The crone of the further will be golden curly and cherry lipped, neat-ankled and slender.
In simple words, he means to say that people will be lacking old grandmothers. The reason is, that white hair, wrinkles, a bent back, and hollow cheeks will come to be considered old-fashioned.
The campaign for more physical beauty seems to be both a tremendous success and a lamentable failure. Elaborate
How can the beauty industry be called a failure?
The essay The Beauty Industry imparts a deep moral lesson to the readers. Beauty is not a skin-deep idea rather it is a matter of good manners and great ethics. According to Huxley, real beauty is as much an affair of the inner self as of the outer self.
Women decorate their faces and bodies with the lavish use of toilet products in order to look young, attractive, and graceful. In this way, they often neglect the need of purifying their inner self. Though their lavish use of beauty aids and toilet products adorn their faces yet they cannot decorate their souls with purity.
In other words, it means to say that a woman cannot hide the ugliness or corruption of her inner- self with the use of cosmetics. Huxley gives an example of a porcelain jar. A woman is not like a China jar or flower pot that needs outer decoration. So, a woman cannot be compared to the beauty o a flower pot.
Rather, it involves some other human aspects as well. The beauty of good manners, great ethics, and courtesy brings real beauty. Ideal beauty also lies in harmony. If there is no harmony between the inner and the outer, it is not real beauty. So, only that woman can be called real impressive and attractive who s beautiful both inertly and outer.