UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | February 27, 2024

Girl Talk: Media shouldn’t determine self-confidence

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Sometimes I lose myself, and my self-confidence, amid the world’s expectations of me.

I started my day with the intent of writing about negatives, or rather things about my physical self that I tend to be unhappy with, and then blame the media for it. However, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve come to realize that even with the ridiculous amount of negative influence from media, the Kardashians or even my own family, we are still in control of our own minds.

I was going to write about how uncomfortable I often am in my own skin, or how I feel inadequate when I’m around certain people, which is still true and I’m still writing about it, but not with the same goals I had in mind before.

Being uncomfortable with your body as a teenager has always been accepted. Being uncomfortable with your body as an adult and overall human at all times isn’t really something anyone prepares us for, and yet the expectations set for us by society can set us up for being so, so uncomfortable.

Speaking for men and women alike (although obviously just some women in regards to my personal experience), I don’t feel like I belong a lot of the time.

I am a 24-year-old woman who still lets other people’s ideas of who I should be get into my head. I once started buying a shirt size smaller than I normally wear because a friend told me I shouldn’t wear “baggy shirts.” My shirts were not baggy at all, for the record, but apparently because I’m a girl I’m not allowed to wear a regular T-shirt that isn’t tight fitting to my person. Even though I still consider that person quite a good friend, and I know she didn’t ever mean to harm me emotionally with her comment, I let what she said take control of my actions. That is not OK.

This happens all the time and we accept it. I’m all about looking good, but I don’t believe I look good unless I feel good. One of the most attractive attributes a person can have is their self-confidence.

We have been subconsciously conditioned to think we have to look, act and be a certain way in order to be successful. We did it in high school, we do it in college and we’ll do it when we graduate. Our mothers and friends tell us we need to or shouldn’t look certain ways because they too have been socialized to think that way, even though they mean no hurt by it. They know not what they do. It’s just the way things are and we are so settled in our ways of thinking that it’s damaging us from the inside out.

Caitlin Stasey, Australian actor and woman who I look up to, said in a recent interview: “…maybe we as women we will take comfort in the triumphs of others rather than reveling in each other’s defeats. Let us reclaim our bodies. Let us take them back from those who seek to profit from our insecurity.”

We want to be socially acceptable and appropriate, but I am so tired of that. The mental games we play are insane. I realized yesterday that I walk across the campus to math class every day and think more about whether I look OK in the shirt I put on that day than where it is I’m going.

We must set out to escape from the cracks we’ve settled into. Tell your friends to have a comfortable day; don’t tell them their shirt is too big. Tell yourself that no one cares more than you do and the media does not control your self-confidence – you do.