By Galilea Oregon
Teenage girls—either the most over romanticized or unacknowledged beings on the face of the Earth. Portrayed in films as either condescending boy-crazy mall rats or self-deprecating overly emotional brats, the average female adolescent cannot relate to over exaggerated characters intended to be “relatable” or “fun and quirky.” However, most of these takes on the common teenage girl are false and inaccurate. Movies and television shows, as well as social media set unrealistic standards, distorting reality from the feminine “ideal.”
The false conception of female perfection tears down young girls who look to these outlets for inspiration. When girls don’t fit this cookie-cutter mold, their self esteem drops. We, as young women, need to understand that our bodies are NOT perfect. Girls do not all have thin waists, especially not at this “awkward” stage in our lives in which we find ourselves stuck between childhood and adulthood, an “almost-there-but-not-quite” body.
“We don’t all have perfect complexions or killer styles,” freshman Natalie Orejel explains bluntly, “Society should be teaching girls that independence, self love, and confidence matter more than silly things like makeup and clothes and chasing after boys.” When teenage girls are stereotyped for the way they look or dress, everything else that truly matters is seen as irrelevant and meaningless.
The ideal look of a teenage girl is not the only thing distorted by the media. Montages of mall-shopping and hard partying are plastered into movies, ingraining a false lifestyle which is not always 100% true. “A lot of us have our academic, athletic, and personal lives which should be far more interesting than the way we dress ourselves or our social lives and yet that’s what media seems to cling onto,” sophomore Xaviera Pons points out.
Underrated and sometimes underappreciated, the adolescent girl’s mind is a concoction of depth and despair as well as dreams and aspirations. I have had the honor to meet insightful and bright young women who are more than the two dimensional characters seen on television. I’ve held long conversations about life and love and fear of failure with a girl while sitting outside Yogurtland, munching on Hot Cheetos while taking sips of Arizona Tea. The truth about young femininity is that girls are so vulnerable, especially with the influence of social media distorting what life should be like for a girl in her teens. Junior Grace Martin confesses, “Being a girl is so emotional. I probably cry like once a week and that’s okay.” Vulnerability comes with a silver lining, somewhere in between those tears and headaches full of fear lies the innocence of being a girl. Nayeli Medina, a senior, explains, “We’re goddesses, we’re muses of music and literature. Young female sexuality should not be exploited for cheesy or cliche entertainment. There’s more going on in my brain than any grown man’s.”
This is real. This is us. If you are a girl and you are reading this, I love you. Stay kick-ass. Create your own identity without having to rely on false preconceptions of who you should be, how you should dress, or what you should care about. Dump that stereotype, crush the patriarchy, do what you want. Speak your mind, fight for what is right. Girls are the future and by the looks of it, things are looking to be bright.