As a teenage girl, I have experienced what it feels like to be underestimated and judged. In my generation, the standards to be in all honors classes, be the funniest most outgoing person, and maintain a size zero, all weigh heavily on a girl’s life experience. As a fifteen-year-old girl stuck in a time period where these expectations have begun to define my life, I also know what it’s like to not meet these “goals” society has for us. If we’re not in honors or accelerated classes, we’re automatically stupid, or if we aren’t outgoing and funny we all of a sudden become weird. To make matters worse, if we aren’t a size zero or if our legs touch when we walk, we now become “thick” or “on the chubbier side.” Through media images and other sources, there are now impossible criteria for being beautiful.
Recently, I watched an empowering movie called MISSrepresentation. This documentary discussed the disadvantage women have in politics and other leadership roles. It sickened me to know that women make up 51% of the population, yet only 17% of congress. The male dominance in politics has become extremely overrated and at times like these, frankly irrational. Of course one could argue that, “this is just the way it’s always been.” But does that make it right? We now live in a world where a black man is the president, it’s okay to be gay and women do have education and power. So I find it disheartening when we could be making drastic changes necessary in the world, yet society and expectations are stopping us.
Along with the lack of female presence in politics, there is a lack of respect for women and teenage girls. Girls are being sexualized and judged at a younger age now more than ever before. The terms “slut” and “desperate” are thrown around loosely and some girls hear them on a daily basis. Not only men, but other women now think it’s okay to make judgments about what another woman is like based on what she wears and how she looks. On the other side of that, the standard of how a woman should dress and act has completely changed. There is no longer a desire to look classy and modest. Through the media, it seems to be ok to use a woman’s body to sell things. Young children are exposed to TV shows and movies that plant the idea in their heads that a woman’s main purpose is to be sexy and to please a man.
As a teenager in this new and scary generation, I will not let stereotypes or judgments stop me from achieving something great. I vow to never let anyone take advantage of me or to cave to the constant demands of looking like some sexualized version of women that is set by the media. If you haven’t seen the movie MISSrepresentation, I highly encourage it as well as taking a similar vow as mine. In a day and age like this, girls and women must control our success and our confidence.