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Caught in the Crossfire

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Emily Higgins

More stories from Emily Higgins

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Opinions are often thrown onto many teenage girls and the effect of societal pressure can have a devastating effect.

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Caught in the Crossfire

Opinions form from the memories we create, the stigmas we learn and our perceptions of others. The opinions people create and form can impact someone else in a positive or a negative way. The opinions generated from a single person can then multiply to larger mass of people, creating a general guideline of what simply is and isn’t. High school girls crack under the pressure of social judgment and fall into what is acceptable in society rather than standing out. The constant judgment from people around them can aid in changing the perspective of girls and making them insecure about their self-image. According to Psychology Today, seven out of ten girls ages 15 to 17 believe they are not good enough in some way. This includes their looks, performance in school and relationships.

Being ridiculed for being themselves is a battle many people face. Sophomore Jordan Balleza has experienced this first hand and agrees to the statistic.

I’d love to say ‘oh my God, that’s horrible,’ but that sounds accurate,” Balleza said. “I think social judgment is the pressure to be a certain way in the eyes of others. I know so many girls who never feel like they’re good enough because there’s a constant beating down on them. The media, the opinions, the society, all of it. In general, girls are in constant judgment. I know it has taken a toll on my own self-esteem.”

In today’s society, it’s easy for opinions to change on a dime. Teens typically judge people subconsciously, whether it’s commenting to a friend on how cute someone’s jacket is or telling someone how fake a girl looks for wearing too much makeup. Individuality allows high schoolers to decide what to do, how to dress, how to act and even who to clique with. By facing judgment and having negative opinions being thrown onto them, tolls are taken on feelings.

“[For] women and girls, it’s hard to look into the world and say, this is what you decide is acceptable, and it is me, and I’m not going to conform,” sophomore Jerianne Bonaguidi said.

Due to the mentality teen girls tend to have, some girls do not have a strong enough mindset to be themselves due to other people’s opinions. This can then change their perspective on how they think they look and feel about themselves.

Self-inflicted, peer, parental and societal pressures added onto already occurring hormonal changes continuously feed into insecurities. Adolescence is the time when children start making their own decisions and search for different ways to express themselves. By doing so, finding weaknesses and strengths can then turn into the comparisons of each other’s worth. This could lead to being judged by others and kids becoming insecure in themselves. As peers continue to judge, comment and stereotype each other, the already lighted fire from previous comments constantly burns in the back of the mind. Instead of living through the statement “be yourself,” the flames of judgment consume the idea of individuality.

“As much as I want to be and stay original, I know that I could not take the social judgment that comes along with it, so I guess I’d rather sit in than stand out,” Balleza said.

Bonaguidi also gave her opinion on adolescent kids and how they feel on fitting in with the crowd.

“They want to be an individual person but most people don’t want to be so far out there that they’re on their own,” Bonaguidi said.

Whether one fits in or stands out, other’s opinions will sway how one feels about themselves. Life is like a game of Would You RatherWould one rather be stuck with the majority of people who are merely here just because, or be original? Stepping out of comfort zones, trying new things and meeting new people — that’s up to each person to decide.

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Caught in the Crossfire