Pathologizing the Pretty
Kate Harding was an original contributor to we WeAreTheRealDeal, but had to move on to bigger and better things! Enjoy her post below.
Did you know that “inadequate or not enough lashes” is a medical condition now? It’s true! Just check out this commercial for Latisse, which I found over at the brilliant Sociological Images.
If you don’t have Brooke Shields’s eyelashes naturally, you may have hypotrichosis! (And obviously, Brooke herself totally had puny lashes before discovering Latisse.)
A little background on Latisse: It’s actually the glaucoma drug Lumigan, which was found to have a side effect of making eyelashes longer and fuller. So of course the pharmaceutical company, Allergan, got approval to repackage it, charge 4 times as much for it, and convince women they have a medical condition that justifies buying Latisse instead of a $5 tube of mascara.
As Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town put it when she wrote about this back in February:
Latisse joins Botox, Lap-Band, Natrelle breast implants, and collagen injections and implants, in Allergan’s fleecing-women stable of products. No matter what part of your body the Patriarchy has made you feel insecure about, if you have heaps of time, pots of cash, and a devil-may-care attitude to the potential for adverse effects, Allergan has something you can brush on, inject, or implant in the hope that bodily adjustments will buy you happiness. Advertised results not typical. Standard disclaimers apply.
This is happening more and more. Looking “healthy” is increasingly conflated with meeting conventional beauty standards, so now it’s not just the beauty industry but the pharmaceutical industry trying to sell us products we don’t need to fix flaws that aren’t real. These days, your physical quirks aren’t just “unsightly” but pathological.
If you feel “inadequate and not enough” because you can’t live up to an impossible standard of beauty, you might suffer from Bullshitosis. Ask your doctor.