Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.


Magazines, movies and music videos form the trilogy often used to showcase society’s epitome of beauty. We’ve been taught to identify beauty by what we see, whether it be the bright-eyed, long-legged, hip-shaking popstar or the nerdy-but pretty behind-the-glasses girl walking into the film scene.

Cut to the hallways of high school, where we were taught that diversity exists somewhere, but not in the open. People were still pretty or not pretty, hot or not hot, and if you managed to fly under the radar, it was probably because people didn’t know how to categorize you. We were all pining for straight hair, toned stomachs and the perfect (without trying too hard) appearance. Then there was always the wise elder ready to remind you to wait until college, because that’s where change happens, when people mature and realize that the world isn’t confined to a singular zip code.

If there is anything I can say about being a last semester senior in college, it’s that while there is change, don’t expect others to do the changing for you.

Change started with leaving the social bubble I grew up in and moving into a college dorm. It continued by meeting a diverse set of people and listening to different voices. It formed from the culmination of learning, applying and recognizing what I found to be important, rather than being told what was important. Eventually when I looked at myself, I saw a woman who had dreams and aspirations — one who saw herself as a reflection of all that she had been through and all that she was capable of achieving. There was a glow of empowerment that made her feel beautiful. I love that what I once saw as flaws, I now identify as beauty.

It is trying to create a singular image of beauty that can consume oneself in true ugliness. Should we not look to see beauty everywhere? Some may argue that image is everything, and others may say that it is not important at all. The truth is, it’s up to you. Find your own balance. Rather than follow others’ guidelines, trust in yourself. There will always be opinions on what the best trends are, but if the point of a trend is to make a person feel glamorous or sophisticated, who’s the better judge than oneself?

This is not to say that I have made it to the final level of self-acceptance and assurance. There will be always be situations where one feels small, inadequate, invisible or unheard. We don’t always have to be strong, and it is important to allow ourselves these feelings. But when we must stand tall and speak up, we must learn to do so not just because our outfit is on point, but because we know we have found beauty in our agency. The woman in the mirror is not only beautiful for her looks, but for her voice, thoughts and actions.

The supermodels, popstars and underdogs-turned-prom-queens are still as beautiful as ever, but so is everyone else. The people in the background dancing, pretending to open lockers and talk to friends during every movie take, along with those behind the cameras, are beautiful too. And so are you.

Feminist | Editor | Lesbian