Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I think it was watching makeup videos maybe five or six years ago when I started to feel like my eyebrows were insufficient. So I went out and I bought an eyebrow pencil, and then this happened. All agreeing to scan millions of pages from books... Oh, my God. ...related to biodiversity. I guess I did it wrong. So I watch these beauty vlogs, and almost without fail, all of these beautiful women with gorgeous, flawless skin would mention the same thing. And finally I just cracked. I was like, what is a retinoid and where can I buy one? So I have very minimal beauty routine, I think. I mean, okay, I do go get my eyelashes done and I get the Botox and I get waxed. You're right, there are maintenance-- there are maintenance things. How many times have I gone into work and people are like, "Emma, you look really tired today." I'm just like, well, I guess I didn't put on enough concealer, and that's frustrating. I feel like the only reason I care about the way I look is 'cause I want to impress. Honestly-- like, being honest about it, it's 'cause I want to impress on social media. Cleo: Over the past few years, research shows that more and more women are saying that they feel beautiful. But at the same time, the vast majority of women say they feel pressure to be beautiful. So what effect is this online beauty culture having on us? If we have more choices and more information than ever before, why do I feel so trapped? ( music playing ) ( music playing ) Baby Katie Holmes. Joss: November 1997. So here's how makeup was marketed in the '90s. "So breakthrough. So new. So sheer." So, it's, like, you had to read copy, - but no one read that. - Yeah. Today, if there's a YouTube video and someone's like, "I've used this product, I know it works, here's how you do it." - Way more compelling. - Way more compelling. The data shows that people interact with, meaning like and comment on influencers' videos and posts 32 times more often than they do on brands. I talked to Tiffany Gill about this. She's a professor and an author - who writes about the history of beauty culture. - Huh. I think the digital aspect is what really has changed. What it has done is really democratized what beauty and beauty culture is, so that the people who are consumers now have a lot more control over what constitutes beauty and beauty culture. I mean, first of all, anybody can make content. And when they do, they end up talking about - a lot more than just makeup. - Hmm. - Hey, guys. - Hi. - Hi, guys. - Assalamu alaikum. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to my channel. The shade match is pretty good. I clearly have imperfect skin, but it doesn't mean that I don't love my face. I did not have a good high school experience at all. Most of it kind of stemmed around my skin tone. Actually, all of it stemmed around my skin tone. I wanna talk to you guys about my body, about the fact that I'm fat. If you need someone to talk to, I'm always here. You can always DM me. I love you guys a lot. I'll see you soon. Bye. Aww. I wanna be friends with all of them. - Right? - They're so great. The reason why I think we're beginning to see more women sort of defining themselves as beautiful, is because they're able to find these kind of micro communities that affirm their brand of beauty. And as much as selfies get a bad rap, there's something very libratory about being able to show yourself to the world and say, "Look, I'm beautiful." Cleo: At every level in these magazines, somebody was making a specific decision about who gets to be there. Not just the editors and the gatekeepers at these institutions, but, like, the agents of the models. Whereas now, it's not as though somebody's making a decision about who gets to make a video. You know, I think Instagram's actually been really, really important for the ability to kind of follow people who look like you. Because the reality is that not everyone is, like, a skinny blonde with big boobs. Woman: I follow a lot of women on Instagram that are in my age bracket. And that makes me feel good because before, we were invisible. In my friend group, I was always the fat one. Every other thought was like, "How am I gonna lose weight?" It came to the point where I wasn't even enjoying food. For me it was seeing all these stunning curved models. That made me realize, oh, I'm beautiful, too. We're going to IPSY which is this beauty convention where people can interact with their favorite beauty vloggers - and makeup brands. - Let's do it. ( music playing ) Joss: If you look around this event, it's a really sort of exciting environment. And we get to talk to Gigi Gorgeous, who is one of the biggest YouTube beauty gurus out there. - Hi. Nice to meet you. Gigi. - I'm Joss. If the internet hadn't come around, what do you think beauty culture would be like? It really was very rare to see a boy in makeup or, you know, a brand stepping behind a transgender woman. I feel like the times kind of pushed that along, but I also feel like the internet did. Because along with these beautiful, stunning looks that are being created are also these stories that are being told by the people doing them. I have felt for a very long time now that I was a girl trapped inside of a boy's body. I'm really excited just today to talk about my mom. Ah! This literally smells like her. I think that that instantly kind of connects you in a way where it's no longer fan and talent. It's literally family and, like, friend. Cleo: And that's what the online community feels like sometimes, a group of friends all getting ready together and swapping tips. Consumers are more informed than they've ever been. They can take these tools and change the way they present themselves to the world. But if you look at it another way, then it's this constant cycle that ultimately is costing women big chunks of their paycheck, but also something that's more valuable, which is the space in their mind. Cleo: If you're like me, you're spending hours on your phone every day. Last week I spent six and a half hours on Instagram. Which means we're constantly faced with images of other people to compare ourselves to. And a lot of the time, with the advent of filters, those images are full of subtle, little changes, like this skin smoother I've been using. And if everyone around you is making subtle tweaks to their face, it can warp your understanding of yourself and how you fit in. If you're thinking, sure, but we've always compared ourselves to pretty people. That's true, but there's evidence to suggest it's even more concerning online. One study found it made women feel worse when they compared themselves to beautiful peers on social media as opposed to beautiful celebrities in traditional media like magazines and in movies. Researchers think that's because our peers on social media feel like more relevant comparisons. They feel more like us. And then there's all the likes and comments. Another study found that seeing someone leave a compliment like, "You look amazing!" on a pretty woman's photo on Instagram, made the viewer less happy with their own body. I leave comments like that on my friends' posts all the time, and I really didn't realize it was having this effect. It makes sense that the more we compare ourselves to good-looking people, the more dissatisfied we are, and the more beauty work it feels like we have to do to keep up. And I should also say, I'm wearing makeup on a professionally lit set. So, I have no high horse here. This says, "Youth activating concentrate." Because there's a 23-year-old inside me. You just have to activate it with something like this. I do use this often. 'Cause it feels really good. It's super cold. Cleo: What is its objective? I'm sure it does nothing. Emma: Skincare is really expensive. My facial oils are an investment, and it's just never-ending in the name of self-care. I see these lines, and they're just gonna get worse and worse and worse. And I should actuall y love them and accept them because they're lines that are actually the result of my life. But they really, really bother me, and now it's the first thing that I see. I see my boyfriend just roll out of bed and take a shower and go to work. And when I watch him do that I wonder, you know, not why can't I do that, but why does it feel so bad when I do? - Hello. - Hey. So we're gonna talk about the bigger context here. - Okay. - Recently, a group of computer scientists figured out a way to analyze the language that writers use when they describe men and women in three and a half million books in English. We're talking about both nonfiction and fiction books. So what they did is they pulled out the 200 adjectives that were most uniquely used to describe men and women. And what they found was that of those words, the ones used to describe women were twice as likely - to be about their physical appearance or their bodies. - Mm. Christophe: Pretty, fair, beautiful, lovely, charming-- those are all kind of words describing appearance. Whereas like faithful, responsible, grand, worthy, adventurous, these are all, like, character judgments - of who someone actually is. - Mm-hmm. And these are books that were published between the years 1500 and 2008. So what about today? Well, in 2017, the Pew Research Center did a survey of American adults, and they asked this really interesting question, which was, "What traits do people in our society value most in men and in women?" - Okay. - Now, this was an open-ended question, meaning people could write anything. But you guys are gonna do the multiple choice version. What do you guys think the top six responses were? Strength and toughness I feel like is not gonna be on the female list for what people value. - Yeah, that's gotta be off the list. - And ambition. People hate those things in women. Wow, it's just so hard to listen to this. Just think of really ( bleep ) up-- You both have six down. You good with them? All right, should Joss and I rearrange? So the top answers for women were physical attractiveness, and then empathy, nurturing, and kindness. The top answers for men were honesty, and morality, actually, and then second was professional and financial success. So those are adults. But maybe it's getting better with the next generation.