Be skinny, but not too skinny. Have curves, but not too many curves. Wear makeup, but not too much makeup.
The media constantly tells girls to be themselves, but to simultaneously make sure they follow the rules and trends so they can fit in with everyone else.
The pressure to look, dress and act a certain way creates a struggle for young girls to either be themselves, or strive to be this cookie-cutter person that society tells them is the correct image of beauty.
The heavily edited images constantly portrayed through media give people, especially young girls, false expectations for their own appearance.
The constant reminder that other people are “perfect” and they are not, play a huge role in harming young girls’ self-confidence and self-esteem.
Recently, images of Kim Kardashian have been released where she is completely naked, with only her legs partially covered by some black, sequined material. Kardashian is known for her extremely curvy figure. In these pictures, however, the extreme editing is nowhere near realistic. She looks like a real life Barbie.
The problem is, if Barbie was a real person, she would be 5 feet and 9 inches, with a 16-inch waist, 39-inch bust and would weigh a mere 110 pounds.
She would most likely not menstruate because she is so severely underweight, and would have to walk on all fours due to her proportions. Just like Barbie is not a real person, these images of Kardashian aren’t real.
These days, it’s custom for pictures in magazines and on the Internet to be Photoshop’d and airbrushed so all flaws disappear.
This gives the impression that models and celebrities don’t have any blemishes, discoloration, cellulite, rolls, flyaway hairs or any imperfections what-so-ever. It takes away from the individuality of the models making them all look the same.
Little girls look at the images in all different forms of media and aspire to look like their favorite celebrities or the prettiest models.
Although there are articles and videos of celebrity makeup tips and tricks all over the Internet and in magazines, no amount of makeup can create an image as perfect as one that has been Photoshop’d and airbrushed past the point of recognition.
Another recent media image that just became public and has raised a lot of controversy, are the images of Calvin Klein’s model, Myla Dalbesio.
Although she refers to herself as “a bigger girl” and is commonly referred to as “plus size” in the modeling industry, Dalbesio is just a normal woman.
She doesn’t have bones showing or have the ever-popular “thigh gap,” but she should definitely not be considered “plus size.” She is actually smaller than the average American woman.
Typically, “plus size” is a size 12 or above, but Dalbesio is a size 10. Regardless if she is officially “plus size” or not, it’s pathetic how crazy the media reacted to a regular-sized woman in an ad. It should be the norm to use women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities to represent the wide range of looks in the average woman.
Although Calvin Klein does not refer to Dalbesio as “plus size,” they recognize using her in their ads shows they are representing all different shapes and sizes of women.
Rather than truly representing the everyday woman, or celebrating the fact that each person’s imperfections are what make them individuals, images in today’s media creates a standard of perfection that is our society’s unrealistic definition of beauty.
Due to the unreachable perfection little girls strive to achieve, their self-esteem is negatively affected. They don’t understand the images they look at all over the media aren’t real. As a child, it’s hard to differentiate between a real image and one that has been Photoshop’d.
When looking at an image of one’s self, people see all of their own imperfections, such as an unwanted wrinkle when they smile or the red tint in their skin. This criticism of oneself is heightened in children and pre-teens because they don’t understand why they cannot have perfectly airbrushed skin or perfectly whitened teeth like the celebrities and models all over magazines.
It’s unrealistic to believe all women can be over 5 feet and 9 inches, with a thin waist, large breasts and curvy hips. This exclusive definition of beauty makes young girls feel inadequate.
Rather than telling women to lose weight, push their boobs up and wear makeup, media should be encouraging women to love themselves because our unique imperfections and differences are what make us all beautiful.
The world would be very bland if there were seven billion people walking around who were all spitting images of Barbie and Ken.