With International Women’s Day coming up on Wednesday March 8th, this Greenfield Community School student’s article couldn’t be more timely. Savannah Sehdev, Grade 10, did an article on women’s body image as part of her Grade 10 Personal Project. The article has been published in two local newspapers: Gulf Weekly and Gulf News. Savannah will be displaying her personal project, along with the rest of our accomplished Grade 10 students, tomorrow to staff, students and parents. Please find her editorial piece below.
Body Image and Celebrity Culture
By Savannah Sehdev. Grade 10, Greenfield Community School
Millennials today are growing up surrounded by magazine images, YouTube videos, social media tutorials, how-to movies and television shows displaying the beautiful bodies and faces of influencers. The question being asked is: How can we be content with what we look like if this is what we see around us every day? In today’s society, stepping into any place and it’s hard not seeing this blasted on billboards, advertisements, public transport or painted on walls as graffiti is a work of art.
Teenagers worry about their appearance and flaws and with easy access to make up, it has become easier to make yourself look different. Last year, there was a campaign that saw women hitting back at those who shame them for wearing make up by posting beautiful selfies with just half of their face covered in cosmetics. This movement was inspired by a video called ‘The Power of Make Up!’, which was created by 21-year-old YouTube make up guru Nikkie de Jager, whose channel Nikkie Tutorials, has over six million followers today. The campaign was all about going from your natural beauty to a caked on, over exaggerated version of yourself. This is a trend that escalated in the minds of teenagers all over the world and began a trend of “online bullying” to the extreme.
As a teenager with an abundance of tutorials available social media like Huda Beauty and Jeffree Star, the influence is undeniable. This has not influenced me as much as it has influenced my friends. I know some girls that would get up a few hours earlier just to do their eyebrows, as well as enhancing their lips and cheeks.
In a world like this where teenagers idolise social media influencers, movie stars and unrealistic magazine photos, we have changed our perceptions of beauty to such an extent that when a woman wears no make-up, people ask is you’re sick.
These unreal expectations seep into children’s minds and the cycle of having the “right body size” or even a common comment from mothers: “Don’t eat that, it will make you fat”, will stay with them forever.
In today’s world of fast technology that enables powerful imagery and social media immediacy, the million dollar question is: How on Earth do we change what is happening to the young generation of today?