You are here

‘Nobody should make you feel bad about your decisions’

In our latest blog, sixth-former Evie, from Kent, talks about social media, Love Island, cosmetic surgery and unrealistic body expectations.

I’m 17 now, but from the age of 11 to 16 I attended an all-girls secondary school, which was an eye-opening experience when it comes to body confidence issues and the expectations that all teenage girls come across at some point. While these can be a normal part of growing up, I think these problems are mainly caused by the media and some TV shows, setting unrealistic standards for young people.

‘From Year 7 onwards, makeup, fake tan, eyelash extensions and hair extensions became an everyday thing’

At my school, lots of pupils weren’t 100% happy with their natural appearance. From Year 7 onwards makeup, fake tan, eyelash extensions and hair extensions became an everyday thing you would see at school - mainly because everybody wanted to look as good as the girls on social media. Although my school put in place weekly Personal Development Learning lessons, discussing body confidence and why you should feel happy being yourself, it didn’t stop many girls from wanting to look different.

Want to upgrade your school's PSHE resources for free? Register now to get the free teaching resources. Find out more about the Dove Self-Esteem project here.

I would say that these body confidence problems are mainly caused by the media. From scrolling through social, to watching reality TV, it’s hard to avoid. Love Island is broadcast nearly every night of the week, talked about in the news and is all over my social media. However, some people on reality TV are far from average-looking. One Love Island contestant, called Megan, was revealed to have spent over £25,000 on surgery, perhaps because she was unhappy with her natural appearance. A ‘before and after’ picture started floating around the internet and it looked like it could have been two completely different people.

‘I feel like she adjusted her appearance to fit in with media expectations’

I’ve seen various comments on social media saying that if she was unhappy with her appearance and had the money to have cosmetic surgery, there’s nothing wrong with this. I agree to an extent, as I feel like she adjusted her appearance to fit in with media expectations.
But then, other girls may now do the same, in order to look like her. I’ve also seen people on social media saying that this sets a bad example for young girls. This is also true, but just because someone is famous it shouldn’t stop them from doing what they want to do.

‘More people are being shown in the media who have adjusted how they look which can make young people think that they should too’

Many of my friends think the other girls on Love Island look a lot better anyway, because they haven’t had cosmetic surgery. But other friends talk about what work they want to have done in the future, to change their own appearance. Personally, I’d never want to change myself in that much of a drastic way.

I feel like if you are unhappy with the way you look and want to alter your appearance, whichever way you want, nobody should make you feel bad about your decisions. At the end of the day it’s your own choice.

READ PARENT ZONE'S OTHER DOVE SELF-ESTEEM PROJECT BLOGS HERE.

Image: Pixabay