Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Experiences

How Society’s Female Beauty Expectations Ruined My Childhood

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hawaii chapter.

This is a rough topic to talk about but is one that I think should be talked about more. As a kid, you’re let into the world once you start going to school. This experience differs for everyone, of course, but this is the time when you learn things about not only yourself but the world around you. That experience alone can impact you for life. 

For instance, my experience growing up was a lot about what I should be and what I shouldn’t. I should be skinny, I should be hairless, and I should be ashamed of being on my period. I shouldn’t be disrespectful, I shouldn’t dress a certain way to protect myself from predatorial boys, I shouldn’t be eating too much, and I shouldn’t talk about what I feel. All of these things, whether I realized it or not, have affected me well into my adulthood and even ruined what could’ve been a great childhood. 

Not to blame my parents at all, but a big part of the internal shame I had growing up was because of them. They taught me everything I had to know about what a woman is—what we’re supposed to be. 

What I learned from going to school is that these things my parents taught me are true for everyone too. That’s what made things worse for me. I was bullied for having hair on my arms and legs. After that, I continued to wear jackets and long pants to hide them. That went on for all of my elementary school years until I found out what shaving is. During middle school, I made it a weekly routine to shave everything. 

Why was I in middle school feeling the need to shave off the hair that is natural for human beings to have?

What was I in elementary school already feeling ashamed of who I am as a person? 

Why was I so young and already feeling the pressures of beauty expectations? 

It may sound minuscule to some people, but this heavily affected me for a long time. I continued to shave everywhere until two to three months ago when I realized that shaving off everything would be disrespecting who I am as a person. 

If you’re one of these girls who also have internalized society’s expectations of women: remember that you’re just fine the way you are and that it is entirely normal to have body hair or to be imperfect. It is completely your choice on what you wish to do with your body. Just make sure that whatever you do, you hold your wants and self-love higher than what society expects of you.

Jessa Tadeo

Hawaii '24

Howzit! I'm Jessa, a self-proclaimed music enthusiast, born and raised on O'ahu. I'm in my third year majoring in Social Work and I love to go on way too many coffee runs.