To our utmost regret will be the harsh young teen reality the coming decade will bring along. It is not of any wonder that the beauty we once appreciated decades ago has been reborn in the recent decades – now with more stringent guidelines.
Once upon a time in the 90s, we were admiring our favorite sitcom actors on television, yearning to one day walk in their shoes. However, that no longer is the only way of thought that the average child or teenager deals with. The innovation here is the heightened power of the new media that is even manifesting into the minds of younger age groups and the speed it is pacing at. This has been the result of the new media, now possessing mediators more eminent than ever, such as social media sites, made available to anyone with an internet connection.
Children and teenagers are more insecure and unstable in their years of development, consequently there is where the concern lies - in the culture of beauty that they are forced to aim towards. And we wonder why the incidence of depression is on the rise for our young community. Why wouldn't it be when children’s insecurities are fed at such a young age?
How do you explain to a 10 year old that they're pretty enough in comparison to the distinct images of beauty surrounding them? That itself has become a daunting task for most parents. They are taught to be skinny, with smooth straight hair, perfectly shaped eyebrows, a curvaceous but slim body and a pearly white smile to add to the glow. How do we compress all developing teenagers into this category?
In addition to the satire of "free beauty in the media", are the media giants and designers proclaiming that beauty is no longer limited to a size 0, but rather a healthy glowing physique. What is the use when the healthy glowing physique is ascribed to a body with "meat in the right place" or curvaceous breasts and bottom? Before we knew it, girls may have taken a step down from living on 200 calories a day, yet instead began probing for a cubic meter at the gym to squat, while the remainder were collaborating with their favorite surgeons for implants and Botox- and they're still trying to convince us that in the 21st century they're embracing a more free idea of beauty?
And what do we have now? Females who feel that to be feminine and sexy they need to not only behave in a typical strategic manner, but also have the drive to work out and break the stereotype. Breaking the stereotype is the new sexy and powerful. That is fine, but not when done for the wrong motive.
In this case we broke the stereotype of women traditionally incapable of lifting weights like men, and made them bound to a new and more dangerously promiscuous stereotype - a stereotype of females having to sculpt a certain physique to be seen as beautiful and powerful.
What are we teaching our young female generation about women power? To post a picture of their transformed abs and backside on a social media site the next time they're at the gym so they seem almighty and equal to men? Will this unveil the next untouchable superwoman which all males will respect? Or is this ironically working to condition women more.
The role of the parent
Parents, be wary, work with your child and teen on building the healthy mindset because in such a judgmental and strategically driven world, no other weapon will serve them justice. You as a parent need to comprehend what is evolving in your child’s/teen’s world in order to become knowledgeable of the help they need. Always know to offer support even when they reject it. At least ensure that they understand you are their supporting rock. Be persistent but in a gentle way by not giving up on them from the first minute they shut you out. Listen to all they have to say before carrying on with lectures, they might surprise with what they have to say. Thus it is always helpful to resist giving unsolicited advice and let your child hold the spotlight for some while. Most importantly, feel with them and not just for them. Allow them to see that you acknowledge their pain rather than deny their depression. If you deny their pain, you will only be encouraging them to misperceive you and block you out. Live their problems with them as a friend, but be wise enough to guide them with simple solutions when you can.