Beauty standards cost economy $501 billion, Dove report – WWD

A new report from Dove has put the weight of beauty standards on the economy at $806 billion.

According to the report released Tuesday, discrimination based on appearance (an umbrella term for skin color and height) cost $501 billion in 2019, and body dissatisfaction has set back the economy by $305 billion over the same period. They affect 66 million and 45 million people respectively.

Dove drew on S. Bryn Austin, a researcher at Harvard Chan School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital, and a team of economists from Deloitte Access Economics.

The report estimated a $501 billion cost to the economy as a direct result of appearance discrimination, of which $269 billion comes from economic costs such as health, employment or other life outcomes. The remaining $233 billion was the result of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, smoking and high blood pressure. Women and girls accounted for 63 percent of these costs, despite making up just 51 percent of the population.

Weight discrimination and race discrimination totaled $206 billion and $63 billion, respectively. Discrimination against natural hair – which the brand plans to ban with the CROWN Act, now mandatory in 19 states – has affected 5 million people, according to the report.

Physical dissatisfaction (defined as “a severe and persistent negative attitude toward one’s physical appearance”) accounted for $84 billion in costs to the health care system, productivity, government, employer, family, individual and society. Loss of well-being, described as depression, anxiety, attempted suicide, smoking, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse, cost the economy $221 billion. Women and girls accounted for 58 percent of these costs.

https://wwd.com/beauty-industry-news/beauty-features/dove-report-beauty-standards-cost-economy-501-billion-1235379024/ Beauty standards cost economy $501 billion, Dove report – WWD

Sarah Y. Kim

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