Are our beauty standards totally messed up?
Burberry Beauty has a new face – Iris Law. The 16-year-old daughter of Jude Law and Sadie Frost has already modelled for Illustrated People, Miu Miu, Teen Vogue and Love Magazine. But, it is her new role as global beauty ambassador that should be triggering red flags.
It’s not unusual that the scions of the wealthy and famous become the standard bearers of attractiveness. Just this past weekend, Dolce & Gabbana swapped professional models for the likes of Iris’ brother Rafferty Law, Sofia Richie and Stallone sisters Sistine and Sophia. However, what Burberry has done is stymying. It is using the image of youth to sell, which sets an unachievable ideal for anyone above the age of 16.
It’s no surprise Iris has been given this new title. As the success of 17-year-old Lily-Rose Depp’s Chanel campaign shows, youth, beauty and convertibility have a tangible correlation. Psychologist Nancy Etcoff explained in Survival of the Prettiest, our understanding of attractiveness is hardwired into us through evolution. So that we care and love our young we inherently find childlike features of button noses, soft skin and big eyes appealing.
The beauty industry has always had a dirty underbelly. Naomi Wolf explained in 1991: ‘Beauty is a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West, it is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact.’
Eurocentric looks of anglicised features, skin and hair has been peddled into a multi-billion-pound international industry. And, the anti-aging industry, which preaches that wrinkles are wrong and need to be eradicated, has become commonplace. There is always the promise of a Svengali-like serum that can turn back the clock and let the fountain of youth stream again.
While we may be genetically inclined, films, fashion and media industries continue to amplify the connect between youth and beauty by putting these bright young things on pedestals. Hands up, we know we’re part of the problem and that objectively Iris Law is stunning and if Burberry is selling something that would make us look even a little bit like Iris, we’re sold.
However, it’s hard to ignore that it’s been reported that more money in the US is spent on make-up than on education and that there has been a systematic increase in plastic surgery in the UK and that the more we worship youthful looks the more these stats will grow.