The 1950s and Beyond

By the 1950s the cosmetic industry was in full swing. Criticism was generally muted and most became totally immersed within the community of consumption. Along with the new purchasing power, came a greater variety and identification with products. Mothers used certain cosmetics read about in established magazines like Ladies Home Journal , while their daughters searched Seventeen to find their own consumer identity. Beauty was no longer seen as an inward expression and make-up came to dominate a market once composed of soaps and face creams. There was no longer a stigma for those who painted, now every woman wouldn't leave her home without "putting her face on."

The emergence and acceptance of the beauty culture illustrates many changes and qualities of the American capitalistic way. Increasingly, consumer wants and the freedom to attain these needs became the foundation for American democracy and liberty. Essentials are replaced with items produced and marketed in order to tap into the fears and pulse of the American people. Beauty, once a subjective racial and class defined conciouness, is now part of the American consensus. It will be interesting to see how this market matures in the future. With the advent and institutionalization of plastic surgery in the 1990s, perhaps this beauty culture will begin to reject the facial palet of birth and move into a new evolution of identity. Time can only tell.

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