What has happened to the self esteem of young women in the last 25 years?
Women born in the 1960s or ’70s didn’t have the enormous pressure faced by today’s youth. There was no Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.
Most of the females from the 60/70s generation seemed more than happy to stick on a pair of Lee jeans, together with a slick of Rimmel eye shadow and then beg their dad for a lift to the local disco.
Holiday snaps were the nearest form of photo comparison to today’s girls, and even then, it could take two weeks to get your photos developed and a wing a prayer if they weren’t blurred.
There was surprisingly little peer comparison, and celebrities were usually a passing crush as opposed to an aspiration.
But today, there is an immense amount of pressure to look like a celebrity or even a wannabe celebrity.
Hair, face, brows, lips and nails are all tweaked to perfection and a healthy Instagram following to prove it.
It has been reported that girls as young as 13 have tried to approach cosmetic surgeons with a view to getting botox to boost their self confidence.
What has got into the heads of today’s tweens that they can only conceive a future where they look perfect and getting older is seen as a horror to be avoided at all costs?
Pre October 2021, there was no minimum age for getting injectibles, but since this date, it has been set at a limit of 18. Beauty and youth are perceived to be the holy grail, and a small injection doesn’t seem to stand in the way of striving for a flawless profile.
In the recent re-boot of Sex and the City – And just like that, all three of the main cast were vilified for ageing. Needless to say, they all looked amazing, but a minority of social media users went into overdrive to point out they looked ‘old ‘or ‘their hair needed colouring.’
So why did people think that their value was diminished because of their age? What would the internet trolls have done if Sarah Jessica Parker had appeared on screen with a face full of botox and fillers?
She would have been called out for trying to erase her 50-something years. Botox itself is a neurotoxin that is injected into frown lines and crows feet and temporarily paralyses them; it has to be repeated around every six months to maintain effects.
Maybe today’s tweens have more of an overall interest in their image and well being than in previous generations.
Still, the idolisation of the perfect frozen face has also led to a rise in anxiety and prescriptions of antidepressants have been higher in young women than ever before.
Celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, who has had her fair share of cosmetic procedures, are viewed as idols by many. In America, the society of plastic surgeons has reported a considerable uptick in young women requesting botox and fillers.
Another startling turn is that many of their younger clientele had previously wanted preventative ageing treatment, but now they are asking for the ‘work’ to be more noticeable.
Unfortunately, this generation doesn’t seem to want to hide any work they have done. For many, it is worn with pride and as a symbol of wealth and a massive slice of bragging rights.
In the USA, there are more blurred lines about the minimum age that girls can get botox. There is a vast sway of discount providers who don’t necessarily have the proper training or qualifications.
There is also an alarming lack of regulation in the botox and filler industry which has led to people being able to switch between aesthetic practitioners to achieve the maximum results.
For example, if someone is turned down for lip filler top-ups, they are able to find someone else who will fulfil their wishes.
Maybe more should be done to try and improve the confidence and self esteem of youngsters rather than reaching for injections? Would it help if social media contained more images of young women celebrating something other than how they look?
Or, indeed, how can social media increase the value of older women and put them higher on the admired pedestal? After all, Sarah Jessica Parker is a few years younger than Brad Pitt, and he is still worshipped.
As time has gone on, various beauty practices of old have slipped into oblivion – rib removal was once touted as being a desirable option to slim your waistline. Will duck lips and frozen face one day slip into the same obscurity?
Obviously not for a while, the addictive nature of cosmetic procedures and the need for the perfect selfie seems to be at the fore front in many young girls’ minds and the fix, albeit quick and expensive, still continues to thrive.
Featured image by Raghevengra V Konkathi via Unsplash CC.
Edited by Wiktor Karkocha and Atiyyah Ntiamoah-Addo.