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Note from The DiRectory’s Editor and Advisor, Mrs. Shattuck:
There have been numerous research studies on the effect of the media on adolescent girls’ self-image. Though we are all aware that the women we see in movies, magazine ads, music videos, etc., look “ultra beautiful” due to makeup and technology tricks (Photoshop, airbrushing, etc.), we are constantly bombarded with these images, and they do, indeed, affect society’s standards of beauty, as well as all of us members of society. Adolescent girls seem to be the most vulnerable, due to their changing bodies, peer pressure, and their need to fit in. Our new staff member, Natalie P., was very interested in writing about this from the perspective of middle-school girls. Before she completed her article and interviewed fellow students, Mrs. Kellaway, Associate Newspaper Advisor, and I arranged for Natalie to meet with our Residential Director, Mr. Bendall. Natalie showed him the questions she was going to address in her article and interviews with her female classmates. We are all very proud of the conclusion that Natalie arrived at in her article. With this in mind, please read Natalie’s article and watch the attached video she wanted to share in order to find out what we consider to be most important about each individual. Thank you, Natalie, for your honesty, your ability to look within, and your interest in raising our awareness of just how much appearances do affect adolescent girls! Mrs. Shattuck
Looking at someone on the outside is easy. You might not notice the person’s flaws; you might think they have it easy because they have a perfect body, or their hair is straightened, but that person that you’re calling “perfect” is looking at him/herself and slowly dying on the inside. Why? Because they don’t see the good in themselves. They see the tiny things that they want to get rid of, the things they want to change about themselves.
I’ve noticed that people tend to hide their emotions. It might not seem like it because they laugh at the jokes you make about their appearance, but on the inside, they are in pain, and they aren’t going to tell you to stop. You might be thinking, “Why wouldn’t they just tell me to stop?” Well, nobody wants to be seen as a person who takes everything too seriously. So maybe if we don’t bring it up, people won’t tease us because they won’t know what our weakness is. And the sad thing is, our weakness is in discussing ourselves. We aren’t proud of who we are because we see all “the good stuff” in other girls. And other girls see all “the good stuff” in us, which leads to jealousy, which then leads to insecurity, which in turn leads to not liking who we are, or what we look like, or what we stand for. And then we start judging other people. Most of the time we probably don’t mean a word we say, but we still do it. We do it because we are insecure, and we are trying to make ourselves feel better. I cannot count how many times a girl has come up to me and said, “I wish I was prettier, like her.” And I do this, too; I think a lot of girls do. Recently, I anonymously surveyed ten girls at my school by asking them if they wanted to be as pretty or as popular as another girl at our school, and they all responded with, “ Yes!” or, “Of course!”
Social media…another reason why we aren’t as confident as we would like to be. Social media should not be taken too seriously. Nowadays you can do anything on social media. You can change the color of your hair, or your eyes, or put filters on your photos. People do this because they are insecure; they do things for other people to make themselves feel better about their own appearance.
Confidence. Do you ever think about when you were younger and it seemed like you could do anything without being shy or inhibited? … back when you were confident. When we were young, we didn’t understand why people cared so much about appearance; all we cared about was how people were treating us. And that’s how it should be. But it’s not, and it probably never will be.
Society has changed so much over the years. The definition of beauty has changed a lot, too. We (adolescent girls) put ourselves through so much pain, just to be cool, or to be pretty, so other people will like us. We make bad decisions when choosing our friends because, in the moment, we might prefer to pick the “cool” people as friends, rather than those who are true friends.
What I’m trying to say is this: I bet every girl has made mistakes about how she treats herself because of other people. I think your personality or your looks should not be based on what other people want or think. Your personality and your looks should be based on what you want, and who you really are. Remember that you matter a lot more than the people who don’t like you for you!