Today was the day I had to read this on my twelve year old Cousins Instagram feed and it broke my heart;
“Dear lads, I’m sorry I don’t have perfect hair, I’m sorry I don’t have nice eyes. I’m sorry my hair doesn’t stay in the same place all day. I’m sorry I don’t have a skinny waist. I’m sorry I’m not considered “Peng” or “Fit”. I’m sorry I’m not stunning. I’m sorry I’m not your ideal girl.”
She’s twelve! My first initial reaction was to take a screenshot and send it to her parents or aunt but that would be a total betrayal of her trust. Instead I took matters into my own hands as both me and all my friends have experienced this pressure from society, peers and i thought i could give her some raw advice because this down putting stuff wasn’t around five to ten years ago at least! I told her that it doesn’t matter what boys think of you, it’s what you think of yourself and if that quote is how she saw herself she needs to work on loving herself first before she thinks about liking anybody else. I thought this was too harsh at first but it needed to be said by someone who could perhaps understand what she’s going through; she’s fairly grown up so I think she will take this on board.
This may all come at a shock as you most likely didn’t grow up in the age of computers however this attitude is seemed as fairly normal among Tweens and Teenagers. It’s awful how social media like Tumblr and Instagram has forced the messages and pictures that perfection is only accepted and you should hate yourself if you don’t think your perfect. Tumblr, if used correctly can be amazing yet if not it is especially bad as it spreads a hype on to other platforms about self-doubt, depression and suicidal thoughts making them seem “normal”. Everything’s about popularity when you’re a tween so if they’re depressed; you are too. Often going against the status quo, I fortunately didn’t fall into this mess too much but I was still faced with the horror of these posts looming over every inch of my Instagram feed. If you are still confused at what posts I’m talking about have a good-ol’ look.
I found these on my Instagram and it’s not hard to find them.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the twelve-year-old these “quotes” can affect people,picking them from Instagram just hit me hard for example and I’m not depressed. Recently, my good friend from first school tried to commit suicide and to me it seemed out of the blue. We had drifted apart when we were twelve and she spiraled into depression although she masked it very well and it the news came as a shock. I doubt these sayings alone helped her try to commit but they definitely would have played a part. I have many more raw stories of people I know who have been affected by society and sadly, it’s changed them to a much more reserved people. Sayings and quotes to some have no meaning at all, whilst to others they can make or break them which is why i needed to shed some light on this topic. I looked to see if anyone’s addressed this problem but no one has because it’s so well masked – there wasn’t even any forums!
So if you have children – even as young as ten – ask them how they feel and make sure you know how they’re feeling. Tweens can be manipulative and disguise that they are depressed which is why it’s so important to have a good relationship with them so you can notice any changes. My cousin may block me for seeing this side of her but I’ve cracked her shell and now know what she really feels which is opposite to the cheery side she puts out to her parents. This is a new age socially and people are being hurt because of it.
Thanks for reading x