My hair was permanently knotted in untamed curls. I made my pink cowboy boots part of me and wore whatever I wanted. So what changed?
My beauty standards changed, and the image of what I’m supposed to look like changed. Society today tells us, you have to have your hair presentable, you have to look nice but not too done up or else you will draw attention to yourself, and that to be “beautiful,” you have to have big lips, shiny hair, clear skin without a flaw, wrinkles aren’t allowed for sure. And don’t get me started on body standards because, oh man. But what sparked this? What made me feel like that, from not caring at all?
Social media, the second young Leona got a phone; she questioned everything. Why do other girls have more chests? Why are my eyebrows thinner? Why do I not have that clear skin? Without social media, it wouldn’t have been as big of an asset as it was to 13-year-old Leona. I started coating my skin with foundation drowning the blemishes, and straightening my hair all the time. But it still wasn’t good enough. There were still waves in the back that I got teased for, and you could still see the red spot on my chin. Did I need to straighten my hair or coat my skin in makeup to be beautiful at 13? No! Young girls all over feel this way today because of the standards that are pushed on us by social media and magazines.
Marketing agencies try to contact preteens and bully them into buying products. Oh, you have yellow teeth; buy this toothpaste. Oh, your skin is pale; get a membership to the tanning salon. If you have a smaller chest, buy this push-up bra instead of bringing beauty into the differences. To combat this today, I am grown up, and if little 13-year-old Leona could see me, she would probably be reeling. Half the time, my hair is in a bun, I still don’t have big boobs or clear skin, and I refuse to wear foundation to cover the tiny pimple, and my hair is still brown. But the difference between now and then is I started to wear confidence and know that I am beautiful just the way I am, and what is inside matters the most. We must share this beauty secret with young girls and preteens, not the makeup or hair color they would look better with.