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Beauty's Inexhaustible Shame Machine

Author Cathy O'Neal's The Shame Machine, delves into the numerous ways that corporations, governments, and much of the media have weaponized and turned into big business the shaming of individuals or groups. One example is the Kardashian empire:

Kim Kardashian's body is central to both her brand and her commercial empire. Her very profitable company sells makeup, lipstick, and other cosmetics. By early 2020 Kardashian's fortune was creeping toward billionaire status and in April 2021 it was achieved. The founding assumption of her business is that looks are not God-given. It's a never-ending job. And it's expensive. One branch of her branded enterprise involves pitching shelves of products designed to help lesser mortals achieve the perfection of the Kardashian body. For a single Instagram post, she rakes in an estimated half-million dollars. She pops up on millions of feeds, promoting appetite-suppressing lollipops, a fourteen-day detox program, and many more offerings.

She sells fantasy. And the marketing is based on shame: having anything less than a dream body is a choice. If you don't like what you were born with, you can fix it. It's up to you. This is a powerful message, especially for young women. Their anxiety regarding these issues is unrelenting, and it begins early.

These fears fuel endless business for sex-goddesses like Kim Kardashian. To inch closer to their ideal, millions of women strive, worry, work out, diet, buy all kinds of branded garbage, and yet never achieve their goal of looking like her. Many of them feel like wrecks. Beauty has long been the perfect scam, an inexhaustible shame machine.

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