WRITER: JENNIFER LEE
I’ve always felt that women have had more pressure put upon themselves than men. Magazines and plenty of other mediums have self-consciously trained us to believe that we need to be pretty, smart, and perfect in order to get anywhere in life. Movies and TV Shows – like Mean Girls and Gossip Girl – have even cliques, bullying, and backstabbing look commendable and ‘okay’ for other girls to do to others. And when we berate one another and put each other down, calling each other ‘fat’, ‘ugly’, and even more profane words than these, the victims end up getting hurt and become even more self-conscious of their own identity/place in this world. Sometimes, they might even get to the point where they might take their own life.
Judging one another, backstabbing one another: they’re both forms of bullying. And whether girls realize it or not, it can affect their targets more than they might think. Personally, I am blessed to have never been bullied by other girls in such a way during my middle school or high school years. However, towards the end of my high school year, I had an intern struggle in regards to how I looked.
Like many teenage girls, I have acne. But unlike most, I had a really severe case during my senior year. It was to the point where I had to wake up three hours before school started to cover up my face and try to look decent, despite the bumps on my cheeks, chin, and nose. It hurt to smile, to pretend that nothing was on my face, even when I constantly felt all anyone could ever see were those poorly-covered up bumps. I felt like I had a disease, and always kept to the corners of the hallway, or always put my head down in embarrassment whenever I was waiting in line. I would always feel jealous of all the other girls who had smooth skin or acne-free faces, wondering why I couldn’t have been born with those kinds of genes. It got to the point where I ended up breaking down during my study hall session, and my friend came up to me and asked what was wrong. And one of my teachers saw me and came over to my aid as well, which (unexpectedly) made her one of my most favorite teachers.
Eventually, my face got a lot better than what it was (I obviously still get acne here and there, but nothing like it was before, knock on wood!!!). So, I guess what I wanted to say was that change will happen – you just have to wait for it. And you’ve also got to find a good support system that will help you through those hard times. Find friends that actually care about you, or show concern about you. If you support them and help them through troubles, but they don’t return the favor when you’re in a pinch, then you might want to reconsider finding other people to hang out with more often than the ones you have. I’m a strong believer that friendships consist of laughs, love, and support; all three things should be received mutually.
And seek out help. Really, I mean it! If I could repeat senior year the way I was, I would’ve sought out help from a peer or adult from the get-go. While people might stereotype seeking help from a peer/adult as weak, it really isn’t. It shows that you want to solve the problem, and make yourself feel better. Hearing other people reassure you really goes a long way.Despite the many hardships us girls go through, we all somehow manage to get out of it. Problems will be solved, but with time – and effort to seek out advice/help from people who truly care about us. So let’s stay strong together and support one another in any way we can! :)