Perfect teenage girls are the ones you see on magazine covers, like Seventeen, right? Wrong! It couldn’t be farther from the truth. Real teenage girls don’t look like what you see in magazines. The truth is pure commercialization – companies want you to think the perfect teenage girls are the ones that appear on these magazines so you can buy their products to hide your “blemishes”. This fetishization of the body and the way you look is at the heart of the money-making beauty business, and it is a pity that it starts so early.
Of course, not everyone is falling for this. There are girls making peace with their bodies and accepting that the way they are is the most beautiful of all. You come across these girls sometimes in your personal life and sometimes in the very magazines that carry the opposite stories about how perfect teenage girls should look like.
For example, a recent article in Seventeen was interesting, providing 15 images of real girls who “made peace with their bodies”. It was interesting in the sense that even such an article that seems to showcase “real girls” cherry-picked what kind of real girls they want you to see! You would think these would be the girls who you meet every day at school and on the street but doesn’t appear to be so. They still have to be thin, beautiful and sexy to be featured on the article. Well, perhaps it is a start, I don’t know!
But teenage girls need to look beyond. Beyond what is featured in the magazines. Making true peace with your body means if a fairy comes to you with a body of your dream model, you would say no. It isn’t a compromise you make with yourself after giving up.
I was just reading an article in New York Times about a real 14 year old who is taking concrete steps to move teens away from such media distortions. Particularly, Julia Bluhm is against the flawless faces in Seventeen, yes, the same magazine as above! She is already a blogger at Spark, which is another organization that fights against sexualization of girls. And yes, they pick on Seventeen too! Looks like this magazine is a favorite of all kinds of critics! Now who do you think are the perfect teenage girls – those who stand up against sexulaization of girls or those who embrace it? Your call.
Here is Julia’s petition that everyone can sign. According to the New York Times, it already has over 46,000 signatures, and considering the story came out in New York Times, I would assume many more are going to sign it. There are already 52,000+ signatures as of writing this post.
What stand are you going to take?