by Tracee Sioux
More and more I'm coming into contact with teenage girls and young women who meet the beauty ideal - 100 lbs, blond highlights, blue eyed, clear skin, fantastic fashion sense - and discovering their self-esteem is as low as anyones.
Even those who meet the beauty ideal don't understand why I have a blank mystified stare when they tell me how they aren't pretty enough.
What I'm thinking is, If YOU don't measure up then no one does.
Which brings us to the core of the problem. No one does and no one can.
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty "aims to widen the definition of beauty and inspire positive self-image among women – in short, to help more women feel beautiful every day."
Their newest venture in the cause to broaden beauty is the Reality Diaries.
The press release states, "The Reality Diaries Program is a 6 week program that revolves around the lives of four real girls who share their personal self-esteem stories online. They record their journey online through the use of blogs and videos, allowing girls across the country to go behind-the-scenes on their real lives and understand the factors that impact their self-esteem. Each girl deals with a different self-esteem issue and the Diaries will reflect how the media influences their self-esteem."
Each of the girls are 17 and seniors in high school. Each have different beauty pressures: Chelsea, the black pageant girl and becomes hyper-critical of every flaw to try to stamp it out before the other contestants single it out, Sydney; whose mother wants to fix her complex about her nose with a graduation gift of rhinoplasty, which only makes her feel worse; Jordan, who seems to meet the beauty standard but who picks herself apart because she fears the boys have unrealistically high standards she'll never meet; and Irene, the "pretty Asian girl" who overlooks racial slurs to gain social acceptance.
The Reality Diaries is moderated by Jess, Doves Global Ambassador of Self Esteem, who, like the rest of us, doesn't measure up to today's beauty standards, but has a self esteem anyway.
As a tool for girls the Reality Diaries will hopefully serve to make girls feel connected to other girls. Hopefully, they will realize how unrealistic the beauty ideal is and learn to have a positive self esteem regardless of cultural expectations.
For parents and educators the Reality Diaries are a great opportunity to observe what girls are really thinking and feeling about themselves today.