Beauty is Within






What does it take to define a girl’s beauty?

Clicks. Taps. and Likes.

Girls are powerful, beautiful and strong. So why do the number of likes or comments on our photos constitute our self-worth?

The first time I felt ugly was when scrolling through one of my various accounts, I caught wind of gorgeous models flaunting off their figures, posing for the camera. Everything about them set the an ideal of what I considered to be perfect from their perfect plump lips to teeny slim waists.

As I passed the mirror, it began to taunt me, slipping into an all familiar conversation with the voices inside my head criticizing my every flaw.  I felt myself growing increasingly conscious of the shape of my eyebrows and the size of my nose. I didn’t look like those girls. I wasn’t those girls. But I longed to be.

“You’re not good enough Ashwini” I whispered to myself. And for the longest time, I believed it.

Sadly, this is the very real identity of many young people glued to their screens in the ever evolving techno-centric 21st century. Surrounded by the over-glamorized and deliciously inviting lives of our peers and celebrities, the clear takeaway is the societal idea of perfection.

These ideas portrayed in the media, connote society’s standard of beauty. The typical woman is glorified for her slim figure, smooth skin and perfect physique. But representation of all girls is the issue brought to prominence here. Calling attention to magazines, like Vogue and brands like Calvin Klein who’ve been historically noted in the past for the photoshopping and “perfecting” of their models, this simply isn’t reality. 92% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 have been reported to go on social media at least five times a day. 54% of this majority are teenage girls. Young women and girls are barraged with a constant stream of media and peer pressures related to body image. For young people like ourselves who are greatly influenced by the perfectionism displayed online, images of these girls or women they see online lead them to equate these ideals with the standard of happiness. Social media representation gives young people– especially girls – the feedback and validation they crave, it can also serve as a catalyst for more insecurity. Personally, My constant search for validation in likes triggered my own negative thoughts about body image.

 

So what can we really do as a means to amplify women’s voices successfully and achieve equality?

Social media must mobilise public attention on women’s rights and enhance the visibility of issues that often get lost in the mainstream media. It is time to start showcasing the real beauty of women's bodies. This is a time where the development of one’s identity is crucial for continued development. We have started making vast improvements to the beauty and fashion industry. For starters, There was a greater diversity of real-life models in 2016 – or “nodels” (non-models) – on the catwalk. The more women are presented with the reality, the more they are able to utilize social media and online platform positively as way to make their voice heard, which make it much easier to create arenas to celebrate what makes them uniquely beautiful, from the rich variety of our skin tones, to the curvatures of our beautiful bodies. With these ideals being embraced, more and more brands have erased the stigma surrounding non-perfection and have called to celebrate diversity. Various magazines have pulled the plug on Photoshop and have begun releasing the real unedited and untouched photos of their models of all different shapes and sizes, progress towards teaching and enforcing a sense of appreciation in today’s society. We are more than what we look, and it is time to start showcasing the beauty of our real-self both in the media and online. We must establish the rightful splash of diversity needed to thrive in our community. It is time to instill the belief that all girls are exquisite, by encouraging them to believe in themselves.

I choose to turn away from these pre-conceived notions of beauty, because I now know I am beautiful in my own way. And the next time I pass by the smirk of the mirror, I’ll sing:

“Don’t ever let nobody bring you down girl, Don’t ever let nobody tear your world apart, look in the mirror and see who you are, you’re beautiful you are.”

Because we are all beautiful.

CONVERSATION

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