What is the definition of beauty?
According beauty giant Coty, those you can currently find in many dictionaries need revision in order to take a more inclusive approach.
Coty, one of the world’s largest beauty companies with a portfolio of well-known brands across fragrance, cosmetics, skincare, including Rimmel, CoverGirl and Gucci Beauty, has launched a campaign called #UndefineBeauty.
It says current English language definitions of the term ‘beauty’ are “outdated and no longer reflect the values of today’s society”, according to a statement announcing the campaign.
Specifically, the examples cited under the current entries for ‘beauty’ across the leading English dictionaries are both “limiting and exclusive”.
As one example, it refers to the description “she was a great beauty in her youth” — currently used as a dictionary example of how to use the word beauty. The campaign calls for the dictionary publishers to review the examples and remove the implicit ageism and sexism they currently contain.
Sue Y. Nabi, Coty’s CEO, has also written an open letter to the major Dictionary houses highlighting the issues.
“Seen through the lens of today’s society and values, the definition of beauty hasn’t aged well,” says Nabi. “Of course, not all people are impacted by, or feel excluded by these definitions. But the implicit ageism and sexism in the examples were born in a different time. We believe it’s time to bridge the gap – time to bring the definition to where society is today. By changing the definition, if more people feel included – feel beautiful – there will be a ripple effect which touches us all.”
Coty has also launched a public petition seeking support in pushing for the changes.
“At Coty, we believe that no one can control or dictate what is, or is not, beautiful,” says Nabi.
“That is why the campaign to #UndefineBeauty aims to ‘undefine’ rather than simply ‘redefine’ beauty, so that no one feels excluded by the definition or examples that accompany it.”