In our society there tends to be a strict way in which women are supposed to look. The perfect, blond-haired, blue-eyed, skinny girl.
Almost every girl who does not fit into those standards feels they are supposed to. In commercials all we see are women who are thin and beautiful. So, how does that make the women who are not that size feel?
Society has a huge impact on our self esteem, but no one seemed to think of that until recently. The media portrays females to look a certain way and whenever they do not look that way, they go unseen. That can have a huge impact on girls growing up and can really mess with their heads. Our self esteem can affect us in a number of ways and can impact almost every aspect of our lives.
In my early years of school I was always called ugly and this led me to have a horrible self-image. I wished more than anything that I could look like the pretty girls all the boys desired. I didn’t fit the social norms of being skinny and beautiful. I had brown, puffy hair and looking different made me “ugly.”
I wasn’t just called ugly by one or two people, but by everyone; boys and girls. I would wonder what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t look like all of the pretty girls. Why did I have to have puffy hair? Why was I not as skinny as the other girls?
People would take pictures of me when I wasn’t looking and write things about me. Whenever I would get into fights with my friends they would say, “everyone is right, you are ugly.” This really had an impact on me and went on all through elementary and middle school. I had horrible self esteem. I used to wish more than anything that I could change and would try to do whatever I could to change.
But, what I now realize is that I was letting the opinion of others affect me. Just because I did not look like the girls in magazines or the most popular girls in school did not make me ugly.
Just because I had curly, 1980’s styled hair did not make me ugly. However, in that time I refused to listen and believe that. My family would tell me I was beautiful whenever I was upset, but I did not believe them because I felt they were supposed to say that. If my peers and friends were calling me ugly all the time there had to be something wrong with me, right?
I desperately wanted to change. I spent my childhood and middle school years in a period of self-loathing, trying to constantly diet and figure out how I could change my looks. Trying to figure out why boys didn’t like me and what I could do to catch their attention. All I wanted was the approval from society and from my peers.
When I got to high school, I started to realize the opinions of others did not matter. My self esteem improved because I did not need someone else’s opinion to define me. I also realized I certainly did not want to look like all the other girls. I was unique in my own way and just because I was different did not make me ugly.
Although I may never love myself, I have learned to accept myself.
I have learned to like certain traits about myself and not to let my self worth be defined by someone else. Comments that once upset me, now make me laugh.
If you want to put me down, go ahead it does not effect me.
I spent a long time to get to this stage in my life. After years and years of being told by people my age that I was not good enough, I believed it for so long. You can’t let people tell you how to feel about yourself and you can’t let people control your idea of beautiful and what you want to be. Everyone is different, everyone is unique and I would much rather prefer to look how I look than to be like everyone else.
Although I still believe women have a level of looks they are "supposed to" adhere to, I think our society is changing. I think that people of all different races, shapes, and sizes are becoming more accepted as "standard" beauty.
I know that kids today are probably still told they are ugly, along with being bullied in school, but I hope it is much less often than I was told those things. I hope kids are not impacted by others' words in the way it impacted me, because I believe everyone is beautiful in their own way.
Not everyone can fit into society's standards; that just isn’t realistic. Just because someone doesn’t have an ideal body or look, doesn't mean they are not beautiful.
People are starting to shift their perspective, and I hope the children growing up today do not have to go through what I did.
I hope they learn to love themselves, no matter what.