Society squashes sense of beauty

Pluck. OUCH! Pluck. OUCH! One more. Pluck. OUCH! Perfect.

Girls shave, pluck, or wax every last strand of body hair. They spend hours caking their faces with foundation to cover up even the slightest imperfections. They meticulously attempt to apply eyeliner in a perfectly straight line. They count calories from every morsel of food they eat, workout at unhealthy levels, or even skip meals just to have that perfect “VS Angel” body.

Some may ask, why do all of these frivolous and often painful tasks? To answer the complicated question in a simple way: because society tells girls they need to.

In a recent survey of 3rd-5th graders conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 90 percent of girls say the fashion industry places pressure on them to be thin. 90 percent is an alarmingly high number for any statistic, but for the statistic to come from little girls between the age of eight and 11 is completely unacceptable. Having feelings like that at such a young and tender age could really affect a young girl’s mindset for the rest of her life.

I do not accuse the half-naked models strutting their stuff down the runway, I blame society. They teach young girls that looking like that is desired and looking like anything besides the flawless models labels them as a failure.

On Dec. 11, 2013, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show aired on T.V. and my newsfeed on Twitter was flooded with tweets from both teen girls and teen boys discussing the “perfection” that walked down the runway.

The girls were complaining how they will never look like the beautiful, might I add deathly thin-looking, models, and the boys were tweeting how they wished the girls in our school looked more like the Angels.

There is absolutely no way that any girl could realistically look like that. Those models do not even look like that. Most fashion advertisements are heavily edited, making the models almost unrecognizable once Photoshop brushes away the slightest blemish or imperfection.

Even Disney channel has hopped on the bandwagon to lower girls’ self-esteem. If anyone remembers the show “That’s So Raven,” it was about a girl that was not as thin as everyone else, but still pursued her dream of becoming a fashion designer. The show had a few episodes in which Raven was discriminated against due to her size, but she fought back saying that everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and that all girls deserve to be beautiful.

“That’s So Raven” came to an end in 2007, and was later replaced with the show “Shake it Up,” which poked fun at eating disorders. Disney Channel should be enforcing the mindset that girls come in all different shapes and sizes, and that there is not only one form of beauty.

I am not going to sit here and rant, saying that society is the cause for all eating disorders and low self-esteem issues, but statistics do not lie. However, I’m also not saying that all models should be walking around in turtle necks and have no sex appeal.

Society plays a significant role in the way women perceive themselves. Stores, magazines, and other advertisements should have more realistic looking models. There is never a picture of an ordinary girl. The only image that the fashion industry wants are the perfect twig models with the 28-inch waist and the DD breasts.

Do not think that you can’t do anything to change this. You can. Together we can advocate for a change. I have stopped shopping at Victoria’s Secret, and started shopping at American Eagle’s sister store, Aerie. Aerie has stopped editing their models and has started a campaign enforcing natural beauty.

By joining me in the boycott of Victoria’s Secret, and supporting companies that respect women of all sizes and encourage natural beauty, we can make a change to a more supportive and accepting society.

Emily Cassidy is a News Editor for The Patriot and