Undefine Beauty is all about reclaiming narrow standards and appreciating beauty in all its forms. 

What does beauty really mean? It’s a question than great artists and poets have grappled with for hundreds of years, and something we ask ourselves on a near-daily basis. Do we feel beautiful? Do we feel represented? Do we feel empowered and confident in who we are? Sadly, the answer is more often than not ‘no’.

Currently, the Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘beauty’ as “the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives great pleasure, especially when you look at it.” The stated examples read: “This is an area of outstanding natural beauty,” “The piece of music he played had a haunting beauty,” and “She was a great beauty when she was young.”

But the interpretation is limited to say the least, which is exactly what this beauty brand is aiming to fix.

In its empowering new campaign, #UndefineBeauty, Coty, the brand behind beauty giants such as Max Factor, Rimmel, and Burberry,  is leading a charge to change the very definition of “beauty,” removing the implicit ageist and sexist ideals that often come alongside it.

In an open letter to major English dictionary houses, CEO Sue Y. Nabi and Coty’s Executive Committee and senior leadership team declared that it was “time to bridge the gap” and bring the definition in line with the new, much more diverse and inclusive view.

“The beauty of today is a different notion to what it was even a few years ago,” the statement read. “New generations have thrown out the old, restrictive rules, deconstructed the beauty paradigm, and built a new one that is fluid and ever-changing.”

“Seen through the lens of today’s society and values, the definition of beauty hasn’t aged well,” it continues.

“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.” 

Alongside the open letter, the company has also inaugurated a petition on Change.org calling for the definition changes in dictionaries, which currently stands at more than 2,400 signatures.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Max Factor’s global ambassador and creative collaborator, has also backed the campaign, calling it “an acknowledgement of people who express their visions of beauty in their own way every day.”

“At Coty, we believe that no one can control or dictate what is, or is not, beautiful,” Nabi says. “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.”

Images: Coty, Getty

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