Has Our Generation Of Girls Grown Up Striving To Be ‘Perfect’?
Looking through any of the women’s weeklies, it’s clear to see why most, if not all young women, have self-esteem issues. On the front cover of this month’s issue of Closer, Geordie Shore reality star Charlotte Crosby is shown in before and after shots, boasting about her weight loss. Switch over to New! magazine, and Michelle Keegan is slammed for eating healthily to maintain her slim figure. This kind of hypocrisy regarding what women should look and be like is rife throughout the media. The same magazine whines that celebrities are looking ‘too perfect’ in their so-called ‘#wakeupcall selfies’, glossing over the fact that these women are raising money for a UNICEF campaign (the campaign is similar to that of the ‘No Make-Up Selfie Challenge’ to raise money for women’s cancer charities over the summer). Ironically, this issue of New! magazine also has a ‘celebs laid bare’ feature, which both commends certain celebrities for their good looks without makeup, whilst in the same vein condemning others for their apparent lack of glamour.
Social Media Judgement
In a world where women are judged for their looks as opposed to their merits, the pressure to be perfect is at an all-time high. If you look on any Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram coming from or about a successful woman, countless comments will be about her appearance. A woman could find cures for all life-threatening diseases and still be judged by the way that she looks! Women who are perceived to be ‘perfect’ are praised immeasurably for their physical form alone.
Liposuction + Photoshop
Beauty standards are set to an impossible standard, with Photoshop arguably being the biggest culprit. Photographs are manipulated to such a length that the original person might as well have not been there at all – limbs are lengthened enough for the photographed woman to rival Mr Tickle, skin tones are changed, the smallest of natural blemishes such as moles are removed, pores become non-existent, waists and thighs are slimmed, and breasts are enlarged. These barely real images are then presented as the common ideal. It is not just desired, but expected of girls to look a particular way. Those who go against society’s idea of perfection are ridiculed, both in real life and by the media. They are told that they are undesirable, destined for unhappiness and no success. This message means that our generation has turned to drastic measures in order to attain that level of perfection. In 2013, over 50,000 cosmetic surgery procedures were carried out in the UK, with an average rise of 17% in each type of procedure (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons). Liposuction was the most increasingly popular request, rising by 41%, in a reflection of the constant eagle-eyed surveillance of women’s weight. In contrast, the overall most popular procedure continued to breast augmentation, because clearly women can’t have surplus fat anywhere other than their chests.
The Burden of ‘Perfection’
Even the girls who fit the accepted idea of perfection struggle to accept themselves, picking out the most unnoticeable flaw that they see in themselves. The idea of perfection is so unrealistic that it appears to be something that no human can reach. It’s very sad that our generation of girls have been taught that they are only worthy of respect if they are ‘perfect’.
What do you think? Do you agree that the media focus on ‘perfection’ has lead our generation to believe they must be ‘perfect’ to be worthy of respect? Join the discussion in the comments below.