The perfect girl body
Tight pants, cleavage, tan skin, lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, no acne, long legs, mini skirts; the “perfect” image of women has morphed into something more appropriate for a stripper than a high school student, yet most teenage girls still feel the pressure to succumb to these traits.
When asked, guys easily piled on characteristic after characteristic of what they expected out of the opposite sex: “yoga pants every day,” “can’t be stronger or better at sports or really better at anything,” “they can’t be taller than you,” and “they can’t be jacked, but they have to be physically fit.” The list went on and on.
This comes as no surprise to girls. No one has attempted to hide the expectations which people constantly associate with the female sex. “[Guys want us] to wear a certain type of clothes—revealing. Guys are always like, ‘wear yoga pants,’ stupid stuff like that, and then they’re kidding, but they’re not you know. Also definitely being skinny and tan [is important] and how tight your clothes are and what kind of body you have,” said junior Sarah Silvestri.
As a result, girls often get caught up in the little things—things they can’t change and things that don’t really matter. “We tend to want to change whatever we have. If we have curly hair we wish it was straight and vice versa. We wish we had perfect skin when in reality I know like three people that have legit perfect skin and never break out. And the biggie is body type. Girls wish they were shorter or taller or skinnier or stronger, but we need to realize that we are built for what we do best,” said junior Cat Kernan.
This image of the “ideal female” can generate a lot of stress and even create a feeling that they have to live up to that standard, regardless of if they want to. “I used to do my hair every morning and straighten it and stuff, but it really didn’t matter,” said freshman Bridgit Flom.
Silvestri also has similar experiences. “I hate going tanning because it’s so bad for you, and yet I still go just to look tan because I love looking tan. I know it’s really bad and I’m against that stuff, but I can’t stop,” said Silvestri.
However, a lot of these pressures can be avoided; all one needs to do is pick the right friend group. “You have to fit with the girls around you, so it kind of depends. Like with some girls there won’t be a lot of pressure, but if you’re around people who are always done up and are always putting together really good outfits than you feel more pressure,” said Silvestri.
Still, some girls thrive off the idea of image, using it to get ahead and make a name for themselves. “If you are ‘pretty’ and smiling and bubbly, more people will want to talk to you, and therefore you might have more friends. Also, you might be more confident in yourself if you’re confident about how you look,” said Flom.
But for most, living in this false world of appearances and judgment only hinders them—stunting their potential and ability to be their true selves. “The so called popular girls who all look alike tend to overshadow [those] who are truly beautiful and don’t get enough credit for it. I mean girls have to boost each other up and that means going against the trend or the unspoken,” said junior Afua Paintsil.