Is the beauty industry to blame for appearance-related discrimination?

A Conservative politician has criticised the beauty industry for promoting an “obsession with perfection” that leads to discrimination against people with disfigurements. 

Commenting on data collected by Changing Faces, a charity which supports people with a mark, scar or condition that alters their appearance, Minister for Equalities Baroness Williams of Trafford said the beauty industry promoted a distorted perception of beauty that fuels social media abuse. 

During a discussion with The Telegraph Baroness Williams said: “There's an obsession in the beauty industry with perfection and many girls have got such a distorted perception of what beauty and perfection looks like."

The Changing Faces report, My Visible Difference, surveyed 1,000 people with a “visible difference” and found that almost a quarter of said they felt self-conscious or embarrassed going out in public. 

58% said they had experienced hostile behaviour from strangers as a result of their difference, and 29% said they felt depressed or anxious because of it. 

Changing Faces is calling for employers, schools, police forces and other agencies to raise awareness of appearance-related discrimination, with improved reporting procedures for victims. 

The charity’s Pledge To Be Seen campaign is asking brands to sign up and commit to better representing people with a visible difference. So far consumer beauty brand Avon has pledged its support. Philanthropist and burns victim Katie Piper (pictured above) is supporting the campaign. 

Is it fair to blame the beauty industry for appearance-related discrimination? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

Last year, a study found that just half an hour on Instagram can negatively impact body image.

Spa operator Spa Experience by Better and beauty brand HD Brows both recently revealed campaigns featuring image diversity.