05/17/2013 10:07 am ET Updated Jul 17, 2013

Breaking Down the Media's Distorted Views on Beauty


Beauty. At the mention of this word, most girls are inclined to take a quick look into a compact mirror or run a few fingers through their hair, sizing themselves up with the nearest advertisement featuring a flawless bottle blonde. Some may go a bit further, running an endless list of insecurities through their minds and letting out an exasperated sigh. Every girl has done it at least once in her lifetime but it isn't her fault. Women have been taught to compare themselves to others for most of their lives. There are signs everywhere, at every corner, flashing the words "you aren't good enough" to every teenaged girl in America.

For years, the world of media has been working hard to construct the ideal image of what a "perfect woman" is supposed to look like. You and I know it well. Magazines, movies, and commercials, among other outlets, have spoon-fed girls with the idea that they can only be beautiful if they have long legs, great hair, and curves in all the right places. According to modern day society, girls should walk and talk pretty, have perfect skin, and cake on makeup; they should watch their weight and keep up with the newest trends in fashion.

Although media boasts a sparkling image of what every girl should look like, the simple fact is that most of us just don't. Still, girls continue to try and fit themselves into this image of perfection. All too often, it comes at a costly price. As sickening as it may be, our society is used to hearing about girls skipping meals and even purging. For years, eating disorders have plagued women who just want to feel like they are beautiful. Countless others harm themselves due to low self-esteem. For many, the struggle to fit into the mold of perfection goes far beyond the realm of these specific examples. Instead, the pressure to be perfect begins weighing down on young women so much that it consumes every aspect of their lives. Countless girls set out to change everything about themselves from their hair to their makeup routine and beyond. My question is: why? Why pursue a superficial image that is ultimately unattainable? Why conform to society's distorted standards? Why choose to give in and believe that you are not good enough?

It is my belief that there is no true definition of beauty. Beauty doesn't have to be a size 0 girl in your favorite magazine. It isn't limited to girls with long hair and tons of makeup. Beauty, true beauty, can be so much more than that. Beauty can be kindness or quick wit. It can be intelligence, compassion, or drive. Beauty can be a strong-willed girl who flaunts her imperfections and stands up against her insecurities The image of perfection that today's media presents is nothing but a façade. Girls need to start viewing themselves as more than their bodies. Beauty is more than outer appearance, and it's about time women banded together to knock down the image of perfection society has given us.