By J1 Reporter Maggie Mantini
What is the first thing you acknowledge when encountering a woman? In all actuality, most answers to this question would refer to a woman’s size, shape, or level of beauty. What about their presence, their intellect, their character, their strength? Young women are greatly affected by the generational norms of this era. As every individual in today’s society is practically handed a platform to project themselves as whomever they please, women have developed a conventional perception of beauty as time has unfolded. Teenage females are influenced by so much: music, men, societal trends, fashion status, the mass media, celebrity appeal—the list essentially goes on forever. So, let’s talk about how these things make them feel. And let’s chat about how the pressure existing among this generation’s women affects their mental health. What are the main sources of happiness for today’s women? Is outside validation the main derivation of their fulfillment?
Let’s start with the basics. People scroll, they double tap, they zoom in, and then scroll some more. And although it is likely that one will forget the posts they scrolled through today before tomorrow even begins, they will wake up just to do it again, and again, and again. Every time a person steps foot into this entirely separate world, they leave as a slightly more damaged being than before.
Women relish in the beauty of other women, constantly being internally consumed by envy and jealousy. It is almost as if women can never just be. Silence is hard to attain when it seems as though the world has laid out who you should be. The unrealistic qualities in which girls strive to accommodate set the tone for the ruthless, competitive, and unsupportive attitude that women often hold against one another.
Maria Piperis, a leader of the Girls for Girls club at Marian, spoke in a powerful tone in reply to the question, “What would you change about the way women are living today if you could change anything?” Maria simply resonated with the answer that “Society truly has such a narrow lense for physical beauty, and the worst part of it is that very few girls do anything to challenge that.” She then concluded her stance by saying, “We complain about beauty standards, yet we only compliment the girls that fit them best.” Young females are overexposed to the brutally high standards that society holds women to—forcing them to blend in, and never completely develop a sense of individuality. Without individuality, the world is sparse of any sense of compatibility, support, and positive diversity. Society is inclined to put women against one another. And it is an issue worthy of great discussion, due to the lasting effects it has left on the rising women of this generation.
Mental health refers to the condition of a human being in regards to their psychological and emotional well-being. The constant competitive elements that set women against one another holds such an impact on the female mind. The expectancy for ceaseless perfection upon them has implied mental torment and anxiety, especially for younger, rising women. Senior Zaza Nelson said “Society has made me feel like I am supposed to look a certain way, say certain things, and be a certain someone.” The psychological hunger for validation of one’s beauty is entirely poisoning female’s minds every day.
So, how might you improve upon the female community you may ask? Primarily, women are failing to coexist in an environment that holds emphasis on happiness as beauty. The most influential and worthy-of-envy women are the ones with a lustrous
heart and a graceful mind. These people are too often skipped over for whitened teeth, flat stomachs: the admiration of conventionally “beautiful” women. There is certainly work to be done, but many people still stand hopeful in the idea that women will regain their power and self-love. As senior Zaza Nelson said, “We could be anyone in the world, but we are who we are. And that is our power.”