The society surrounding us these days has led us to believe that beauty can only be seen when one fits a conformed set of standards. Older women may be used to this, yet what about the younger girls?
Countless teenage girls stand in front of a mirror and hate the shape of their nose or that stretch marks running over their thighs. They hate the way they don’t have a flat stomach and the way their acne makes them look less attractive. They hate the facial hair spread out throughout their face. Their bushy eyebrows. Their lack of a thigh gap. They dab on foundation constantly until their acne scars are hidden behind layers of powder, wear loosely fitting clothes to hide the shape of their body or starve themselves until they are the “ideal” weight. But who decided what such a flawless face or body would be?
Such girls look around and see models on their favourite social media apps living the so-called “perfect” life. Someone who fits the ideal weight, someone who has the perfect nose and someone with spotless skin. Looking at themselves later, they see all of which they lack: hating themselves for the way their body deceives them.
This constant insecurity has long-lasting impacts on such girls. Throughout this, the insecurities remain in every girl; those with luscious, curly hair wished they had straight hair while those with fairer skin wished they were more tanned. The ones who feel they're overweight wish they could lose weight, while the ones perceived as the “perfect” weight wish they weren’t the way they are.
This issue isn’t recent. As long as history books date back, all women have been presented as attractive in a confined manner: whether it be Cleopatra’s deceiving eyes, Jane Austen’s fair skin or Diana’s perfect body; every century featured gorgeous women who fit the beauty standard of that era. That is why women, over the years, perceived such figures to be amongst the highest standards of beauty: without regard for the impact these ideas left on younger girls. The girls who saw their mothers, grandmothers and sisters surrounding them get ready in a certain way. Nobody embraced their true selves.
Nowadays, in the 21st century, the increasing use of social media has made it harder for such young girls to love themselves. Not only do they see the picture-perfect models, yet the face slimming filters on numerous apps have made it harder for these girls. The filters make their skin clearer, their faces slimmer and their eyes larger. Everything the beauty standards worldwide are shown to represent.
The constant usage of makeup, skin whitening creams or slimming pants has changed the world as we know it. Middle school girls now focus on their eyeliner’s arched wing more than on their history exam. In contrast to this, other young girls that are medically overweight sometimes become anorexic attempting to fit into the beauty standards set by their ancestors before them.
Young girls are ruining their mental and physical health by fighting a battle they shouldn’t have ever felt the need to be a part of. Yet, who is going to tell these women that they are beautiful just the way they are?
Written by Mahnoor Adnan