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Do Toxic Beauty Standards Cost the US Economy $305 Billion a Year?

Do Toxic Beauty Standards Cost the US Economy $305 Billion a Year?

Dove says report provides evidence that racist and gendered beauty standards have a devastating impact on the economy and wellbeing of individuals.

10.04.22
The Dove Self-Esteem Project has released a new "The Real Cost of Beauty Ideals" report, which the Unilever brand calls the most comprehensive assessment ever conducted on the pervasive and damaging impact of beauty standards on the US economy and society. The report explores the impact of harmful beauty ideals through dual pathways of body dissatisfaction and appearance-based discrimination, which has led to a silent public health threat that disproportionally impacts women and girls starting as young as 10 years old.

Unilever's Dove contends the findings provide overwhelming evidence that racist and gendered beauty standards have a devastating impact on both the economy and wellbeing of individuals. This groundbreaking study estimates toxic beauty ideals cost the US economy $305B due to body dissatisfaction and $501 billion due to appearance-based discrimination in 2019. Expressed in current dollars, the costs of body dissatisfaction and appearance-based discrimination would be even higher, with inflation averaging 3.9% annually between 2019 and 2022.

The study was conducted in consultation with Dr. S. Bryn Austin, Founding Director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders: A Public Health Incubator (STRIPED) at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and Boston Children's Hospital, and a diverse team of economists at Deloitte Access Economics along with an advisory panel of subject matter experts.

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