EventsNewsOCFExterior view of the Oxford Union

After the great success of last year’s debate, OCF will hold another event at the Oxford Union on Tuesday 10th November, where we will explore why people spend more on beauty and the pursuit of perfection than on philanthropy.

What makes a happy and thriving society? And how do the individuals in it choose to use their time and money? These are the questions we will ask ourselves at our second Oxford Union debate.

It could be argued that the amount of money our society spends in the pursuit of beauty would be better spent in support of charitable activity. So much of our 21st century culture and values appear to have resulted from the seemingly unattainable norms that have collectively and subliminally established ‘perfection’ as an elusive benchmark for us to be successful, attractive and happy with our lives. This focus on ourselves could be distracting us from the larger questions about how to make our society better.

But is this contrast a false dichotomy? In fact, are we being disingenuous in suggesting that the love of self and the love of mankind (aka philanthropy!) are mutually exclusive? Indeed, the beauty industry, worth £17 billion in the UK alone, is an essential engine for economic growth in the 21st century, helping create the thriving society in which we all want to live. What is more, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of the beauty industry in bonding us together and giving us the confidence to take on the world – whether it’s through our work or the steps we take to make society better.

In this vein, we are proposing the following motion for our debate at the Oxford Union:

This house believes that there is nothing wrong with spending more on looking good than doing good.

The debate will be hosted in the historic Oxford Union debating chamber in central Oxford. The Union is steeped in history: founded in 1823, it has been established for 192 years, and aims to promote debate and discussion in Oxford University and across the globe. There will be 450 guests at the debate, to whom speakers will be invited either to propose or oppose the motion, and will be expected to speak for no more than eight minutes each. Comments will be taken from the floor before a vote on whether the house accepts or rejects the motion. The current President-elect, Charles Vaughan, has confirmed the presence of three Officers in formal robes.

There will be three speakers advocating for each side of the motion, with a total of six speakers. These speakers will be brought in from a variety of areas, including the beauty industry, the academic world and the charity sector. Lively debate will be encouraged!

If you are interested in taking part as a speaker or audience member, or if you have recommendations, suggestions or contacts for potential speakers, please contact us. In the meantime, please save the date!