Beauty matters.  Let’s start with this assumption.  In a consumer society that is shaped by fashion, cosmetics and even surgery, beauty has become a major consumption.  The media, the beauty industry and more increasingly, consumers all interact to shape beauty standards.  How are perceptions of beauty, socially and culturally constructed?  The increase in photography and video has not only made beauty ubiquitous in the media, but it has challenged consumers to engage in the continuous comparison of their own self-image with media ideals, comparing their own image to that of ideas seen on screen and in print.  As humans we think we can recognise beauty when we see it, yet a broad range of social and economic factors influences our ideas about what beauty is.  Retailers and indeed consumers have shaped cultural assumptions and continue to influence the commodification of beauty.  I say beauty exists not only on screen and in print advertising but in everyday life, including pain, suffering and even death. 
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