Your Local Guardian: two girls using one of today's 'snapchat filters' that naturally airbrush their skin to make them appear perfecttwo girls using one of today's 'snapchat filters' that naturally airbrush their skin to make them appear perfect

Student survey shows what really makes the ‘Perfect Girl.' Female teenagers are often known for lack of self esteem. At my secondary school, many girls make derogatory comments towards themselves, such as “I’m so ugly” or “I’m so fat.” Some girls skip lunchtime meals. This led me to question what the girls compare themselves to - in other words, what is the ‘Perfect girl?’ In an online survey asking, “in no more than five words, describe the perfect girl?” 16% of girls said they consider the ‘perfect girl’ to be ‘skinny.’ 32% said a synonym for ‘pretty.’ A girl aged 14, Anya Miron, said that she believes the perfect girl is ‘gorgeous but broken.’ Chelsea Patrick, 14, answered ‘a model like Kendall Jenner.’ Only 4% said ‘happy.’ These results reciprocate the importance of outside appearances; personality being secondary.

This unhealthy outlook on ‘perfect girls’ could be driven from social media such as instagram. Instagram is used by almost every teenager now. A teenage girl called Jess Turner thought the perfect girl was “what the media has made me perceive the perfect girl as.” She also said “instagram model.” Some of the top 20-highest followed on Instagram are the Kardashian-Jenner girls. Their bodies are considered to be ‘perfect’ - many people admire the Kardashian-Jenner family as an ideal body type and they model a large amount; Kendall Jenner finishing 2018 as the world’s highest paid model, having earned $22.5 million. Interestingly, in the survey a minority of girls also responded ‘wealthy’ or ‘rich.’ In a second survey, I asked if girls believe these ideas of ’the perfect girl’ are a root of unhappiness. The majority of 73% answered yes.

Additionally, I conducted an interview with a 14 year old girl starting out in modelling. The results showed that modelling yourself could really boost self esteem, depending on the agency. She said her agency’s photoshoot “was for real life people and very natural… so the photoshoot was very relaxed and fun.”

When asked about her own confidence, she answered, “the modelling did increase my confidence because it was something I had wanted to do since I was little…I felt very achieved and confident.”

She originally described herself as “pretty happy with her looks” but it also depended on her mood and how she was dressed.

Overall, I have discovered that many girls idolise a ‘skinny’ version of themselves and upon hearing the word ‘perfect’ instinctively think of looks, not personality or happiness. These unrealistic standards lead to unhappiness in most people. I believe that every girl should express individuality and it is good that agencies and companies are trying to allow for more diverse and confident models. Everyone should celebrate themselves and try to remain fit and healthy - both mentally and physically, without allowing appearance to remain the main focus of their attention.

Isabella Beling