Thursday, 13 February 2014


13 FEBRUARY 2013

I love a selfie as much as the next girl, but it is with true sadness that I feel the need to write this post tonight. I watched the news in sheer awe at the extent to which it seems that young girls in this country will go to conform to image stereotypes. The story I witnessed on Newstalk Live, Channel 5, is one in a series of pieces documenting what it is like to be growing up in Britain. The story detailed information gathered from girls as young as 11, giving a more than worrying insight into the lives of our young girls and the pressures they face from their peers and the media. More worrying still, is that the increasingly accessible and addictive social media seems to be compounding the problem.

An invention of pure genius it seemed, social media opened doors that the creators of the internet had never even dreamed of. It allowed people to connect in ways they had never connected before, and gave businesses platforms from which to develop and grow exponentially.  A lot of good things can be said about social media. But it has also brought with it the worst things about the media - the scrutiny and pressure it exerts on individuals - to the forefront of our everyday lives. Unfortunately, this pressure is most concentrated and most damaging to our developing and vulnerable youth. No eleven year old should be considering the use of diet pills or spending 2 hours every morning preening herself to 'picture-perfect' readiness for a day at school. But as social media has become an integral part of their young lives, the pressure to look beautiful, thin and camera-ready in every 'selfie' has become virtually inescapable. Even Facebook began as an image comparison site, hence the name...

I guess what I am really trying to say is that, whilst social media has brought us a wealth of benefits and opportunities, we need to be mindful of the impact it is having on the most vulnerable in our society. Young girls in the throes of emotional and hormonal turmoil, should be nurtured and protected. They should be encouraged to recognise their individual beauty and talents, rather than made to compare themselves to each other using weight, beauty and number of 'likes' on Instagram as  yardsticks. There is more to life than the unnatural image stereotypes created by the media and driven by consumerism. It is only by teaching our young women that they do not need to confirm to these stereotypes that we can hope to limit some of the damage done, and which has been compounded by, the dominance of social media.

No comments:

Post a Comment