Generation Lost, by Leah Kmosko
A friend of mine recently explained to me the difference between a “hot” girl and a “pretty” girl.
“She’s hot,” he said, pointing out a tall, thin girl in our class who dressed like she was from some Hollywood fashion show. “She has that body…ya know, she could be a model. But her face isn’t particularly…pretty or anything.”
“But don’t models have to be pretty?” I asked, which he responded to with one of the most condescending looks I’ve ever seen.
I should have known. It’s fairly obvious that, to be hot, you could be faceless and brainless too and the guy wouldn’t even care. All you need is that “perfect” body that most guys desire.
I know that this isn’t a particularly new concept or anything, I’m sure this has been going on years and years before I was even born. But what is new is the extent to which it’s being taken to in society today. Girls and women are under constant pressure from every direction to lose weight so they can achieve that ideal body, which according to ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. TV shows, ads, magazines, and people are all telling the other 95% that they’re supposed to spend most of their time dieting, exercising like crazy, and doing whatever it takes to be like the 5%. That’s ridiculous!
Now obesity is a growing problem in this country and some people do need to diet and lose weight to maintain their health. But we’re not even talking about that! We’re talking about girls wanting to get surgeries to alter their bodies. We’re talking about girls starting all the way back in 1st grade who are so influenced by TV and magazines that they want to be thinner. First grade. Do you realize how insane that is? My little sister, Anna, is in 1st grade and I can’t even imagine her thinking about stuff like that at this age. No wonder women are so much more likely than men to develop eating disorders. If you’re thinking about yourself and your body this way from the time you’re 7 years old, that will definitely influence you throughout the rest of your life.
I don’t see anything wrong with exercising and eating healthy. But if you’re a healthy teenage girl, you should not be obsessed with losing weight and changing your body because people have said mean things to you or so you can get a boyfriend who’s only interested in “hot” girls! People are not worth it, and a guy who thinks like that is not worth it. And I know how it feels to be teased about your weight. When I was 10 probably until I was 12 I was a little on the fat side. I got made fun of by lots of kids my age about it too. But it never affected me in such a way that I was driven to not eating or purging or obsessively managing my weight. I did end up losing a lot of that extra weight anyway, and I still don’t have that body!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t wish I did from time to time. That’s how society has affected our generation. It’s like built into your brain or something, “Your worth is determined by the way you look.” But you have to be able to look past that and realize that you are worth SO much more than that. Especially as a woman, you have to believe that you don’t have to be a supermodel to get places in life. I mean, look at Oprah! She’s one of the most influential, rich, powerful women in the world, and she’s not thin. Because that. Doesn’t. Matter.
So what I’m about to say is so cliche and overdone that you will probably roll your eyes BUT…what each and every girl needs to remember is that she is beautiful. Beautiful is not hot. Beautiful is not pretty. Beautiful is what you are inside and what you become on the outside. If you are a confident, happy, nice, good person I guarantee you people will look at you (guys and girls) and know that you are beautiful. Of course, there are always those who will hate on you. That’s unavoidable no matter what you look like. But it’s your attitude toward them that matters. Forget about what people say. (Okay, extremely corny moment is OVER.)
After that conversation with my friend, I couldn’t help thinking back to that “hot” girl he had pointed out. Sure, plenty of guys probably look at her all the time and call her that. But is that necessarily a good thing? Think about it: she has tons of guys lusting over her body, calling her unpretty, and completely ignoring the fact that she is a person with a personality and a mind. Wow. I think…I’d rather be beautiful.
Leah Kmosko, 16, has been homeschooled her entire life. She has always loved writing, and plans to pursue it (in some form) as a career. Generation Lost consists of her views and opinions about what’s going on with teens and young adults in the world today.