Beauty industry plays ugly, says poll

Modern women 'unnecessarily pressed' to cling to youth

The beauty industry has been blamed for distorting the concept of beauty and putting 'unnecessary pressure' on women who are in menopause.

The accusation came from Dominic Li Fuk-him, president of the Hong Kong Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, which conducted a survey showing that 42 per cent of women felt the menopause had affected their looks, and 56 per cent said their health had deteriorated.

About 42 per cent of respondents felt under more pressure than menopausal women in the previous generation to maintain a youthful appearance.

The three-day telephone poll of 315 women, aged between 45 and 60, was carried out in September. Thirty per cent said their sex lives had deteriorated and 39 per cent experienced moods swings.

Dr Li warned that doctors had become increasingly alarmed by the overwhelming number of beauty and slimming advertisements promoting an 'unrealistic wish' among women to stay young. He said this put unnecessary pressure on them and would make their menopausal symptoms worse.


'Many women in their 40s and 50s remain at work, they are facing the social pressure to look young - such mentality is further promoted by the overwhelming beauty and slimming advertisements from the beauty industry,' Dr Li said.

' It is a natural process to grow old ... If people are under a lot of pressure, it [the anxiety] can perpetuate symptoms such as insomnia and irritation.

'Healthiness and happiness start with the heart, not the face.'

The survey also indicated that 22 per cent of women picked former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang as the most outstanding woman of menopausal or post-menopausal age, followed by actresses Liza Wong Ming-chuen (6 per cent) and Nancy Sit Ka-yin (6 per cent), and legislator Fan Hsu Lai-tai (5 per cent).


Dr Li said he believed that Mrs Chan topped the list because of her wisdom and her elegant look.

He said some women in menopause might find their skin ageing due to a drop in hormones. Other common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweating, mood swings, headaches, dizziness, fatigue and insomnia.


But the findings also showed that 56 per cent of women believed they were healthier and more energetic than women in the last generation and 70 per cent felt they enjoyed more independence.