By Grace Gavilanes, Contributing Writer
Lipstick, eye shadow, blush, foundation, concealer, mascara, eye liner, nail polish, and hair dye. How old we were when we started using these "beauty enhancers?"
I don't remember ever feeling eager or comfortable enough at the age of seven to exchange my favorite Barbie doll for a tube of lip gloss and eye shadow.
In modern-day society, it's ordinary to spot an eight-year-old girl carrying around a compact mirror and lipstick. Although this may seem like an exaggeration of sorts, it has actually become quite commonplace in our society.
With popular media advertisements promoting juvenile participation in these superfluous daily rituals, young girls are becoming aware of their supposed "flaws and imperfections". Thus, these cosmetics become their prime necessities — their fixer uppers. The manner in which young girls spend hours on end perfecting their already pristine, flawless little faces should not be viewed as the norm.
It's understandable that, as we grow older, we become more prone to buying and using these products, but this should come with age. Growing up too fast will be regretted soon enough by these girls. The innocence, liveliness, and childlike wonder are all understood characteristics of children. They should cease from becoming dormant and eclipsed qualities.
According to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, "7 in 10 young girls believe they are not good enough." This frightening statistic shows that a high number of young girls have many insecurities today. Unrealistic expectations fuel this halting of innocence. On an extreme level, one may say that young girls are resorting to make-up and other beauty products to temporarily numb their insecurities and low self-esteem. In a way, they are creating a separate persona, someone completely different and incomparable to their original being. This tedious work is done for the sole purpose of feeling better. Is becoming someone different for the sake of societal acceptance and dubious self-appreciation really worth it?
Girls should learn to love themselves for their genuine selves, rather than resorting to an improved self, rated by others' standards. Growing to love yourself first is the best and most effective action you can take, before confronting the inevitable: making the decision to either accept your unaltered self or succumbing to the pressures that will ultimately affect generations to come.
"Parents' words and actions play a pivotal role in fostering positive self-esteem," the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty commercial states. The word "parent" is interchangeable, however. Any influence, may it be familial, celebrity icon, positive, negative, or their peers, can still make an impact on a child's self-esteem, as well as their life. The commercial goes on to say, "each time you buy Dove, you help the company and their charitable partners to provide inspiring self-esteem programs to girls," which brings even more light to the subject, by making the consumers who already use the product more aware.
It's undeniable that the distortion and misperception of beauty that is so prominent in most teenage girls begins at a young age. It is up to us, their experienced mentors, to end this seemingly headstrong epidemic before it affects future generations, as they begin younger and younger.