Sometimes there is a little voice inside of a young woman’s heart that something might be just a little bit off with what the culture tells us is “cool” and beautiful. It might be a slight sense of feeling uncomfortable at a party with how a friend is acting, or how you’re acting. It might be a bit of awkwardness at what you’re wearing, or someone else is wearing. The little voice starts asking questions:
Are people going to accept me or think I’m cool enough if I say this, or wear this? Does my hair and make-up look okay? Do I fit in? Am I trying too hard? Am I too tall, fat, short, skinny, pail, dark, curly-headed?
We’re searching for standards and role models to act as guides for how we should act and what we should wear or say or do. So often, the standards and role models offered to us are found on MTV, in People Magazine, or E! online; examples of skimpy clothing, size zero girls, perfect hair and make-up, laughing and chatting away. They seem so happy! They seem so… perfect. But then, the little voice kicks in. We start to wonder… can I measure up to that? Sometimes we have self-doubts and we wonder whether we’re acceptable and lovable just exactly as we are, but we put on a happy face and wear a mask so that people won’t know that we have these questions inside of us. We think that we’re the only one who is possibly going through this, right?
If this hits close to home or speaks to your heart because sometimes you wonder whether you’re the only one who feels just a little uncomfortable with the fashions, just a little awkward acting a certain way, or questioning whether there’s just something off with yourself, please know that you are not alone! More and more, young women are realizing that the standard the culture offers us – the standards of beauty, the trendy fashions, the behaviors we are supposed to adopt to fit in and be “cool”, might actually be a one-sided perspective of what it means to be a beautiful young woman! We need to begin to see ourselves holistically, as a complete person. There are so many facets and qualities that makes up each one of us. We each have a unique story, background, hopes, fears, dreams, talents, and skills. To try to fit each girl into a box is to miss the complete picture of who she is. Beauty extends beyond that.
These girls in Sydney, Australia woke up one day and had a conversation with one another about fashion, image, beauty, and what it all means. As a result of their conversation, they are now hosting talks and discussions in schools all around Sydney, empowering women to think beyond the narrow box about what beauty is! They’re calling this project “Allure”, which means “the power of being mysteriously attractive or fascinating.” These girls are true role models, and true leaders! Their initiative will be changing the culture around them. Their message is this: “Each girl, each young woman, has that power to be authentically alluring. It’s just waiting to be discovered, or rediscovered, and it isn’t necessarily what the culture might think!”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “As go women, so goes society.” So, if you hear that little voice inside your heart sometimes, I encourage you to listen to it. You, too, can be a leader and a role model. Don’t settle for the standards, create your own!