Living in her skin

Xavier Harris, Web editor

Beauty. Whether internal or external, it is something that is on the minds of most teenage girls going through the jungle that is an American high school. Searching for the meaning of the word, girls jump through a tremendous amount of hoops just to feel beautiful.

Waking up hours before school just to lay out their clothes and find the right amount of makeup to put on their young faces, girls in high school go through a lot. Just ask junior Brandy Davis who admitted to waking up as early as 4 a.m. just to prepare for school.

“I do it mostly for myself, just so that I can feel good knowing that I look good on the outside,” said Davis.

For some girls like junior Alexis Madonia, the most important thing to being beautiful is the beauty within.

“If you don’t have a good personality, then what’s the point of putting on the clothes to hide it,” said Madonia. In some aspects, Madonia is right. No one wants to be around a girl that has a bad attitude or a subpar self image.

Contrary to many beliefs, some guys actually prize girls who can carry themselves in a respectable manner – who aren’t afraid to be bold and different from the pack.

A random study taken on self image and how it correlates to teenage girls, shows that more than 90 percent of girls ages 15-17 want to change at least one aspect of their body. Dealing with social anxieties and schoolwork can also add to the stress of being a teenage girl, not to mention dealing with issues at home.

When girls go home to finally sit down, they see their favorite celebrity getting slimmer, toner and more beautiful with every flick of the television. In this type of society where women are being objectified, it is a sickening display to witness.

Society and mass media are training girls to be cookie cutter like figures and are demonizing those who don’t fit into the construct that has been defined as beautiful.

What makes this even worse is that most girls don’t see what their favorite celebrities have done to portray this almost perfect image. Hiring personal trainers, sticking to crazy diets and having teams of medical professionals to aid them in their perfection.

That’s why many organizations have launched campaigns to combat this objectification of women. For instance, Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign that was launched in 2004 focuses on women’s natural beauty of all shapes and sizes, who most likely don’t fit into a size 3,5. Their main goal was set to “make women feel beautiful every day by widening stereotypical views of beauty.”

Campaigns like this are encouraging girls to feel beautiful in their own skin, instead of feeling obligated to look like a perfect Barbie. Some critics say that Dove and similar campaigns are justifying obesity and other unhealthy practices, but in my opinion, these campaigns are restoring sanity in a skewed society.

Girls should love the skin they’re in. But if a young girl feels as if there are slight changes that she can make to better her self image, then she is completely free to make them. I believe in the individual, and that the society an individual resides in shouldn’t push unhealthy practices and irrational practices on any member of society. Thus creating a perfect society where self-image isn’t the center of discussion.

Despite my naïve view of the world, I think all students here at North should consider being individuals and loving the luxuries you are born with. Girls and boys alike we should all love ourselves for who we really are.