Though it’s happening everywhere, I’m going to focus on my mere seven weeks I spent at North Buncombe Middle School. I was an eighth-grade student when I attended NBMS (now I’m in ninth); before that, all I had was home schooling. I was pretty much isolated from pop culture, and, in turn, I was spared from its influence.
What I saw when I was in school was the popular idea of the perfect female body, an excessive use in makeup, and worst of all, was the way the eighth-grade girls saw themselves. They seemed to think that the perfect body type was a fair-skinned and pencil-thin girl with a fancy phone and no flaws. That is completely ridiculous! There’s no one who has no flaws or problems; girls, get that unrealistic idea out of your head.
One more, out of many problems I saw, was the way the girls changed their whole mannerism and way of being when one of the “popular” boys came around (notice I say “boys and girls,” because, let’s face it, we’re still children). This I saw as strange. No 13- or 14-year-old girl should care so much about some random guy. It’s unhealthy in my opinion for someone who is barely out of being a child to have those sort of feelings.
I also noticed the girls trying to improve their body type to fit what the boys liked and wanted. For example: If a boy was awing over some model, the girl would take notice and try and improve her body to look like the model. She would starve herself to have a tiny waist; wear tight, uncomfortable clothes to show off this new waist of hers and put on a gross amount of makeup to hide what they see as flaws. It’s sad that these girls are so impressed by pop culture.
So to conclude, I challenge you to tell a girl she’s beautiful with or without makeup, or that extra 15 pounds. And not only say it, mean it, too.
— Lily Harlin