Looking Past the Mirror

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Litzy Beltran ’23 getting ready for school. Photo credit: Kitziha Beltran ’20.

Mia Parham, Opinions Editor

At first glance, going to an all-girls school can seem like a dream. Everyone wears the same uniform and there are no guys around to make girls worry about their appearance. Furthermore, going to a school like Xavier College Preparatory, young women are constantly being taught that they are capable of accomplishing great things. At all-girls schools, students are able to see other young women in leadership positions in clubs or sports more often than the co-ed experience. They are also taught that women are capable of excelling in the fields of STEM just like men. Schools like Xavier seem like a dream come true for building a teenage girl’s self-esteem and to some degree that can be true. However, despite this, the girls at Xavier still have the same struggle as young women everywhere… how to face themselves when they look in the mirror.

Having insecurities is common amongst most girls at Xavier. The way young women look at themselves in the mirror seems to have been influenced by the way society portrays what beauty is. Social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat that are focused on taking a “perfect picture” or using filters to alter your appearance can cause people to become more focused on how they view their looks. Kaila Hunley ’20 describes the effect social media has on her by saying, “We’re always comparing ourselves to the people we see on the internet and constantly trying to look like everyone else.” Because of this, people are spending more time trying to fit into the unrealistic ideas society has come to call standards of beauty. 

Although many people may see beauty as connected to the physical traits of a person, beauty is much more complex than that. Senior Jaala James ’20 describes beauty as being “subjective because someone that I can find beautiful or attractive the next person could find ugly. I think it’s more of a vibe someone might feel with another and how a person connects with another person.” Her view of beauty is a change from what we normally see in today’s society. It’s a perspective that dives deeper than what meets the eye. 

So if beauty isn’t just how a person looks, then what is it? Jaala James ’20 went on to say beauty is “a balance between the love from yourself and the love of others that radiates from yourself. It’s not intentional but more of a natural response.” In saying this, James is pointing out that by loving others we can find beauty not just within the world but within ourselves. We find that when we make a conscious effort to better ourselves we find true beauty. It’s hard to define beauty but it isn’t hard to become a beautiful person when you start by reflecting on yourself. Through self-love and compassion for others, true beauty can be found.

  At the end of the day, the way we perceive beauty is up to us. Like Jaala James, said, beauty is subjective and can be different depending on who you ask. However, I hope that when you consider what beauty is, you do not accept society’s warped idea of beauty. On Xavier’s campus, young girls have an opportunity to see beauty in a different light. It’s true that we will still have insecurities about the way we look, but when we focus less on the physical and more on the internal, we find getting through life becomes a little easier. And someday we will be able to look past the mirror and gain a deeper understanding of beauty.