The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Am I beautiful?

Article on the page 
Artwork by Hannah Plummer
Article on the page Artwork by Hannah Plummer

Am I skinny enough? Should I straighten my hair? What else do I have to do to fit in? Should I give up social media? Maybe I should give it up because, according to, sizable shares of teens encounter negative experiences on social media and some report encountering drama or feeling pressure to present themselves in a certain way.

In fact, 45 percent of teens say they feel overwhelmed by all the drama on social media, while roughly 4 in 10 say they feel pressure to only post content that makes them look good to others or that will get lots of comments or likes. Others believe social media has had a negative impact on their self-esteem: 26 percent of teens say these sites make them feel worse about their own life and 4 percent of teens indicate these platforms make them feel “a lot” worse about their life.

After years of extreme social media use, it has finally caught up to me. The obsessive scrolling, stalking and comparing on Instagram needs to be stopped for my sanity so that I don’t fall into that four percent and end up feeling “a lot” worse about my life.

I remember waking up in the mornings before middle school started. I checked my phone and instantly felt insecure. I was comparing myself to someone who was “beautiful.” While they may be beautiful in their own way, I saw them as such because of what society has taught me about beauty. What if beauty is not just what you see on Instagram? Why do I have to change myself to fit in with the models and influencers?

Every day, I wake up, straighten my hair to hide the kinky wave, and apply a little bit of makeup to hide the fact that I barely slept the night before. That is all just the surface level. I get my hair done quarterly, nails done twice a month and whiten my teeth until they hurt. I think to myself each day, does it really matter? I know deep down that it doesn’t. I do all of this  because society makes me feel like I need to do it. If our society wasn’t the way it is, I would be much happier.

Whenever I compare myself to my peers, Instagram celebrities and influencers, I think that I should not be on social media. But it’s not that easy. At this point, social media is part of my life and I can’t delete it. Sometimes I wonder about the people who aren’t on social media. Those people live their lives and don’t even think to check a social media post. What if they’re just as beautiful as those who are on social media?

When I think of myself, I think of Cassie from Euphoria. She would wake up at 4 a.m. every morning to change her appearance just to impress a boy. While I do not exactly do this, I do wake up early to change how I look. While Cassie is depicted as extreme for television, I get where she comes from. To both of us, changing our appearance to look “beautiful” is the easiest way to win someone’s attention.

According to the Dove Self Esteem Project, a campaign to help teenage girls have a positive relationship with themselves, 76 percent of the 10 to 17-year-olds in the United States agreed that social media is encouraging teenagers’ desire to change their appearance, which is not surprising. This isn’t a problem for just me or Cassie, it’s a problem for everyone.

At this point, I don’t even know why I am doing all of this. I go to school and see people I have known for practically my whole life. I know that by putting on a little bit of makeup or straightening my hair isn’t going to change anything. Yet, it has been ingrained into me that I need to do these things.

As I get older and I leave my middle school self behind, I know deep down that beauty isn’t what is shown on the outside. I am working on being able to say that I am beautiful because of who I am and not because of what I look like. I do know that my beauty isn’t what is shown on the outside. I should be able to say that I am beautiful because of who I am, not what I look like.

To be beautiful, it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside. Beauty isn’t what’s found on Instagram or on your TV. It’s what is within you, not just on the outside. I am funny, generous, positive and bubbly, all shown on the inside. And, it’s important to remember that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and we can’t control others, we can only control ourselves.

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