Universitas Indonesia Conferences, 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

Font Size: 
Chemicals and Social Existence
Nur Pratiwi

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 523
Date: 2019-07-25 03:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-21


While we use various chemicals every day, many of us are even unaware of this practice. In our daily consumption, we use chemical products from primary human needs to the secondary ones, including the needs for social existence. Many consumers nowadays are prioritizing the fulfillment of their secondary needs as compared to their primary ones for their social existence. For this purpose, they uuse various chemical products, and put aside the actual benefits, the content, the quality as well as the side effects of the products. Whereas many existing literatures deal with the use of chemical products to enhance beauty and one’s persona for their work such as an actress, dancer, or performer in the specific research area, this article fills the gap. It deals with how chemicals play a significant role in accomplishing one’s social performance in order to be socially existed.


This study was conducted in Makassar. There are 15 participants involved in this study and they vary on the basis of age, family background, level of education and income. Data was collected through in-depth in interview.


Chemical products have been widely consume by almost the entire community, regardless of age, family background, level of education and income, the study shows that there is a beauty social standard that forces them to fulfill such standard, including having a smooth face, slim body, and white skin. In order to meet this social standard, they use various chemical products, which include many chemicals content such as mercury in whitening cream/injection, formaldehyde in hair straightened, sodium lauryl sulfate in face cleanser, etc. The importance of social existence has caused them to ignore the potential effects which may be because of the content of the products or the practice itself.