What Makes You Beautiful

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You’re insecure, don’t know what for. Maybe it could be that she spends on average 31 hours a week on the internet surrounded by media images of ‘the perfect woman’? Teenage girls feel they should aspire to be like this when in fact this is a digitally enhanced woman with several other women’s features positioned onto her face through the power of Photoshop to create this ‘perfect woman’ who, in fact, does not exist.

Teenage girls are bombarded with products that aim to help them; to aid them into becoming the perfect woman – an ideal that can never be truly reached. From a young age females are socialized to think that appearance is important-if not the most important part of our lives. For example when girls are given toys they often are given dolls to dress up or put makeup on which solidifies the fact this is what is expected of us as women. A more disturbing factor arising is the value placed on being seen as sexy, products for children are now emphasising this factor. The popular Bratz dolls wearing bikinis, crop tops and fishnets teach girls that they should be more focused on their looks and ultimately their sex appeal in order to fit into society.  Though it doesn’t show immediate effects on children the gradual exposure to such messages can lead to damaging situations later on in life.

Only 34% of girls, report, being very satisfied with their bodies according to the Girl Scout Research Institute. Often meaning girls feel negatively about themselves not just bodily wise but mentally too. The American Psychological Association found that three of the most common mental health problems among girls: eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem. These are linked to sexualisation of girls and women in media. Girls may feel isolated from society if they do not live up to these expectations posed by the media, if they are not slim enough to see their ribcage or have the same clothes as their favourite celebrities they feel as though they are somehow lacking. So some girls are seen to throw themselves at men, not because they are ‘sluts’ but because they are not sure of themselves, so they look  for someone else to give them the okay, to tell them that they’re good enough. And even if it means selling themselves out in the worst way in order to feel loved even if only for a short time is better than the self-loathing they often put themselves through on a regular basis.

There needs to be change. The girls portrayed in film, TV and advertising are repeatedly seen as either a sexual object, dim witted or physically fragile which leads not only to females identifying with these characters but males accepting stereotypes as fact. Men especially in other countries such as India or South Africa are so blinded by these stereotypes that they refuse to think anything further.

Women in these countries are often victims of sexual assault such as the resent vicious rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi.  Official data shows that rape cases have jumped almost 875% over the past 40 years – from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011 happening India, sparking campaigning across the country for women’s rights.

Girls shouldn’t feel as though they have to be desired as sexual objects but to be accepted for who they are and be praised just as highly for their achievements as boys. You are beautiful only when you become aware of your own self-worth which is the natural beauty that comes embedded in each and every cell of our bodies when we are born not by wearing ‘natural looking’ makeup. The opinions of others, whether positive or negative have no true affect.  It is only you, only your mind set. The sooner you stop comparing yourself to others and start seeing the good in yourself then, that’s what makes you beautiful.

Reflection;

Looking back I decided to write about this topic in particular because when I was younger I didn’t know how widely spread and dramatic the changes phtotoshop could make to a person. I would aspire to be something that isn’t real and without journalists like Dawn Porter I would I don’t think ever have know this. Aspiring to look like someone who they themselves doesn’t even look like is silly. You should just be happy in your own skin is what I now think. I see a lot of young teenage girls feeling the same pressures as I did so the motive behind why I wrote this was that of ‘I wish I’d read something like this 4 years ago when I was young and Impressionable.’  I also linked in other worldly issues because I think that its easy to get wrapped up in your own life and not thing about others perspectives and situations.

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