The media has been pushing their definition of beauty for a long time. They have been bombarding us with images of thin, fair models with straight hair. Lately, there has been a shift in society who has decided to push forward its own definition of what beauty is. With this we see more dark skinned, plus size models with natural, curly hair. We even see hijabi sisters on the covers of magazines. Despite all this positive change, deep down there is still that notion of ultimate beauty, which unconsciously puts pressure on some women to wear makeup constantly. Back when I was growing up, the disadvantage was not seeing anyone that remotely resembled me, or that I could identify with physically. I was also not on any social media, therefore I never felt an overwhelming desire to also look great all the time, or the need to be posting constantly. I feel like growing up in the 90s was much easier as a young girl going through puberty. Young girls growing up now, in some way or other, feel insecure and that they need to look a certain way to be accepted.
I feel insecure about how I look and I can only feel confident about how I look when I wear makeup; the only thing I’m confident about is my body. I always compare myself to other girls and I can’t help it. Sometimes makeup isn't even enough and I just wish I could change everything, especially my lips. I hate the fact that the media has made me feel like this but I also salute the fact that it has made me the opinionated smart ass I am today. It’s a contradictive loop that I can’t get out of unless I feel like I am beautiful, and that is extremely rare. – Nigerian British, aged 14
I feel that the way society portrays us (hijabis) makes me feel insecure about what we do and what our actions are based on or about. As a teenage girl, I do have quite a few insecurities, which make me feel down about myself like my weight, pimples, among other things. Society and social media are making us insecure from the way people are creating false impressions of themselves that are faking their own imperfections. Teens like to lie about their lives in order to feel slightly better about what they think they’re missing out on. I think that how we express ourselves is really important in every aspect of life. - Moroccan British, aged 13
Is it not our responsibility as adult women to break this idea of only looking beautiful when wearing makeup? How can we expect them to feel good about walking around barefaced if we do not do the same thing? Scrolling through my Instagram page, I often see young girls between the ages of 8-13 doing makeup tutorial videos and many adults applauding it. This then becomes the norm for all girls growing up, what might seem innocent and cute is actually shaping a young girl's mind. The fortunate ones who have older siblings who do not conform too much to society's pressures have a somewhat balanced view, but even they face insecurities despite being encouraged.
Living in these times is not easy, especially being a young Muslim female. Society has painted a picture of what they think 'beauty' is, which results in many of us striving to achieve that when in reality we should embrace the way we look. However, I'm not one to exclude myself from the millions of teenage girls all over the globe. I obviously have days where I stare into the mirror and I'm not satisfied with my reflection and subsequently, I spend hours on the Internet watching videos on "losing weight" or "perfect makeup tutorials" and anything to improve myself.
Personally, I'd describe myself as a strong-minded girl but when I see pictures of girls who have the flattest stomachs, flawless skin and beautiful hair I just wish I had it. We all feel like we need to somehow prove our beauty by posting pictures showing skin or without the scarf to symbolise, like, "hey guys I do have hair & I'm not bald". By covering up, we have a level of dignity by showing men they can't just have what they want and see what they want to see, they have to earn it. Anything that is valuable should be protected. So to end this, my main message is to be happy with who you are and SLAYYYY because you are beautiful. —Somali British, aged 14
I was once told by my own younger sister, “Feeling beautiful has to come from within.” No matter how many times older siblings try to aid the younger through insecurities and try to protect them from feeling how they did, it is still more about self-love than anything else. I was so focused on just making her not feel the way I did, even though my insecurities came from direct teasing and not social media. Despite all that advice I would give her, I was suppressing my own insecurities and wearing makeup almost everywhere I went. I was dependent on makeup to feel beautiful about myself, so honestly, how could I advise the next generation when I needed to accept self-love myself?
I am currently on a face detox and I am getting used to not wearing makeup everywhere. I am slowly getting used to the idea of taking photographs of my natural face; don’t get me wrong, it is not a walk in the park. Especially when your mind has been conditioned to think in such a way. I have also noticed that the less you care about what others think of you, the more likely that you are able to accept your own natural beauty. So like the very wise young girl stated in the above comment, live your life unapologetically.