The Middle School Student Voices group is not one to shy away from discussing tough topics, so to follow their first assembly of the year on female representation in Hollywood, the eighth graders this week led their second all-school assembly on the unfair societal pressure faced by teenage girls.
The student group touched on such issues as dress codes and teacher biases in co-ed schools, impossible beauty standards promoted by fashion and cosmetics industries, and the impact of media and advertising on young women growing up today. After showing Dove’s “My Beauty, My Say” video on the pressure women face to be perfect, the students broke down the many ways that pressure affects adolescent girls, presenting statistics on the high number of girls who struggle with eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
On how to combat such messages, Head of Middle School Student Voices Dahlia V. ’24 told the audience, “Make sure to recognize your power as a consumer. We can all avoid products and media that push sexist stereotypes onto women.”
Student Voices’ goal was to raise awareness about the topic within the Westridge community; in talking about the research and statistics on girls who feel overwhelmed by cultural pressure, they said they hoped they would help more girls understand they are not alone and inspire them not to change who they are to fit in. “As members of the Westridge community, we have an opportunity to push back,” said Dahlia. “Educate those around you on sexism and its impact. Be assertive and state your stance, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself or others. We can fight back, and it’s important that we do!”