Shaira currently lives in Riverside, CA, loves kitschy, quirky finds, and wants to be an entrepreneur.
Contour your cheeks with bronzer and blush. Highlight your eyes with a lighter foundation to make them brighter. No nose job? Slim your nose with more bronzer and more powder. Do your eyebrows, put different shades of eye shadow to emphasize your eye crease, outline your eyes, curl your lashes, put mascara. Have you put a primer and foundation and set it with powder already? Straighten your hair, dye your hair, spend money on many hair products. It’s not over yet. Try on that outfit, no you feel you should dress classy today. But yesterday the girls at school dressed fashionable yet still managed to show off the goods. The boys looked at them, they should also look at you. Stare at the mirror, turn different angles to see how you look in each view.
School is a runway and every day, millions of girls face that routine to look effortlessly beautiful. They say the usual suspects are ads, commercials, magazines, movies, and basically any images that influence us to believe what is beautiful and what is not. With the internet rising, it’s another way for the fashionistas and the beauty gurus to come together and make a sphere created for women and even men who seek tutorials and inspiration to enhance their appearance and correctly mold the impression they want to come off to people.
But with pros comes the cons, and it creates a whole new epitome and standard for beauty. Even if the current generation of teens is more informed and more open to ideas, it raises the bar and asks for teenagers to calculate the millions of variables, standards, and opinions to get the result of what they think they should look like before they leave the house and face school of countless amount of peers who unknowingly feel the same exact way. But really, who are we trying to impress?
I remember watching the Tyra Banks Show and the segment included a mother and her daughter who had low self-esteem. The daughter had supposedly an obsession with always looking perfect so the program decides to have her dress in silly clothes without make-up and walk outside. She freaks out and starts crying so Tyra Banks and a psychologist decides to talk to her and her mother about ways to solve her low confidence. They talk about it concluding that she wasn’t normal and should seek help since regular teenagers would walk out and laugh about it. The daughter never got to figure out what was the true cause of her issue claiming that it was the odd clothes and how she was embarrassed and wonders what the people around her thought. Seems like a regular situation but what stood out to me the most was the fact that Tyra and the psychologist was blaming the mother for not telling the daughter she was beautiful or complimenting her on a daily basis. Well, what do you think?
I strongly disagree with how the talk show handled the ordeal since they put the mother in a tight spot as if she is the cause for her daughter’s everyday struggle to maintain her idea of the perfect image. It wasn’t her mother that made her depressed, it was what she assumed other people saw of her. It was other people’s thoughts that frightened her, but then again it frightens all of us.
In the words of Dave Ramsey, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
For some reason, the human race enjoys being ironic by trying to impress people they don’t know or they don’t even like. We fear their opinions but we can overcome that fear. Instead of just telling your child that they are just beautiful, you should teach them what the world ‘beautiful’ could mean. The magazine defines it with a description of the perfect man or woman. What are you going to tell them?
Tell them that they are beautiful and that they should open their eyes and see how other people are beautiful without the help or reference of what that one boy or that one girl thinks or what her favorite celebrity’s girlfriend looks like. Maybe they’ll grow up to open other people’s eyes too.