The vanity of today’s youth – what happened? 116



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Whenever I look on my Facebook newsfeed, I am flooded with pictures of friends’ grandchildren and my own. While I love seeing them, my own grandchildren, who are 14 and 16, are always pouting and taking ‘selfies’. Don’t get me wrong, they are stunning girls and I support them, however as their grandmother, I can’t help but feel a bit upset that they are putting photos of themselves like that on the internet.

There’s those ‘stars’ like Kim Kardashian and so on who use social media to display their bum and boobs to everyone who wants to see it (and some who don’t!). It’s become more about what you look like than what you have to offer – silly apps like Tinder exist, which my son tells me is like a dating service but you just flick through peoples’ pictures until you see someone who takes your fancy. They could be dumb as a doornail but as long as they have a big bust, then they’re perfect for you. I do worry about the world my young granddaughters are growing up in, where the focus is solely on what you look like, where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. They give so much information out they could be stalked, though it’s not stalking if you make it easy for them!

I wonder what happened to the era of natural beauties. I look back at my black and white photos, one of my favourites is me wearing a (faux) fur coat in the middle of 1970s London. I looked beautiful, if I don’t mind saying so myself, and yet I just had some lippy on and maybe a bit of mascara. Oh, and I certainly did not take the photo myself! In fact, it was spontaneous and was taken by my late husband who said “Marg, look!” and captured me turning around.

Fast forward to today and if you look in any magazine, website or Facebook, you can see the amount of inane photography going on. It’s actually very sad that the vanity of youth is so much so that some would die to look pretty. Just the other day an Australian girl had her breasts enlarged and had a heart attack on the operating table. She was interviewed and had passed off her cardiac arrest as if it was a walk in the park. She was just glad that her boobs were finished! She literally died on the operating table. Fair enough, some women do have good reasons for having work done, but when you see KK and her enormous bummed family plastered everywhere, what message is that sending? I’ll eat my hat if they haven’t had surgery, the lot of them.

I think vanity can be combatted with some tender love from a mother or grandmother. I have taken it upon myself to instil a good body image in my grandchildren, and have been trying to steer them away from social media when they are with me. I don’t judge them for their pictures by saying (I have heard my friends say this) “You look ridiculous” as that makes them think there’s something wrong with them. They need to be told they’re beautiful every day. I saw a lovely video (which you can watch here) made by Dove that helped young girls with curly hair realise they are beautiful, with the help from some of their family members. This should happen more in society.


What do you think about the vanity of today’s youth? Were you vain when you were younger? How did you dress? What should be done to make young women love themselves the way they are?

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  1. Nothing had changed really. Many woman died in the past because they painted their faces with lead or put poisons in their eyes to make them look bigger.

    5 REPLY
    • Ok ! that’s a bit over board , who died from using makeup or dying their hair ? And what sort Of strange person put poison Their eyes?

    • Mane if the fashionable women in victorian times. Arsenic and deadly nightshade. Killed them but they looked great.

    • Make up contained lead. I can’t recall why but I suppose for the same reason it is used in paint. There were warnings a fee years ago that some brands of make up contained lead. Women put Bella Donna (beautiful woman) in their eyes because it dilated the pupils and made the eyes look big. This was considered to be a sign of beauty at the time. Bella Donna has another name which I THINK may be Deadly Nightshade.

    • Yes Ellie, I saw that documentary too. Makes me wonder what is killing us (or our brain cells) right now with what we think is “just makeup” antiperspirant or hair shampoo. The list of ingredients in those is quite awesome.

    • I am not sure we are any better. I didn’t know there was a documentary. That would have been good to see. I was a history teacher with a fascination for the actual lives of the people. Lives were so much different and things we take for granted were really hard. Toilets, clothing, food etc

  2. I totally agree with you, I too am a grandmother of 3 lovely girls and understand where you are coming from.
    I also don’t understand why so called, self proclaimed ” stars”, ( only in their heads, not mine) feel the need to display their inflated bodies and ego’s for all to see.
    Beauty is within, I try to tell my granddaughters and my grandsons that what lies beneath a pretty face and body is the only part that doesn’t age, good work ethics and compassion are what we should be looking for.
    Then again it doesn’t help when magazines, movies and advertisements are aimed at the young.
    I see girls with their parents as young as 4/6 dressed like mini me mums, sometimes one feels like pulling them up to explain the facts, not my job unfortunately.
    Strange world, on one hand people whinge about such things as burkas and on the other we let very young ladies exposing all they can without blinking an eye.
    Just don’t get it.
    From an also disturbed grandmother.

  3. It’s all part of the selfish, shallow world we live in

    2 REPLY
    • Every generation I suspect looks at the one coming after it and thinks it’s selfish and shallow. Our parents would’ve said the same about us. It’s just the world is always so very, very different from the one we grew up in and life for the following generations is always easier.

      As a child I used a copper and a ringer. The dryer was a piece of wire held up with two sticks and some pegs. My daughters went straight into married life with automatic washing machines and dryers, I was fortunate enough to have a twin tub. No dryer though. I cringe when I think what life was like for my grandparents. My parents I know had nothing.

      Does that make my daughters selfish. No. But let’s not forget. Our mothers never worked outside the home. As time moved on, women have the mod cons, but they have or did at one point hold full time jobs.

  4. Mmm! Do you not remember the days when women were having corsets tied so tightly around their waists to give them that “hour glass figure” look, that I’m surprised they could breathe. Sure we didn’t live it, but we’ve all seen it in old movies. My day was the mini skirt. Bussells, now there was a “look at me” fashion statement if ever there was one.

    Down through the ages women have always painted and primped themselves. It looks like a new phenomenon because of social media. It’s not, we’ve always done it. Each generation does it in its own way.

    1 REPLY
    • The laced corsets did cause damage. When laced really tightly they pushed the internal organs about, causing breathing restrictions by preventing the lungs from fully inflating, gastric problems, reflux and many other problems. There was a really good programme recently on SBS called The Deadly Secrets of the Victorian Household, which covered this.

  5. They will probably look back and go OMG, just as I did when I looked at a picture of myself in hot pants and boots at work! (public service made it even more alarming)

  6. Well said totally agree. I don’t get the selfie thing my lot do the same.

  7. We were the same, the Beatles era, boys grew their hair and girls, well the whole fashion thing! So much fun. I hate the over the top make up thing on young girls but it’s fashion. The one I despise is that every second word is LIKE! Like we are going to like your place like. I listen to the teenagers and I want to scream, if they were mine they would be fined every time they said it.

  8. while it disappoints me to see my beautiful (naturally) grandaughter covering herself in makeup, colouring her hair and wearing totally inappropriate clothing, I have to take hold of myself and try to remember I did these things back in the day. However, I didn’t start til I was 16 and she is only 13. It seems they grow up so much earlier today

    3 REPLY
    • I probably agree with you there . They do start to early , but that’s more the parents fault . I wasn’t allow to wear any makeup until 16 , and then dad had to approve of how much before you went out .

    • My Father would never had let me out the door if i even comtemplated inappropriate clothing and i had the good grace to see that he was right in some matters of clothing.

    • Family of 4 teenage girls. I was the eldest. Had to set an example. And yes when all my younger sister’s started coming to the dance’s we all had to line up for inspection. Plus me being the eldest. Some mornings best dressed with my clothes. Lots of arguments over that.

  9. No different in my opinion. Remember in our days and no different. Always has and always will be different looks in each generation. Was great fun in textured tights. Mini skirts , hot pants etc etc

    1 REPLY
  10. Health should be your number one aim in life. I don’t want to be the prettiest corpse in the cemetery. I want to be alive and healthy.

    1 REPLY
    • I don’t think paying attention to their appearance , will make them pretty dead people . No more than someone who dosent show any interest in their appearance .

  11. When you are young you are naturally beautiful, when you get older you have to help nature a little bit. If I don’t put on a bit of make up I look yuk!
    I think it’s ok. see it as part of dressing. If I don’t put make up on I feel naked.

    2 REPLY
  12. Maybe we were just more discreet …showing our natural beauty…the media once again has a lot to answer for again expecting us all to look beautiful and thin…most be a lot of pressure on the young ones

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