I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how football works. I don’t understand it whatsoever, and no matter how many times my family and friends have tried to explain it, I simply just don’t get it. So when super bowl Sunday rolls around, I usually find myself a seat next to the chips and salsa and wait around for the commercials to start. Yesterday, I believe most people were quite disappointed with the lack of comedic commercials; it seemed as though almost all of them were either extremely dark (Nationwide) or very emotional (moms, dads, self-esteem…). One, however controversial, stuck out to me.
The feminine product brand Always had a commercial showing what doing something “like a girl” means to people; specifically the difference between prepubescent girls and teenagers. I found it absolutely empowering for young girls. I think most people forget how horrible it is to grow up. As a young girl, you’re not worried about makeup, clothes, boys, acne, money, popularity… all you care about is getting chores done so you can play outside. I was thrilled that they created this social experiment to show why we have feminism, because so many girls are put down simply for being a girl, and that needs to change.
I can definitely say that I’ve had more than my fair share of experiences with low self-esteem. It’s a phase that almost every girl goes through. Girls are taught from the start to look a certain way and talk a certain way, and what happens if they don’t? Well, society just pushes those girls down to the bottom rung of the ladder. Every girl is supposed to be skinny, they should have long hair that shines, pretty blue eyes, a perfect complexion, and the most important: curves. It’s easy to get down on yourself if you don’t have these features.
What makes it even worse is that girls aren’t even allowed to love themselves. If a girl posts a picture of herself that is captioned “I just felt beautiful today,” her peers either don’t like it or attack her for being conceded. Since when did self-love become conceded? PLEASE explain that to me. If I want to say I’m beautiful, who are you to tell me I’m not?
So this is what we need to do – we need to teach young girls that freckles are cute, that scars can be pretty, that hair of all types is gorgeous, that every shade of skin color is absolutely stunning, that each and every girl can feel like a queen without having someone tell them they are. We need to preach self-love and confidence so it doesn’t die as they grow older. Girls need to believe in themselves, they shouldn’t have to rely on others to figure out if they are beautiful or not.
As for myself, I can tell you that I’ve grown to hate the little lisp that slips out when I get nervous and the freckles that magically appear when I go outside. I have never liked the way my hair curled in some places and not in others and I hate the fact that my skin is basically at war with me. I’ve always wished my feet were smaller than a size 10 and that I was shorter than 5’7″ and my waist was smaller than a size 8.
However, with confidence I have come to learn that the lisp that slips out is part of me, that my freckles come out when I’m enjoying the sun – they arise from happiness. My hair looks natural and that in itself is beautiful, my skin will change in time just as everyones does. My feet and my height and my waist all perfectly coincide with each other and that is how it was meant to be. I was not put on this earth to spend the years hating myself, I was put here to love myself and spread that love to those around me. So why don’t we start teaching every girl that this is how it should be?