I was recently reading an article on the Guardian Newspaper about how emotional problems in British School girls aged 11 to 13 has increased by 55% between 2009 and 2014. Although I go to school and witness this in action almost every day, the statistic still shocked me.
I thought about what the cause could be for this; in the article the writer connects this problem to social media, and body dissatisfaction. In my opinion the greater reason is young girls’ expectations of themselves, which THEN affects how they feel towards their bodies, lives, families, and friends.
I agree that social media plays a huge part in this. I mean the amount of photos shared by girls that are #hairgoals, #bodygoals, #relationshipgoals, #bestfriendgoals is slightly insane. Although in the past I’ve certainly never seen it as a very big deal, I realise just how much girls look outside of themselves and compare to other people. They are constantly seeing photos of other girls, and seeing what they have as ‘better’ – as their goal.
In the article they mention the ideal of being a ‘Tumblr Girl’, and there are definitely a huge amount of girls that want that look. You do not have to wear ripped jeans, sneakers, beanies, be skinny and have died hair in order to be beautiful, yet that is what a lot of girls believe – and then when they look down and see that they don’t have that they think there’s something wrong with them.
This applies to magazines and celebrities too – I’m not sure how many readers have heard of the ‘Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge’, but this is a new trend where girls suck their lips up in a shot glass, and hold it there for around 5-10 minutes. The aim is so that when they let go their lips appear bigger, but for many, many girls it has gone horribly wrong resulting in bruising, cuts, bloating and serious pain. What makes the situation even crazier, is that there are rumours that Kylie Jenner’s lips are in fact fake – and while hundreds, even thousands of girls are trying their absolute hardest to look like her, the image they’re trying to create could be false.
There are a million different other things I could name like this, such as the trend of having incredibly thick eyebrows – inspired by celebs like Cara Delevingne. Although it’s a lot less extreme, it really does show just how much girls do to themselves in order to meet the expectations of what they ‘should look like’ as best they can. I know girls who wake up everyday, and without fail HAVE to pencil their eyebrows – quite a strange ritual, but they say without it they feel ‘naked’.
Girls should never feel ‘naked’ or ‘ugly’ in their own skin… Our perceptions of being ‘beautiful’ are almost completely founded on comparison with women we see in the media, online or around us. The expectations we have created are almost, if not impossible to meet, yet we go to these extremes in order to fit in with our ideals of beautiful…
And where has this gotten us? Well now one in every five girls is at risk of emotional problems, and our self worth is at an all time low. Every girl has an understanding that what the media presents to us is not the way that people really look. So why do we continue to put ourselves through so much to look a certain way?
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.