Saturday 13 December 2014


We asked for your views on looks, confidence and media pressures… reader Kayla responded with this amazing and uplifting post that may make you challenge everything you believed was true…

Kayla says:
The media puts pressure on us all to be perfect. From photoshopped men and women in magazines to the Barbie and Ken dolls that children play with every day, from the moment we are born we are exposed to unrealistic expectations. We are pressured to conform to society's 'ideal'. This drags down our self-esteem and can cause things like depression, eating disorders, exercise addiction and self-loathing. It happens even when we don't realise it; peering at ourselves in the mirror, zooming in on our flaws, desperately trying to hide them with our different brands of make-up.

The fact is, though, that our bodies are just a shell that contains our colourful personalities. We will have these shells for the rest of our lives, so we shouldn't waste our valuable time feeling bad about some imagined imperfections. There is no list of what is bad and what is good. Big is OK and small is OK; spots or no spots is OK; boy or girl is OK. Being ourselves is OK. If people are so shallow as to judge us by our looks, our bodies, we shouldn't want to be friends with them anyway… so love yourself, it is all you really can do.

How can you step off the treadmill of trying to please everybody, trying to be perfect? Stop making it all about looks. Add little accessories here and there, things that make you happy - your favourite cuddly jumper, your favourite hairstyle, your favourite hat. Go places without dressing up and see how little people actually care. Wear what you want even when it's 'out of fashion'; dance to your favourite album like nobody is watching; look at yourself in the mirror and thank your body for being fit and healthy. Nobody can hope to match up to the impossible standards of media pressure, but everybody is perfect in their own way, I promise.

Pics modelled by readers Kayla, Millie, Cerys, Rachel and Jaime. Thanks, girls!

Cathy says:
Wow… I wish I'd known all this when I was a young teenager; trying to fit in with imaginary, impossibly high standards that change all the time is never going to be good for anyone's confidence. Do YOU struggle to try to fit in, or struggle with self-esteem? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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