It doesn’t matter whether you turn on the TV, watch online videos, flick through magazines or look at posts on Facebook or Instagram; you see images of girls or women everywhere that have one thing in common: They often look like one certain type. They are tall and thin, have long hair, full lips, and large eyes. But they have one more thing in common: They have all been digitally altered.
When we see these images every day, it does something to us. Eventually, we believe that we should also look like this to be considered pretty, interesting or desirable. Especially during puberty - the time we move into adulthood - we sometimes feel like our entire life depends on our weight, the size of our breasts or the shape of our nose. We begin to obsess about our appearance, to the point where we are prepared to go on diets, go jogging daily, or even consider cosmetic surgical to alter our appearance. Many girls (and sometimes even boys) also begin to develop dangerous eating disorders during this time, such as anorexia.
But isn’t this all a bit strange? When we look around, we see that in reality, almost no girls or women look like the beauty images portrayed by the media: They may have thin hair, acne, small breasts or a large bottom. We actually find many of these girls and women pretty and interesting, not despite these features, but rather because they have something that makes them unique; they do not look like the 20th copy of some actress. However, when it comes to ourselves, we do not allow ourselves to depart from this ideal image and only see our flaws when we look into the mirror, not our beauty.
You often hear adults, such as parents or teachers, saying that you should love yourself just the way you are. While this is good advice, it’s usually not that easy to follow. One thing that can help, is to always remember that you are not alone; most other girls and boys are struggling with the exact same thing.