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Social media’s falsified depiction of natural beauty cultivates damaging mindsets

Feeling bored one day, I looked up #naturalbeauty on Instagram and found myself staring at a screen full of women with glowing skin, smooth legs, waxed eyebrows and straight white teeth. After I scrolled through a small portion of the 14.9 million photos with that tag, I concluded natural beauty meant wearing little to no makeup, and it’s only for those who already fit societal beauty standards: thin with clear skin and a perfect smile.

Social media constructs a corrupt image of what natural beauty should look like. Ninety percent  of the world population experience acne at some point in their life, yet acne isn’t represented in the media. In my experience as a teenager, I’ve viewed countless ads for products that promise to either conceal or eliminate pimples, but I have never seen positive depictions of acne where someone looks confident and happy with their appearance. When I see photos of myself, I feel compelled to edit out all the little pimples on my face to satisfy my self esteem.

Kyleigh Smith, sophomore

“Representation of acne in media sets an unrealistic standard. The idea of ‘perfect’ skin is glorified. When there is a character (in a movie or TV show) that does have acne, that character has a glow up and it makes it seem like getting rid of acne is really easy, but it’s not. I think people, including myself, need to remember you are so much more than what happens with your acne.”

Sam Fierke, senior

“Shaving takes too much work, and for what? It starts to grow back so quick and you’re back to square one. Women definitely shouldn’t be shamed for their natural body hair, but we also to be sure not to put down women who enjoy shaving. There’s nothing like the feeling of a fresh clean shave under clean sheets, and the shine is rather pretty.”

Allie Bell, junior

“Embracing different body types as a society is extremely important because it’s so normal to have different body shapes. Everyone has a different body so it should be normalized in society. I spent a long time hating my body because parts of my body were too big or too small and I wasn’t like the models and girls that everyone loved. It took me a long time to learn to love myself and be confident. It took a lot of work so I think it’s great when brands like aerie advertise different sizes of people. I hope it becomes so normal that it’s not as difficult for others as it was for me to learn to love myself.”

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2 comments

Bree Gosselink February 1, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Sarah, you are so incredibly talented.

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Blake Bodendieck February 3, 2020 at 10:17 am

I loved this! It breaks my heart that society nowadays makes such a big deal and throws a fit over perfectly normal things like BO and acne. In a perfect world, people would just calm down about everything and love one another no matter what!

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