Woman Addresses Insane Beauty Standards Other Women Feel Obligated to Maintain

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

Dec. 4 2023, Published 11:49 a.m. ET

There was a time when getting your nails done was a weekend or birthday splurge. However, in 2023, getting your nails done and other beauty practices is just another weekly expense — especially in the workplace.

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As one woman explained on TikTok, for women working in an office or other professional setting, prioritizing beauty maintenance has become a way of fitting in with other co-workers who do the same. But, those who don’t hold the same beauty standards feel inadequate and less “feminine” than their counterparts.

A nail salon employee giving a woman options for her nail color
Source: Getty Images
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A TikTok user highlights society and the workplace’s ridiculous beauty maintenance standards.

Getting pampered with an eyebrow thread or a mani/pedi makes some women feel better about themselves, and that’s perfectly OK. Who doesn’t like coiffed eyebrows done by a professional or hands with sparkly acrylics and matching toes? The beauty industry was definitely on to something when they gave women (and other genders who participated) many options to enhance themselves.

In contrast, even with the array of options for women, some prefer not to use any of them and focus on their natural looks. Sometimes, you don’t need your eyelashes to be longer than they naturally are. While that should be anyone’s choice, societal standards have pressured people like Devonne (@devonneleigh) to look like their peers.

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In November 2023, Devonne stitched a TikTok clip from Dear Media of a woman saying she believed that every girl should keep their fingernails and toenails maintained “every two to three weeks.” Devonne then turned the TikTok on herself and said she had worked with women who believed in the same beauty standards.

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Devonne said that her female co-workers in her past job always ensured they looked camera-ready in the office. She told the women kept their nails done, eyebrows threaded, and always had on eyelash extensions.

After working in the office, Devonne began questioning her beauty maintenance. Unlike her co-workers, she didn’t wear eyelash extensions but thought she might need to start getting some, not because she needed them, but to fit in with her co-workers.

“I felt like everyone was doing a baseline level of appearance upkeeping that I wasn’t doing,” Devonne said.

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Devonne admitted seeing everyone around her do “so much more” to keep themselves up than she was made her feel like what she was doing “wasn’t enough.” The insecurity only worsened when one of her co-workers told Devonne that her unpolished or manicured nails “creeped her out,” she couldn’t fathom going out of the house looking that unkempt.

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Devonne blames capitalism for the crazy beauty maintenance standards for women, as she should.

Devonne’s office experience at her previous job made her realize that society is “moving the goalpost” on what is considered the “baseline” for beauty. It’s not enough to fix your hair at home and wear a sparkly eyeshadow. Many women in 2023 are now spending more to look “natural,” even resorting to Botox on 40-hour work week salaries. How Sway??

After her storytime, Devonne admitted the beauty maintenance standards most women feel obligated to keep up with make her “sad,” though she knows capitalism is at the root of the madness. She explained that there’s “so much money to be made” in provoking women to enhance themselves every few weeks, and she’s not wrong.

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With a new beauty product or trend being pushed onto women on social media, television, or through good ol’ peer pressure, women are constantly expected to change their appearance to look like a white male’s version of beauty. A look never intended for anyone who isn’t a white woman weighing less than $1.05.

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Despite the ridiculous beauty standards capitalism has created, many women feel obligated to adhere to the standards as part of their self-care routines. Underneath her post, Devonne received multiple comments from those on both sides of her argument.

While many agree beauty maintenance shouldn’t feel like a required expense, some don’t see the problem in a woman keeping her nails and eyebrows up, whether for herself or anyone watching.

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“It’s exhausting,” another said of routine beauty maintenance. “It’s a no from me.”

“Self-care is a personal to-do list. Do what is important to you,” a third user stressed.

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