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Coty calls on dictionaries to change 'outdated' definition of beauty

Sophie Smith
30 January 2023

Coty has launched a new campaign to change the current dictionary definitions of 'beauty' to be more inclusive. 

The #UndefineBeauty campaign recognises that the current English language definitions of the term ‘beauty' are outdated and no longer reflect the values of today’s society.

"She was considered a great beauty in her youth" is a phrase used by the Oxford dictionary for 'beauty'. Coty is calling for dictionaries to review and remove phrases like this, which contain "implicit ageism and sexism".

Sue Y. Nabi, Coty’s CEO, has written an open letter to the "major dictionary houses", co-signed by the company’s Executive Committee and Senior Leadership Team, to highlight the outdated nature of their definitions, and their need for review. The company is also inviting people to join the campaign via its petition.

To promote the initiative, Coty has released a video asking 100 consumers for their definition of ‘beauty’. The social experiment then provides the respondents with the current dictionary definitions of 'beauty' and shows their reactions. At the end of the video, viewers are urged to sign the petition.

Sue Y. Nabi, CEO of Coty, said: “Seen through the lens of today’s society and values, the definition of beauty hasn’t aged well. 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 and 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.

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

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