A Woman's Beauty & Sensuality Belong to Her. How Brands Can Nail It in A New Era of Female Empowerment.
It can seem obvious, but a woman’s beauty belongs to her. It can be a deep knowing, a celebration of self, or a loving wink to the mirror when she looks at at her own face. Yet, for many women and girls, beauty is something to strive for only on the outside. Often this is with the underlying and innocent intention of using it as a tool to gain approval from those they’re trying to attract. But there’s a new current gaining momentum and it’s to a brand’s advantage to go with it.
Where the World Went Wrong
I’m 35. That means that I grew up in a generation where attracting a mate was still at the forefront of advertising to women. Beauty and sensuality seemed to exist solely to give to another, to the point that it’s revolutionary to think otherwise.
Erin McKean called out to women to recognise: "You don't have to be pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female’".
Currently, I’m enjoying an online women’s sensuality course run by Layla Martin, dubbed by Women’s Health magazine as ‘The Headmistress of Pleasure’. Layla is a brilliant role model for female-targeted brands because she’s epically true to herself, has a strong purpose that she carries out through her brand, and has a deeply genuine emotional connection with her customers. In one of her talks she speaks of how a woman’s sexuality and sensuality exist for her own pleasure. How can we bring the revelation to more women?
Isn’t it Natural to Want to be Desirable?
Yes. Inner and outer beauty are not going out of fashion. And nor should they. Arguably the self-care and well-being movement is creating waves in establishing a new kind of beauty.
When a woman puts on moisturiser, delicious clothes, or dances in public, she can ask herself “who are you doing this for?”. Hopefully, increasingly, the answer will be “myself”. And that’s a really good thing.
Ironically, the more women revel in their own inherent beauty, the more beautiful a mate will find them anyway.
The Important Work For Brands. Help Women to Validate Themselves.
Women have looked for too long to others to validate them. And many brands, across a multitude of industries, have tried to prescribe what being female looks like. Now businesses need to pay attention to the fact that women want brands to enable choice around identity.
"I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story - I will" Amy Schumer
Sleek MakeUp’s campaign ‘My Face. My Rules’ supported the idea that women have full control over how much makeup they do or don’t adorn. Marc Jacobs also tapped into the ‘it’s up to you’ approach by featuring models with grown out manicures for the Spring 2018 collection. A staggering 83% of women in the US wash their hair less than once a week in favour of dry shampoo, and 51% of 18 - 25 year olds spend less than ten minutes on their makeup. I might not fall under that age group but I am easily in the less than ten minutes camp! Essentially women respond well to brands that take the pressure away from unattainable perfection, and instead welcome the diversity of women’s unique schedules, budgets and desires.
"For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious – or whatever we please. We are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution” Naomi Wolf
It’s old news now, and whilst it hasn’t always received completely positive reviews, Dove was part of the revolution in the early 2000s with their Real Beauty marketing activity. Sales rose by 6% (big dosh for a company of that size) and over one million women visited the campaign’s website within the first year.
When brands can show women from a woman’s own perspective, instead of what a partner might want from them, they’re on the front foot. When brands offer the tools a woman needs to step into her power, they’re naturally going to lead the way emotionally and commercially.
At the very heart of BornGloryUs is the belief in self-worth. With abundant self-worth we are equipped to care more for ourselves, others and the planet. That’s why it’s imperative for brands to be part of the movement that supports the move away from ‘not good enough’ to ‘beautiful for who I am’. That’s how everyone wins.