In 2020, there are so many external influences that have tried to reform beauty to specific standards. For Black teen girls especially, the pressure seems to constantly intensify as they are approached with social norms of colorism, racism, and westernized beauty standards.
Yet despite these judgments, they continue to thrive and accept the diversity of their shades as part of their beauty. Changing beauty standards and uplifting their peers to redefine what beauty is to them. Ten exceptional black girls ranging from the darkest to the lightest tones of melanin have chosen to participate in this multimedia video where they share their experiences, perspectives, and words of encouragement to the world and others like them. Featuring Black teen editors, artists, musicians, writers, creators and more; this video exemplifies Black excellence.
You are more than beautiful, you, yes you.
It’s important to tell yourself this, maybe not daily, but frequently. We all constantly have body images, facial features, eye colors, or hair colors that are thrown at us as what’s “acceptable,” which may stop some girls and boys from seeing their true and real beauty. Sometimes we also tend to be extremely harsh on ourselves or find it hard to accept compliments because, to be honest, a lot of people or even ourselves don’t randomly give them out anymore.
Based on a study done by Dove called “The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited:”
4% of women around the world find or consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
11% of girls globally are comfortable describing themselves as “beautiful”
72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful (or “meet” the standards that fit around beautiful)
80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty.
Lastly, more than half of women globally (54%) agree that when it comes to how they look they are their own worst beauty critics.
I wanted to see this for myself though, so I walked around downtown Atlanta and completed a social experiment, asking mostly females and some men their thoughts on their beauty. It was interesting to see that a lot of people didn’t know how to respond to compliments because they rarely received them and felt that it was quite awkward. I was also surprised by the fact that a lot of people had never been told they were beautiful before, and/or definitely didn’t feel like it. It was also interesting to see that it was easy for some people to compliment or name three positive things about themselves versus others who felt they didn’t receive compliments as much.
I also discussed the impact of compliments on teens and young adults I talked to. “It makes me feel good,” stated Ella S., 16. “It makes me feel all bubbly inside,” Queenstar M., 16, shared. “It reassures me that I am pretty” – said Kalia J., 16.
After doing the social experiment and research, I wanted to think about ways to also build both boys’ and girls’ self-confidence so we aren’t just relying on what other people think or overall compliments. Something I personally feel helps me are affirmations. Yes, I know right, sounds so cliché, but they do help. I start them off with “I am” or “I will,” telling myself this every day. This also comes with a positive attitude and maybe not surrounding ourselves with people who tend to touch on your insecurities in a negative light or constantly spread negative energy.
Also, for teens, the majority of us are constantly on our phones, yet a lot of us don’t know that there are apps that send positive messages throughout the day as notifications, which can also be used as a simple reminder of something positive for yourself. Some of these apps are Shine, Think up, or Motivation quotes which can be easily found in your app stores for free.
Unfortunately, the study done by Dove was reflected throughout the day I spent reporting. But I wanted the video I created to show both the positives and negatives, because everyone should feel beautiful and some people were able to speak or show it better than others. Although we should all grow to have the self-confidence to believe and think about the beauty inside and outside of us, it’s also important to spread positivity and love within the spaces we reside. You are more than beautiful, you, yes you. So tell yourself this daily if you’d like.
We all face or have insecurities, trust me I do too, and I know it’s sometimes hard to embrace them. But this also comes from not comparing ourselves to people’s bodies, lifestyles, facial features and more, because we each individually all face different problems. So, please, believe in yourself when you tell yourself you’re beautiful. No one is you, and no one can be exactly like you — that’s your beauty.