Social media creates unnecessary standards for females

By HALEY PITTMAN

Danville High School

When I was growing up, I always kept up with the newest trends because being a young girl in a media-centric world made it hard to feel comfortable with myself due to the unrealistic expectations the media presented. We have a tendency to want to look like that model in the magazine, or our favorite actor in a movie.  According to a National Report on Self Esteem, 98 percent of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way. We live in a world surrounded by media. Media outlets provide unrealistic standards about beauty in today’s society. From magazines to Instagram, we are constantly confronted with the visual standard we are expected to “upkeep.” Media, such as “Top Model,” “Glamour,” “New Beauty” and “Vogue” constantly bombard us with certain standards of beauty. You have to have curves, but not too many, perfect eyebrows, but you can’t look like you’re wearing too much makeup.  As young people refer to these images and standards that the media presents as a form of comparison, it causes them to feel insecure about themselves.

Society presents women who are attractive, extremely thin, and who have super clear skin in magazines, television shows, movies and commercials. This type of representation presented by the media compels young females to view themselves in negative ways just because they don’t look like those on screen, which contributes to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, and severe depression.

So how can we build a strong and positive body image? Positive body image requires understanding that healthy, attractive bodies come in many different shapes and sizes, and that our physical appearance doesn’t limit our character or value as a person. We need to realize that we cannot change our body type: thin, large, short or tall, we need to appreciate the uniqueness of what we were born with and work with it. As someone who has had such low self-esteem, I understand the effect media has on young women’s lives. If we base our happiness on how we look it is likely to lead to failure and frustration and may prevent us from finding true happiness. Something society should work on is broadening its perspective about health and beauty by displaying other body sizes, other races, and other women with different characteristics.

Tyra Banks, American television personality, producer, businesswoman, actress, author, former model and occasional singer, once said, “Girls of all kinds can be beautiful—from the thin, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing and all in between. It’s not easy though because many people still put beauty into a confining, narrow box… think outside of the box… pledge that you will look in the mirror and find the unique beauty in you.”