By Gabriella Pullano
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” — Coco Chanel
Being a female is anything but easy. In today’s society, there are a disgusting amount of unrealistic standards that we are expected to live up to. From such a young age, images of what it means to look “perfect” are hammered into our conscience. We are reminded everyday that we need to look and act a certain way if we want to fit in and be likeable. And, there is nothing more frustrating and unsatisfying in today’s world than the endeavor to feel acceptance.
Society has branded us with the idea that if we don’t meet the guidelines for being “pretty,” then we will never amount to anything in life. I believe in a future for girls where being different is praised; a world where curly hair is beautiful, curves are appreciated, natural is better and being unique is desired. Your differences, the things that make you stand out, the things that you may think are your flaws, are your best qualities.
We are such insecure creatures who put an unhealthy amount of effort into the way we look. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of trying so hard. Take it from someone who’s had her fair share of body shaming and criticism, and stopped caring so much.
I was bullied all throughout middle school. I was told that my eyebrows were too thick and too masculine and that they should be tweezed, that my nose was too big and that I had no style. I began to change my appearance and to alter my mannerisms because I really believed it would help me fit in. It was nailed into my head — the perception that if I were prettier everyone would like me.
Perhaps it is our naïve and diffident persona that makes us so sensitive to criticism because the more we try to change who we are to please others, the more we end up hating ourselves. It didn’t matter how many people told me otherwise, I always believed the meaner things to be more truthful.
For some reason, we tend to let the negative comments we hear about ourselves rent a majority of the space in our brain. I have still not forgotten the things those girls said to me. I might never forget them.
But, from my experiences, I did discover something very important about this ever-so-desirable concept we call “perfection.” I have learned that it is not only unachievable but also completely misinterpreted. Your beauty is not defined by what you wear, how much you have or how you look, but rather, by how you treat yourself and others.
Gabriella Pullano is a freshman at Florida Gulf Coast University. She thinks there are too many young girls in this world who don’t know how to cope with the pressure of fitting in and the struggle to feel beautiful. Her goal when writing this essay was to use her own personal experiences to hopefully give them something to relate to, along with a bit of implied advice. Writing is something she is very passionate about, and she hopes to one day have a career where she is able to be a role model to young girls, helping them feel good about themselves inside and out.