The Beauty Experiment

A friend forwarded me this interesting survey called “The Beauty Experiment” that is part of a book in process by Phoebe Baker Hyde.

I found it particularly interesting on two levels:

  1. It was an interesting way of seeing how a person’s bias can come through in the way they choose to phrase questions. There were several on this survey that based on the phrasing of the answers it felt like there was a weighted critique of how much women spend on beauty expenditures–but maybe that was just my inner critique/ghost of days past talking. Either way, it made me think about how to structure a survey to not steer it to get the kind of results you hope for.
  2. It was striking to me how drastically my stance on beauty, femininity and culture has shifted over the last five years. How I went from a hesitant to never make-up user to someone who really enjoys it these days. How I now specifically budget for getting my nails done a certain number of times per month–though I had never gotten a manicure in my life until age 28. How a few different friends of mine have in the past year have been “inspired” by my makeup use and have expressed in some terms that they felt like it’s given them “permission” to do fun things like that for themselves.It’s been an ongoing process reflecting on my own icky  internalized stuff around this. I’ve had a few conversations the past few weeks with fellow friends who identify as women, femme even, but tend to err on the in-their-minds-more-than-in-their-bodies type and how we sadly realize that there’s some part of us that tends to initially judge women who spend time on their appearance as being being less creative, interesting, intellectual, etc. That their decision to spend time on their appearance is somehow a sign of their submission to cultural expectations around gender.

    It’s gross to realize.

    So it was with great pleasure that I filled out this survey, claimed my newish love of make up and beauty related pampering as well as my happiness, confidence and intelligence.


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