Growing up as a child of a biracial family, my idea of beauty was distorted. I was a kid with crazy out of control hair, surrounded by a world that only saw my locks as a kinky mess. I grew up without anyone who understood my curly hair dilemma. All of my friends had straight hair. It did not help either that the media constantly showed ethnic hair in poor taste. Every ad I viewed as a girl featured models with straight, silky tresses. Thoughts consistently fled through my mind, “Was I not good enough? Did my hair make me ugly and imperfect?” It took me nearly my whole life up until now to truly understand what was really going on.
When we get to the root of the issue below the surface problems, our call to uniqueness had somehow become twisted. It was about what the public thought about women, and in my case women of different colors. Most ads only feature one type of girl, the tall, skinny blonde. Only recently a movement commenced towards diversifying this. Many girls who do not fit this profile think of themselves as less than perfect or not attractive enough. In a sense, we have corrupted ourselves into believing that our skin color, hair, and anything else defining about ourselves is incomplete and incorrect. Perceptions changed into holding onto the idea that our distinct individuality was found through what the media saw as desirable. Diversity, size, and shape make up the broad spectrum of what women consist of. We are more than this though. The media preys upon us to accept that without a certain product or characteristics there is no use for us. Take a second to think about that. Our brains are exposed to millions of ads every single day. These ads whether we realize it or not affect us. Women bend over backwards just to have a “thigh gap” or pay insane amounts of money to try to fit a certain standard.
Why do we all have this strange desire to fit this fixed mold that only a small percentage of us can really live up to? From adolescence on, many young girls find themselves searching for their flaws instead of perceiving their individuality. We sanctioned ourselves into believing that one standard holds true. The meaning of beauty should equal a wide, vast amount of meanings, not a narrow and skeptical by the book definition.
The remedy to this issue is to embrace our uniqueness. Imagine if all females looked like each other. There would be no room for a range of variety. Nobody really wants to be a clone of someone else. If we all had the same features eventually we would wish for diversity. We need unique women who can show that embracing who we are is the only way to find happiness and peace within ourselves. I have had countless people tell me they would kill to have my hair. The one thing I hated about myself was one of the attributes people craved the most. Now that I have come to embrace myself and accept who I am, I finally can say that my one “flaw” is now one of my most treasured assets. It takes a lot of self-love and time to really start to correct the damage we have inflicted. As part of the female race there is a tendency for harshness. Over-critical and over-demanding we reach for something we can never obtain. What a lot of people do not realize is that these “blemishes” make us special.
Girls all over the world today will wake up hearing and seeing a campaign on why they are not equal. If we as women want change we have to go out there and fight for it. We are beautiful and unique individuals with distinctions that go unmatched. The media is winning people over every day and we stand by watching. Meanwhile girls go on hoping that one day they can finally attain that unreachable standard. We need unique women because without them there is no hope for those future generations. Instead of allowing judgement and harsh criticism let us band together to conquer this overwhelming need to fit in and instead stand out.