Women are achieving great things in business, and in the U.S. alone, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses spanning a wide range of industries. Today, there are 114% more female entrepreneurs than there were two decades ago. Despite the great strides they have made
in entrepreneurship, however, many women still report feeling pressured to conform to standards of beauty, with ‘youth’ being a big focus in traditional and social media channels. Indeed, a study by Allergan has found that two thirds of working women
feel pressured to look young, and over half feel more judged by their appearance. Around 34% of women, meanwhile, feel that their appearance has an impact on whether or not they obtain a sought-after promotion. How are women facing ageism in business, and how can they begin to knock down stereotypes regarding age-related abilities?
Non-Invasive Aesthetic Treatments Are Booming
Currently, many women in businesses are foregoing plastic surgery in favour of less invasive procedures – including Botox
(which grew in popularity by 819% between 2000 and 2017), fillers, and laser treatments. Botox essentially paralyses local muscles, smoothening out wrinkles and offering clients long-lasting effects (for between three to six months). Botox, fillers, plasma, and other injectables
are embraced owing to their effectiveness and safety. Lasers and heat-based treatments (including Fraxel, Fractora, radiofrequency, and Ulthera) successfully target problems such as pigmentation, loss of firmness, wrinkles, and active acne and acne scarring. Essentially, women have a wide gamut of both facial and body treatments that literally ‘turn back the hands of time’, enabling them to get rid of everything from stubborn fat to cellulite during short lunch-time treatments that have minimal side-effects.
Women In Business Wish To Look Good, Not Necessarily Young
A study published in The International Journal of Aging and Society has found that women are more intrinsically interested in looking good
rather than young. Taking a social constructivist approach, the findings of this study indicate that women are not necessarily weakened by media pressure to maintain unrealistic standards of youth. For most women, looking healthy and vital is more important – a goal they achieve through healthy lifestyles, diet and exercise, in addition to beauty treatments.
Battling Media Pressures
A greater awareness of the health dangers that the pressure to look young and thin can have on women (both entrepreneurs and those who are not involved in business) needs to be fostered in companies and at learning institutions – including business schools and Master’s programs. Core curricula should include study findings and reports on the effect that pressure can have on the decisions women take – for instance, breast augmentation surgeries are booming, yet this type of surgery can pose risks and complications and can require further surgical procedures down the line. All businesses should also consider staff training to boost awareness of the imbalance faced by female employees, managers and business owners when it comes to expectations of beauty, youth and thinness. As stated by journalist V Amarnathan
, “There’s nothing wrong in wanting to look good and being healthy for oneself, but it’s important to draw the line and remember that nobody’s self-worth comes from how you look.”
Despite the significant growth in the number of businesses owned by women, they continue to face pressure to maintain youthful looks. Many women are embracing non-invasive yet effective means of turning back the hands of time – including laser treatments and Botox. Although aiming to look as good on the outside as one feels inside is not necessarily a problem, sacrificing one’s health and wellbeing in order to achieve unrealistic aims may be an issue. Female business owners can do their share to combat sexism and unrealistic pressures with respect to beauty by offering educational training courses and workshops to boost staff awareness of the problem.