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Beauty and the Modern Age: When Image Overshadows Childhood

The Serial Shopper

The Serial Shopper is Salute Magazine’s weekly column authored by Fashion Editor Money Jensen. The Serial Shopper is a weekly look into the mind of our quirky and eclectic Fashion Editor and her thoughts on the state of the fashion industry, fashion influencers, and controversial topics within.

Beauty is something that many hold dear. But, in this modern age, are beauty and image overshadowing childhood?

If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s you know as many others that childhood was very different than it is now. Back then it was very likely that you would have to endure being put in some hideous matching outfit with your mother or siblings to take pictures or for a family event. Another torture mechanism would be to endure hours of prep for matching hairstyles that involved beads, bows, and anything else your mother thought was adorable. Even though those moments were nightmarish at the time, we all can look back and see the beauty in them. Thankfully for those of us who lived through those times, the only proof of those horrifying moments was captured either on home video or printed pictures.

Now that we are living in the age of social media, the way parents have dressed their children, and the way children have become aware of their own beauty and image is evolving, and not always for the better. It would be a lie to say you wanted your 13-year-old friends to see pictures of you in matching Mickey Mouse t-shirts with your siblings and mother, but you weren’t wearing $800 sneakers to school when you haven’t even met your permanent foot size either.

Since the integration of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in our society, it seems more and more children are looking and dressing like adults. As adolescents, everyone has gone through some sort of stage where they were uncomfortable with themselves and most eventually grow out of it in their late teens and twenties.

Each day we log on to all of these sites, especially Instagram, and see photos of impeccably tight curvy bodies with large breasts, perfect noses, plumped lips, and washboard abs. The barrage of perfection can clearly be seen in the children that we see walking down the street each day and across the web.

More and more adolescents are contouring their faces to the high heavens, getting their lips injected, and potentially harming plastic surgery all to obtain a so-called “perfect image.” One of the most public examples of this is Kylie Jenner. As everyone knows, Kylie is sister to one of the most polarized celebrities in the world; Kim Kardashian.

As we all know, just a few short years ago the now 19-year-old looked like a different person entirely. Below is a photo of Jenner at the MTV Movie awards in 2013

Photo via: REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Photo via: REUTERS/Phil McCarten

This is an extreme contrast to what she looks like now. If she wasn’t famous, and you looked at her Instagram, you wouldn’t even think she was the same person.

View this post on Instagram

GQ @gqmexico @gq_germany @mrmikerosenthal

A post shared by Kylie ✨ (@kyliejenner) on

She is stunning in both photos, but it makes me wonder; If her sister wasn’t the woman she was, would she have still changed her appearance so drastically, so early?

Body image and self-love are things that are very important to learn about yourself as an adolescent. As we champion the over sexualized images of men and women who have clearly surgically altered their bodies, are we setting the children of today up for unattainable standards?

Plastic surgery is not a bad thing, and it helps many people obtain personal goals that they have set for themselves. But as adults, we can make those decisions about our appearance with a sound mind after fully developing physically and getting to know ourselves mentally.

We should teach the children of today, that whether they wear makeup, have a “perfect” body, or not, they should be comfortable and love themselves, even at the awkward stages. Those are the moments that can teach us the most valuable lessons of inner beauty.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @SerialShopper66

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