Shannon is a 16 year old from Maryland. She enjoys writing, is pro recycling, and loves the Jonas Brothers.
I was on the computer at work yesterday afternoon, searching the net for an article that I had previously read in CosmoGIRL! So I click into their website and the window opens up their homepage. It’s got lots of pretty colors, the words COSMO girl written at the top in fancy font, but the thing that strikes me is the box centered towards the top. It’s the first thing you see when you scroll down, a sort of a bulletin box with advertisements to interesting links on the rest of the sight. The ad that was posted read:
Want to be Beautiful?
Win Everything You Need!
Want to be beautiful? Huh. It really surprised me that it was question.
So as the reader, am I suppose to question my beauty? Am I not beautiful right now, as just plain me? This is one of the most popular magazines in the country and they’re telling me that I’m not beautiful. Or that’s how I’m taking it. I mean, at least they’re offering me a solution to my problem. I can become beautiful if I enter their contest or buy the products that they have kindly suggested elsewhere on the site.
I know that this is a serious over-analysis of a simple ad that most people would just brush over, but it really hit hard with me. There are “causal” ads like this one floating around everywhere teens turn. In magazines, on Facebook, and even in the subject line of that occasion junk-email that we open by mistake. Although we try to overlook them, sometimes we can’t help it when they catch our attention, like this one caught mine. Commercials like these are one of the things that lead teens to second guess themselves on topics like body image and personality.
Am I pretty enough?
Am I skinny enough?
Am I sexy enough?
Am I good enough?
How can I change so that people will like me?
How can I be beautiful?
What is beauty?
Society can be so hypocritical. On one had we have people telling us that we’re not truly living unless we’re being true to ourselves, and on the other we have people telling us that we can’t be true to ourselves unless we look the way they want us to, the way they tell us to—like the twigs in the designer clothes with immaculate skin and lush, flowy hair on the cover of almost every magazine that teenage girls read.
What’s a girl to do?
According to Merriam-Webster Online:
Beauty—noun. the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit