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Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

A ban on all beauty products

Dame Edna Everage

60 seconds to change the world

Can a simple idea help make the world a better place? Each week we ask a guest to outline an idea to improve all our lives. Here, Baroness Haleh Afshar suggests banning make-up.

We should get rid of all beauty products in this world because it seems to me they are a myth, which we haven't explored.


The whole idea that people, in particular women, are judged by what they look like seems counter productive because it reduces us to the length of our eye lashes.

Whether our eyebrows are plucked, whether we are white or pink enough, or if we've had a special operation to make our lips bigger or smaller.

We are more than that.

It doesn't allow us to grow old because women are supposed to stay young and pretty forever.

In fact beauty products of all kinds can fail us again and again and don't seem to result in any kind of change.

These are experiments that we do everyday and yet we still believe in them. It's a problem.

Baroness Haleh Afshar is Professor of Politics and Women's Studies at York University

Below is a selection of your comments.

Some people look fantastic without make-up but the rest of us need to use it to make the best of ourselves. I would feel I was being judged unfavourably without makeup against those who are naturally attractive.
Mrs Mascara, Manchester

I agree that a lot of the lotions and potions we apply to ourselves don't seem to come close to doing what they say they do, e.g. prevent ageing, get rid of cellulite, etc. Make-up on the other hand, is something different, it's a form of personal expression that helps make life less boring.
Miriam, London

For many years now I have not worn make-up and I buy a cheap face cream and shampoo. I woke up a long while ago to the fact that you can't buy happiness and eternal and everlasting beauty and youth from a bottle.
Lesley, Rijswijk, Holland

If the honourable Baroness doesn't want to wear make up, she has that choice. She shouldn't deny others, the right to MAKE UP THEIR own mind that they want to make a different decision. Such a proposal is utterly appalling in this so called "free country" of ours.
Shaun Hollingworth, Rotherham, UK

Having read Baroness Afshar's comments, I do in some part agree. However, having "Googled" the Baroness I was intrigued to see that she obviously dyes her hair and has it styled regularly - so we can all keep going to the hairdressers girls, but we mustn't use make-up.
Susan Greengrass, Grantham

I very rarely wear make-up and as I have very sensitive skin and I never started wearing it often enough to make a habit out of it. The funny thing is, I look about five years younger than my age and I have very good skin, mostly due to not mucking it about with cosmetics.
Heather, Willenhall

I don't wear much, but I do use make-up to conceal when I'm stressed or unwell at work - no one wants to see a miserable secretary.

People judge books by their cover. Whether that is right or not is largely irrelevant because it is true and it won't change.
Samantha Phillips, London

What a load of tosh! I wear make-up every day, have done since I left school and I'm now 60 with the skin of a 40-year-old. Make-up makes me feel better and protects my skin from the sun and from pollution. What's wrong with not wanting to look old?
Sue Welch, Stockport

People were adorning their bodies long before they'd created written languages, or even invented the wheel. To call for a ban on something so primally ingrained is naive at best, rather frighteningly dehumanising at worst.

This is a suggestion that is doomed from the start. Cosmetics have been part of cultures throughout the world, used by men and women of all nations throughout history. There is now far too much money involved in the industry for this idea to take root.
Len, London

Some beauty products do work, but people allow themselves to be fooled by pseudoscientific nonsense into believing that some cosmetics can physically turn back the clock.
Flo, London

How exactly would this make the world a better place? I can list the things that would be negative about it, the loss of jobs that would come from an entire industry being wiped out, the erosion of free will of the people who choose to express themselves through the way they look, the draining of colour from the world and what about the film and theatrical industries?
Jim Hewitt, Jersey, Channel Islands

Finally, a woman who has the courage to speak the truth about this beauty farce. How this painted face nonsense ever came to be called beauty is beyond me. Fashion is rubbish because they change it every six months.
Henry Thompson, Tokyo, Japan

I've never liked make-up. I much prefer women without make-up and the only effect it has (on me at least) is to make perfectly attractive women look like mutton dressed as lamb (or worse).
Simon Langley, Ilkley

I am 16 and I am very saddened by how many young teenage girls I see daily wearing more make-up than necessary for any woman. I don't personally wear make-up because I am happy with my body and face the way it is.
Kirsty, East Hoathly, UK

It's not the beauty products that's the problem, it's all the airbrushing for magazines which is done later on.
Jane, Cardiff, UK

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