Savannah Mul – Opinions Editor –
The girl was combing her perfect straight brown hair while holding a small pocket mirror aimed right to her face; brushing away what she might have thought to be imperfections. This girl couldn’t have been more than 14-years-old, but looked like she easily could be a model from Seventeen magazine. I drove by her one morning coming into school. She must have been waiting for the school bus.
After I drove by her standing at her bus stop, I couldn’t stop thinking about the image she imprinted in my mind: perfection; and the young girls (and boys too) who try to achieve that to the fullest.
After all, what standards do they have to look up to from reading Seventeen or Glamour Magazine, even walking by the polished and fashioned mannequins on window displays in the mall doesn’t help either. None of those mannequins or magazine models ever look disheveled.
Driving by this lone girl made me realize that when I was 14-years-old I don’t think I was even plucking or waxing my own eyebrows yet, let alone carrying a pocket mirror with me.
Nowadays, young girls and boys seem like they are in such a rush to get older and look like the models, actors or actresses out there today. When in reality, there shouldn’t be a rush at all. I admit I have days where I just wish my hair will look like Blake Lively’s, but that’s never going to happen. Young girls and boys can think the way they look isn’t the “right” way. Sometimes I have days where I think this too, in the way that my sister and I will be wearing the same pair of jeans and yet, she’ll look better in them than I. If the younger generation of children keeps this image and thought process in their heads, they’re not going to get anywhere always thinking another person will dress better, act kinder or be smarter than them.
We’ve all had our own personal struggles growing up, and I for sure was definitely an odd one in my younger years. I loved Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and would obsess over their movies like it was my job. Wal-Mart even carried their clothing line, which you can bet I begged my parents to buy almost everything from the line that fit me.
They were my said “role models” when I was young, everything they wore I wore, or how they acted (in the movies) is what I did. I don’t know where the transition was or where I drew the line when I realized that I no longer liked Mary-Kate and Ashley and that looking back I gave in to a self-image that wasn’t my own.
I probably owe it all to a pair of yellow pants and my yellow shirt. Yes, I wore all yellow one day in the seventh grade. From wearing that great outfit, or what I thought was a great outfit at the time (looking back now, I can’t believe I even wore that!), I got second glances from people all with the same expression on their face, “Why is that pale, blonde, short girl wearing bright pants and shirt on such a gloomy day.”
I should probably mention that the yellow shirt had a smiley face on it, pressed with glitter. My fashion sense was nonexistent back then. From people staring at my outfit and throwing comments my way about the bright yellow, it made me stand out.
When I was dressing in Mary-Kate and Ashley’s clothes, trying so hard to look like them, it was dumb and I looked like everyone else.
I loved my yellow pants for making me realize that having my own self-image is more empowering than adapting to certain trends and styles. I hope I’m wrong about the young girl I saw, where she wasn’t just wearing her UGG boots because that’s what “trendy” (even though they aren’t) or straightening her long hair because that’s how “you’re supposed to look.” But she’s doing and dressing like that because she wants too.
To define one’s own self-image is the most important. Figure out what you like and what makes you happy and do that. Don’t adapt to the “Mary-Kate and Ashley” styles of today. So my tip for you, find your own yellow pants and dress and act like you; no one else.