"Barbies" everywhere

A hand holding a note that says "You are beautiful"

I have been standing motionless in front of the mirror for several hours now. I am inspecting my eyes, neck, waist, and legs. I no longer see myself, a smiling 15-year-old girl. My perspective is obscured by all the faults I see in me.

I nervously tap my foot while I compare my appearance with the looks of models, whose Instagram photos I like every day. Why do not I have their sparkling smiles, long shiny hair, and narrow waists? Why am I not as perfect as they are?

And what does it mean to be beautiful in the modern age?

“Dear girls, you are not pretty enough...” – this is the message we hear every day.

“Dear girls, you are not pretty enough...” – this is the message we hear every day.

As I walk down the corridors of my school, I see many so-called "plastic girls" who spend their entire lives in the pursuit of perfection, with the desire to meet the standards set by their "role models" on Instagram.

I would usually smile and look at them with mild pity, at least I did until I realized that I was unconsciously doing the same thing. I recognized that I was also blinded by fake beauty and fake lives, especially those led on social networks, where reality is mostly "photoshopped"!

A girl looks at her reflection in the mirror.

According to a survey conducted by UNICEF and AEM in Montenegro, one out of every two children imitates their role models from TV. The internet, and in particular, social networks have the biggest impact on young people in Montenegro aged 12–17 years.

But, do they all know that, for example, the photos of their favourite heroes are edited with the help of tools that can soften the contours, erase wrinkles, improve facial features, cover acne and change colour?

And do we really want everyone to look the same – like Barbies?

Your beauty is defined by your character, not by your physical appearance.

Therefore, dear girls (and young men) – keep in mind that your beauty is defined by your character, not by your physical appearance.

And while you are standing in the room assessing your "beauty", when only the faults you see occupy your attention, I invite you to look at that mirror through the eyes of a winner, not the eyes of a competitor.

Only those who admit to themselves that they have become puppets of this global problem and decide to cut the wires that hold them captive will discover true love for themselves.

So, let us refuse to accept blindly everything that is put forward by bad and fake role models.

Let's be ourselves.

Let's be media literate.

Jovana is a 16-year-old student and she has been training to dance since childhood. In addition to dance, she found love in volunteering, and thus contributes to her community and society. She is a member of the Scout Association of Montenegro with whom she travels, meets new people, new cultures and learns many useful things. In addition to school volunteers and the Red Cross, she is a member of young reporters - UNICEF volunteers.