Finding Beauty in a Freckled Size 10

Raymonda - Irmo, South Carolina
Entered on February 5, 2008

In a world full of demands from the media, celebrities, and peers to be beautiful, a large percentage of women and girls find themselves frustrated with their appearance compelling droves of women from all age groups and sizes to fix whatever dissatisfaction they might have with themselves at any cost. I believe that a girl’s beauty knows no size, no color, no weight, no height, no style, and no perfectness. Beauty is being human and having all the unique “imperfections” that make the idea of judging it on a set standard both impossible and irrelevant.

The pressures of today’s society to be “beautiful”—to have flawless hair, lips, eyes, and skin or to be thin and yet have an hourglass figure, etc.—is an enormous stress for women, teens, and young girls alike who are pressured everyday to be that “perfect person.” The pressure comes in all forms, as magazines, T.V. infomercials and ads, billboards and even the internet push and pull at the emotions of these females to get them to feel inadequate without a particular product.

Some beauty supply companies like Dove, however, have started a revolution by taking their own steps toward bringing true beauty back. Dove’s new campaign consists of showing girls (and women) that their views of beauty are contorted through behind-the-scenes views at billboard photoshoots (and photoshops), and encourages these women to embrace who they are and not who advertising would morph them into being.

I won’t pretend that I have not fallen victim to advertising and pop culture myself. I long for sun-kissed skin, curly hair, and a cute button nose. When I was younger, I would even try rubbing the top of my nose in hopes that it would magically shrink from my father’s into a cute, Hollywood-esque one, but it only resulted in pimples and a sore, red nose. Now I realize that my porcelain skin, straight, reddish-brown hair, and hereditary nose make me who I am today, and, while a small nose and curly hair would still be nice, I would not trade my identity for anything. As I watch people around me grapple with these problems and others like them while they struggle to become a size 2 or labor to be society’s beauty by covering up their natural loveliness with layers upon layers of makeup or dye, I watch just more and more patches being added to self-esteems to cover the invisible holes from the imaginary needles prodding at them and at us. Every day I begin to realize more and more that true beauty belongs to those who know that it does not come in a box or a needle or a pill.

This I believe: That girls, teens, and women of all ages should feel no pressure to restrain their true splendor under products and contraptions made to squelch the inner beauty and light that makes every one of us unique and special in the world.