Opinion

Expectations are out of hand

By Laura Briggs

Fashion is a crazy thing.

One day it’s all about flared legs, the next day it’s suctioned skinny jeans.

One day houses are decked out with browns and neutral tones, the next it's blacks and greys.

And then 10 years on they have started their cycle again and what had come and gone is suddenly the trend all over again.

What a head spin. How do people keep up?

As someone who has never been satisfied to fit the mould of what may be expected of me and who views the word ‘trend’ about as important as algebra ... I have never quite understood the fuss behind having all the latest fashion.

But in recent years as I have exposed myself to more worldly news and what goes around the internet, I have got a glimpse of a world that operates in a different manner.

I have seen countless news articles purely written to inform readers of what a particular celebrity was wearing.

I have scrolled past video suggestions and blogs letting me know all the latest tips to styling a house or an outfit.

I have seen a world that is so caught up in making sure their outfits are repping all the latest and greatest.

This is all fine, I am by no means digging at the fashionable people of the planet. To be honest, the stylish people often lead the way for others in many cases.

But just as various words in the English language have changed their meaning over time, I believe ‘keeping up with the fashion’ is no longer simply that.

The pressure - particularly on young people - to appear a certain way is taking over and the approval of others is dictating the lives of far too many people.

Just last week I came across an article online that spoke of a United Kingdom mother who spends about $355 Australian dollars each month on her 14-year-old daughter as a way of improving her appearance.

According to the 37-year-old, her daughter is not academic enough, therefore will need to rely on her appearance to ‘get anywhere in life’.

In the article the mother was quoted as saying: “She will need to rely on her looks to get on in life so she will need to be perfect. Ugly people get nowhere these days.”

The woman said eyebrow tinting, hair extensions and nail treatments were a regular treatment and when her daughter turned 16 she would have fillers and botox followed by breast implants at 18. She also added that if her daughter was not happy with her nose that she would encourage her to have plastic surgery to make it perfect.

And to top it all off, the woman admitted she would do everything she could to get the National Health Service to pay for any surgery she undergoes.

When I read this article I was aware just how much of a problem this has become, not only in our country but all over the world. It’s actually disgusting.

This whole mindset and expectation on others to appear a certain way has to end.

As sad as it is that the founders of Instagram have recognised the issue and just how much weight was in the number of ‘likes’ an individual’s photos were getting online, I admire their recent actions of removing the ability for Instagram users to see how many ‘likes’ other people’s post have and eliminating that dependence of approval.

While that’s not ideal for many others like myself who use the social media platform as a way of sharing our photography and using the ‘likes’ as a gauge to understand what types of photos people prefer, I acknowledge that steps like this actually need to be taken to change the way young people think today.

While us in Shepparton may not be the founders of Instagram or in a position where we can influence people across the globe around this topic, we all have the choice as to the way we act towards others in our own world.

Do you add to your family and friends’ expectations to be or appear a certain way? Or do you allow them to escape the pressure of expectations by treating them the same regardless of how they look or feel?  

Because I know I have people in my own life who fills both those slots, but I must say my appreciation for those who show unconditional acceptance cannot be put into words.