Photo from @LILwillingham via Twitter.

This poster, hanging in a normal US high school, displays four different gowns. They are all beautiful, pretty sexy, and most are deemed not appropriate for prom by the principal. In fact, all these gowns are inappropriate. The whole poster is. In a demeaning tone, it informs young women how they must dress like ‘good girls’ in order to be admitted on prom night. Very rightly so, female students objected to this objectification, and the poster was taken down.
But things like these happen every day, not only on prom day. Our families raise us with a very specific body image in mind. The beautiful, picture-perfect girls on Instagram and friends at school repeat the ideal, and advertisements hammer it into our minds even during our leisure time. As an adolescent, there isn’t much of a way out if you still want to be considered ‘cool’. Girls in kindergarten already follow their mother’s example when it comes to being confident in their own body. And society takes it from there.
How many girls and women do you know that fit the ideal? How many of those who are considered beautiful by social media standards spend a lot of time and money to keep up their appearance? And finally, how many of those would do so without the shampoo and concealer, underwear and trendy sports industries telling us every day what we need to be beautiful?
We need none of that. What we really need are¬†role models who convey the idea that we are OK the way we are. Whether we cover our hair or openly show our piercings, endure our periods with faces distorted by pain or play with physical gender stereotypes. We need a plurality of body images. We need a new liberty and a new self-conscience. If you are happy with your body, stay the way you are. If you want to change it, do. But as soon as we try to please people who don’t care about us in the first place, we are destined to fail. Let’s only please ourselves, and spread the confidence by encouraging those who are being told by others how to be a ‘good girl ‘.
-Kristina Kraemer
Junior Editor
Girl News International

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