Social Media, Beauty & Young Girls

Social media and young girls in the same sentence always seems to hark up a blaze of diverse responses especially from parents, teachers and carers. Some positive but many being negative. The question is... why?

What sort of impact is social media really having on our young girls in this society but most importantly on their idea of beauty?

Social Media: The bad & the ugly

 

So many of our young girls in this day and age are completely consumed with social media, causing them to be attached to their phones daily... they're almost inseparable.

They want to be kept in the loop about what’s currently trending, what’s the latest with the Kardashians, what eyebrow style is currently in, the list is truly endless.

There are so many aspects of social media that effect our young girls perception of ‘beauty’ but here are a few of my pet hates:

1. Photoshopped images all over social media

They are everywhere. Flawless skin, perfectly drawn on eyebrows, thin waist, huge bottom and oh yes, how could I forget the provocative clothing to expose this body image.

Society is continually feeding our girls with the idea that real beauty is defined by looking like the above. As a result, self-esteem is completely knocked, and confidence quickly diminishes. This hurts girls because they realise that they do not look like a model who is photoshopped, and begin to hate their bodies.

If girls fail to reach a certain amount of likes on Instagram, that picture is quickly deleted, but this generation also has a real habit of captioning their pictures using these common excuses:

"Pic accidentally deleted itself." "Only staying up for a day." "Like to keep."

The real underlining issue is that girls fail to see the unique beauty within their own pictures and rely on Instagram likes to give them a confidence boost that their picture is worth keeping!

2. Highly influential celebrities.

Our girls are so influenced by what trending celebrities display on their social media accounts, coupled with what is unswervingly exploited on magazine covers, online articles and twitter feeds.

Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian. Two of the most influential women in the world and this is what they are displaying to our young girls… it's upsetting, but society thinks this is OK and gives it a thumbs up. Some girls even start to mimic what they see and next thing you know, we’ve got 12 year olds innocently posting images wearing very little on their pages and attracting the wrong sort of audience.  On the other hand, doubt has the potential to creep into the mind. This can cause girls to question themselves and their identity.

Am I actually beautiful because the reality is I don’t look like this? What can I do to change my body? Why was I made this way?

Identity is often lost as our girls struggle to know who they actually are because they are continually conforming into this idea of what the world/society says a young girl should look like.

So how do we tackle and change this?

 

We need to empower our young girls to believe in self-worth and help them to gain confidence in themselves by embracing their inner beauty, as well as their appearance through encouraging, supporting, mentoring and inspiring them to love who they are. Our girls need direction and guidance in such a corrupt society to be comfortable in their own skin.

Many mainstream schools have now started to hold workshops by bringing in guest speakers to specifically speak to our young girls about how to deal with social media issues and how they view themselves.

Dove also launched a campaign in 2004 for Real Beauty, on a quest to introduce different ideas of ‘beautiful’ into our society.

"Dove® has employed various communications vehicles to challenge beauty stereotypes and invite women to join a discussion about beauty.  In 2010, Dove® evolved the campaign and launched an unprecedented effort to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety, with the Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem." 

I’m confident there are many other methodologies that we can use to protect our girls from being negatively impacted by society’s definition of beauty in such a stereotypical world.

Feel free to leave comments and suggestions below!

Written by Romanah Malcom.

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