Be Your Beautiful Self

By Kirstin Buick
04 February 2014

So you don’t smoke or get smashed at parties, but resisting peer pressure is also about blindly accepting ideas of how you “should” look

You’ve heard it before: don’t give in to peer pressure; just say no, blah blah blah. But before you get bored and turn the page, think about this – when you get dressed for school, do you feel like you have to do your hair a certain way because that’s how all the other kids do it? And when you’re getting ready for a night out, is it crucial you get those Kim K smokey eyes?

Feeling you have to look, act or dress like the girls or guys in your circle – or even like a celebrity – is also a kind of peer pressure.

How society says you should look – and why you don’t need to listen

- Hollywood hair: it’s the signature look of the red carpet – hair either coiled into perfect curls or ironed dead straight. But excessive heat, colour treatments and straightening can seriously damage your hair and you could end up looking like a scarecrow at 30! Why not go natural? You might be surprised by the compliments you get.

- Panda eyes: You might think you’re accentuating your eyes by laying on the liner, á la the Kardashian sisters, but you could end up making them look smaller. Remember, Kim, Kourtney and Khloè have a professional make-up artist on call 24/7 and also wear fake eyelashes all the time. The sultry look isn’t easy to do yourself – chances are you’ll end up looking like you’ve been punched in the face. Why not try the natural look, with just a hint of mascara? You can’t go wrong!

- The gap: Earlier this year there was a Facebook fan page doing the rounds devoted to “the gap” between a girl’s legs – the space super-thin girls have between their legs because their thighs don’t touch. According to the page “all girls have the gap”. Um, no they don’t. And you don’t have to. Because most girls aren’t built like model Cara Delevingne – and we also like to have the odd choccie. It’s ridiculous to sweat for hours in the gym on an empty stomach just so you’ll have a bit of space between your thighs. Besides, if you working out properly you’ll develop your leg muscles, which is actually kind of cool because more muscle means you burn more kilojoules while resting. More ice cream, please!

- Skinny is sexy: “Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” – you’ve probably heard or read this online at some point. It’s apparently a quote from Kate Moss. Well, clearly Kate never had a red velvet cupcake. Starving yourself for that itty-bitty waist is really just a waste of time – the less you eat, the slower your metabolism. Which means when you do eventually snack on something – even something healthy – your body is more likely to store it as fat. Rather stick to a few, small healthy meals a day, and the occasional red velvet cupcake! Your body will thank you for it.

GUYS DEAL WITH IT TOO

Pressure to look a certain way doesn’t affect only girls. You probably know a few guys who are obsessed with bulking up so they look good in a vest. They might even have resorted to taking supplements or steroids to pump up their muscles. But these products can have serious side effects, including hair loss, acne, liver disease, kidney problems, heart problems, testicular damage … the list goes on. Rather build muscle the healthy way – by simply being active and playing sport. Besides, girls don’t want to hang out with guys who look like the Oros man, do they?

Celebs who don’t let it get to them

- Actress Jennifer Lawrence: “In Hollywood I’m obese. I’m considered a fat actress. I’ll be the only actress who doesn’t have anorexia rumours. I’m never going to starve myself for a part.”

- Singer Hayley Williams: “The craziest thing I ever did for a guy was dumb down my personality and style so I’d seem less ‘weird’. Looking back, I’d never change who I am for anyone – especially not for one fleeting moment of acceptance.”

- Singer Pink: “I’d love to have time to do my hair, honestly. I’d love to be Victoria Beckham just for one day – to look that good. But I can’t.”

Sources: dailymail.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk, seventeen.com

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