Apparently when a Jenner or Kardashian drops one of their selfies on Instagram, the goal is beyond simply collecting "likes," the ultimate achievement is comments like "flawless."
But really, whose beauty is so perfect that it may be called "flawless"? According to Nancy Jo Sales' latest research, teenagers across the country have invested in photo altering software to take their images to the "flawless" level. Yet flawless only exists in a doctored/altered image. With so many apps and venues for teenagers to share images and review each other, our girls are investing their time and emotional well-being on an endless quest for the perfect image.
Striving to be "flawless" is like striving to catch a jackalope. For those who haven't had the traveling pleasure of meeting a Western American local trying to mess with a tourist, a jackalope is a mythical cross between a jackrabbit and antelope. It must be a taxidermist's delight to take antelope antlers and attach them to unsuspecting rabbit heads. These hodgepodge creatures adorn restaurant and hotel lobby walls in cities like Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A witty bartender will lean in and explain to his/her customers that if they run into the forest naked and loudly sing the special mating call, they might be lucky enough to catch a jackalope with their own hands (and take the ultimate selfie!). Coming upon naked people singing in the woods must be what keeps local police forces entertained. In the end, the jackalope creature is a myth, just like the concept of the flawless image. We continue to strive for flawless beauty, yet no one has achieved it in real life.
I try to embrace my flaws. I'm not perfect, but it makes me a more interesting and understanding human. I've taken unflattering pictures, and wait for it, I lived. I've gained weight and lost weight, and I also survived. I have regrets, and I have memories I wouldn't change. I'm not perfect, nor do I expect myself or anyone else to hold themselves to an impossible challenge.
Accepting my imperfections allows me to quell anxiety and feed my self-esteem. While it's okay to reflect and create self-improvement goals, it's okay to be flawed. In fact there is a new word rocking the Twittersphere #Flawsome (as in flawed and awesome). The most effective way to show our youth the power of their flaws is to show our flaws. Whatever bumps, blemishes, and mistakes in your past have made you a better person #FlawedAndOK #Flawsome
- I've had acne since I was seven years old, so baby soft skin will never be an option for me, but that doesn't mean I'm less valuable #FlawedAndOK
- I budget my money so I can save for college. I don't have a fancy purse, or trendy clothes, but I know my future career will make me fulfilled. #FlawedAndOK
- When I was young I was in a car accident that scarred my forehead. Covering it up doesn't help, so I decided to rock it like Harry Potter. #Flawsome
- I was able to get my kids to school on time, but I forgot to put on makeup and deodorant. I will live. #FlawedAndOk
The only difference between a "jackalope" and "flawless" is that spell check doesn't red squiggle "flawless." Meanwhile, our American teenagers are striving for a perfection that doesn't exist. If only spell check could squiggle "flawless" to indicate it's lack of real life existence. Get out there and share your #FlawedAndOK and #Flawsome experiences. Be the example you wish you had.