I am not photogenic. It is very rare that there will be a picture of me that I like. If I do, you will find it as my profile picture on every social media site I’m signed up to. This lasts about 3 months, then, I will stare at it for a while, notice around 17 flaws and decide I HAVE to change it.Welcome to the Social Media Age.
My generation is constantly swarmed by pictures of beautiful people. Whether they are celebrities who we are brainwashed into thinking are ‘perfection’ or someone’s older sister who looks amazing round the clock regardless of going to the gym for 3 hours. We have the ability to capture and share everything we’re doing. Most of the time it will seem pretty insignificant and irrelevant to our own lives. Except when we start seeing this kind of stuff : “off for a run” or “I’ve been such a fatty today”. 9 times out of 10 I am reading these whilst tucking into a share bag of chocolate buttons which I intend to finish by myself, within the hour. It is bad enough seeing society’s definition of beauty in magazines, but social media platforms are full of competition and comparisons with people we know. Hearing about people’s amazing weight loss (including before and after shots of course) and staring at ‘selfies’ containing clear skin, perfectly falling hair and white straight teeth. This, I do not want to see. My generation are suffering from low self esteem and confidence and I would argue strongly that’s because of our constant reminder of what we ‘should’ be aspiring to. We are told that we are so lucky with all this technology, but I’m not sure that is the case.
My generation are also constantly under pressure academically. From the age of 5 we are assessed, tested and graded. Personally, exam season is full of anxiety and panic. We are told that our whole life will be based upon letters on a page. How ridiculous is that! Our education system is structured to suit only one kind of student and can easily be mistaken for a memory test. You could be extremely talented at a subject, yet struggle with coursework or exams, therefore this talent is not reflected in your mark. I would argue strongly that employers are missing out on amazing individuals, just because they didn’t get on with the system. The combination of pressure and emphasis and focus on grades can lead to low self confidence, preventing individuals from being ambitious and risk taking. Is this what we want from our future workforce?
What am I trying to say? There is not enough praise and too much pressure. Young people need more encouragement and opportunity to show their talent, in their own way. We shouldn’t be teaching young people that if they don’t fit into a box of ‘beautiful A grade student’, they won’t be successful. Because that’s not true.
At least, if this is true, some big changes need to happen. Now.