How can I become beautiful? If I become beautiful, am I still me? If I find beauty, will I be satisfied? Will I put down my shovel and stop digging? If I buy beauty off a shelf, how much will it cost me? What if beauty is too expensive? What if I can't afford it? Can I ever be satisfied? How much of my time, dedication, money, and joy will I need to sacrifice for them to say "I want to look like that someday". It is these very thoughts that festoon the minds of hundreds of teens today. Rehearsing these thoughts non-stop in their minds, these poor misguided generations will grow up sculpting themselves into what society demanded they should be like. But, what does it mean to be beautiful? How do we define it?
Society tends to hand us boxes and molds for us to fill. It feeds us daily with an obsession towards physical appearance. Of course, growing up in this world and knowing nothing else, we have no choice but to embrace this obsession and live our lives based around it. Teens everywhere are taught what they should look like and what trends to follow. For example, Tik Tok. Once an app used to show off talent, share laughter to people, and simply bring a smile to everyone. Unfortunately, it has now evolved into a circus of objectification and thirst-trapping. Where the only users who can get recognition are those who are “attractive”. It is no doubt that with 37.2% of American teens using this app, many of us are highly susceptible to developing beauty dysmorphia as we try to keep up with the trends and beauty standards.
Beauty is not and has never been something that we see. But rather it is something we feel. It has no pattern or rule. If a girl does not have blonde hair, blue eyes, button nose, and perfect curves, is she not-beautiful? The answer is no. Her beauty does not lie within her appearance directly, but within her confidence in herself. If she is confident in herself, then she will find people who also think she is beautiful for who she is. Who is anyone to say that she isn't beautiful? Many girls and boys feel the need to compare themselves to models on TV, to their barbie dolls, or maybe even their peers at school. But who is anyone to define beauty? Why does her barbie doll need to be the mold she must fit? It truly is not uncommon for anyone to view themselves in the mirror and compare their appearance to celebrities and influencers.
It is undeniable that the flower is truly an icon in nature's beauty. It shows off-color, form, movement, and best of all, it serves a beneficial purpose to its corresponding ecosystem. It is also undeniable that technology such as cellular devices and televisions are truly an icon in humanities beauty. They show off our intelligence, advancements, and best of all, they serve very essential purposes to our everyday lives. What do technology and flowers have in common? Well, one could argue that they simply have absolutely nothing in common. A flower is colorful and flowy. A piece of technology such as a phone is dense and heavy. But, is a phone not-beautiful for not looking like a flower? And is a flower not beautiful for its incapacity to call, text, or surf the internet? Is one girl not-beautiful for not having blonde hair, blue eyes, and beautiful curves? The answer, simply, is no. She doesn't need to look like anyone else to be beautiful. Because she can provide something unique to the world.
Beauty is a complex concept, not easy to define and maybe impossible to fully obtain. It may present itself as a healthy goal, but can evolve into a harmful obsession. Is it possible for someone to sculpt themselves into their culture's beauty standard and still maintain a healthy lifestyle? Fashion icon and french role model Coco Chanel once stated, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself”. Perhaps the answer to our questions do not lie within society's standards, but rather within ourselves and who we are. If to ourselves we are beautiful. If we have the confidence to say to the mirror “you are you and that is beautiful”, then who is ANYONE to tell us otherwise.