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How The Beauty Industry Has Overcome Gender Bias and The Key Influencers Driving This Evolution

How The Beauty Industry Has Overcome Gender Bias and The Key Influencers Driving This Evolution

Monday, June 19th, 2023

The Beauty Industry has long upheld classifying products based on gender, where traditional norms and societal expectations have perpetuated stereotypes and limited opportunities for different genders. However, in recent years, consumer values have shifted; a remarkable evolution has occurred, driven by key influencers who have challenged these biases and paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse beauty industry. As a result, the emphasis on rigid male-female distinctions is waning, making way for a more inclusive approach that aligns with evolving societal perspectives. This transformation reflects the industry’s response to the changing demands of consumers who prioritise inclusivity over traditional gendered norms.

In this article, we will delve into the perspective of gender bias, explore the rise of inclusive beauty, discuss key influencers driving the evolution, and examine the role of brands as catalysts for change. Together, these factors are reshaping the beauty industry and underlining the importance of addressing and overcoming gender bias.

Gender Bias in the Beauty Industry

Throughout history, the beauty industry has been deeply intertwined with societal perceptions of gender roles and stereotypes. Societal expectations have dictated beauty standards, often favouring a narrow definition of beauty that reinforces traditional gender norms.

These traditional gender roles assigned women the responsibility of upholding specific beauty standards that have led to creating and promoting beauty products focused on and tailored specifically to women, from skincare and cosmetics to haircare and fragrances. On the other hand, there was a limited emphasis on beauty and grooming for men as they were often expected to embody strength and ruggedness.

Representation and inclusion issues have significantly affected product development, too, resulting in limited offerings and marketing strategies that perpetuate gender bias. However, as societal standards begin to evolve with the emergence of groups fighting for gender equality and breaking away from fixed stereotypes, so too does the beauty industry, challenging the traditional narrative.

Breaking Gender Barriers: The Rise of Inclusive Beauty

Inclusivity has become a paramount goal in the Beauty Industry, fostering a sense of acceptance and empowering individuals to embrace their unique identities. In recent years, the industry has witnessed a significant shift towards inclusivity and breaking down gender barriers, where brands have started to recognise the diverse needs and preferences of individuals across the gender spectrum, leading to the development of gender-neutral or gender-inclusive beauty products that defy traditional categorisations.

Gender-neutral products and brands are redefining the industry landscape by challenging the notion that certain products or aesthetics are exclusively for men or women. However, while progress has been made, there is still much work to be done. It’s essential to understand that inclusivity goes beyond mere representation; it encompasses a genuine understanding and respect for the unique needs and preferences of individuals from all walks of life.

In this context, the rise of inclusive beauty initiatives has played a crucial role in dismantling gender bias and reshaping beauty standards, such as acknowledging and catering to the diverse range of skin tones, body types, ages, gender identities, and cultural backgrounds that exist. In addition, these initiatives have the power to shape narratives and redefine societal perceptions of beauty.

Key Influencers Driving the Evolution

key influencers breaking gender bias in the beauty industry

Women Empowering Women

Women-led beauty brands have been pivotal in promoting inclusive beauty standards, advocating for representation, and challenging gender bias with unwavering determination. Notably, women of colour have emerged as influential figures, too, using their platforms to address and rectify the historical lack of representation in the industry. Furthermore, through collaborative endeavours, women have propelled the transformation of the beauty landscape, fostering empowerment and amplifying voices that have long been marginalised.

LGBTQ+ Influence

The LGBTQ+ community has been instrumental in influencing change in the beauty industry. LGBTQ+ influencers have harnessed the power of self-expression and authenticity to challenge traditional beauty norms. Their influence has been critical in developing a more inclusive industry, encouraging people to embrace their identities, and celebrating the beauty of diversity. As a result, the LGBTQ+ community is redefining beauty standards by breaking free from societal constraints.

Generation Z and the Impact of Social Media

In this digital transformation era, Generation Z’s influence cannot be overlooked. Their reliance on social media platforms as information hubs and their demand for authentic content have reshaped the Beauty Industry. With a staggering 65% of this cohort relying on social media as a primary channel for discovering and selecting beauty products, their preferences impact content strategies and influencer choices of brands.

‘Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition’ survey reveals that Generation Z places great importance on values such as body positivity, social activism, and personal success, valuing these “authentic” traits more than any other demographic, including millennials. Also, they are more aware and vocal about the need for products that align with their values and beliefs. They seek brands that celebrate diversity and prioritise inclusivity in their marketing, product development, and overall brand ethos. Moreover, collaborations between influencers from different genders have been breaking down gender barriers and promoting inclusivity.

Data-Led Decisions

Celebrities and public figures have also been playing a pivotal role in advocating for gender equality in beauty. Their visibility and influence shape perceptions and trends, amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities. One notable transformation, however, is the shift towards a data-driven approach in influencer selection, primarily fuelled by the growing demand for authenticity, prompting brands to rely on audience insights to make informed decisions. By embracing this data-driven mindset, brands and influencers cultivate stronger partnerships that drive genuine engagement and break gender bias.

Brands as Catalysts for Change

Inclusivity in the Beauty Industry requires active efforts, such as expanding shade ranges, featuring diverse models in marketing campaigns, and promoting inclusive language and imagery. It also involves creating safe spaces where individuals can express themselves authentically without fear of judgment or exclusion. Recognising the need for change is the first step towards breaking gender bias and ensuring that beauty is accessible and inclusive.

The skincare brand Good Light is an outstanding example of a beauty brand that has overcome gender bias. Its gender-inclusive formulations outline the ‘Beauty Beyond the Binary’ culture. David Yi, co-founder and CEO, claims that “social media, especially TikTok, is driving conversations around gender neutrality and challenging people on their understanding of gender and what comes with it”.

Be Part of This Evolution. Be the Change.

The Beauty Industry has made significant strides in overcoming gender bias, driven by key influencers, brands, and consumer demand. The industry has transformed into a more inclusive space by challenging traditional norms and celebrating diversity. Gender-neutral beauty brands not only bridge the gap between conventional gender categories but also embrace the idea that beauty is a form of self-expression that knows no boundaries. It all starts with an idea but changes only happen when we take action.

Innov8Labs understands the importance of continued efforts in pursuing gender-inclusive products, and if you want your brand to be an active part of this evolution, we are here to work with you. Contact our team today.