One of the oldest clichés in the book tells us that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." The saying may cause some to roll their eyes, but it's an oft-repeated phrase because it's true, but it's just as important to keep in mind how the beholder changes as they grow up. As we get older, it's only natural that our image of what's beautiful evolves, too — and today's children, especially girls, grow up with more images (and perhaps more expectations) than ever before. That's why Allure wanted to talk to real kids about how they define beauty, and the answers they gave us were surprising and illuminating.
The kids in the video above range from ages five to 18, and their answers span quite a range, too. Five-year-old Cataleya, for instance, simply defines "beautiful" as "something that people like." She goes on to tells Allure that many things can fit that definition: "Bows are beautiful, dolphins are beautiful, my mom is beautiful, my heart is beautiful." Ava, age six, got a little more scientific with her definition. She tells us, "I find my whole body beautiful. There's my mom and dad's DNA in my body and it makes each part of me special."
Seven-year-old Tiera took a more artsy approach with her definition, claiming, "There's beauty all around us. The garbage can, the old pipe in your mom's house, and plain white floors — especially when it shines." Eight-year-old Rylee asks us to look on the inside, claiming that beauty has more to do with personality than anything, which nine-year-old Kensington expanded upon, saying that confidence is key.
Then, Izzi, age 10, reflects on her friend's freckles and the fact that beauty is personal, saying, "She has like a ton of freckles and they're super pretty on her, and I personally wish I had freckles, and she'll cover them up, and that just shows that people have different ideas on certain things. She doesn't like her freckles, when I think they look great on her and they're pretty." Kendall, a 12-year-old, talks about conventional beauty ideals, and reminds us that there are many other ways to embody beauty.
As the girls in the video get older, it becomes obvious that their definitions of beauty are influenced more and more by the things around them, and they also start talking about their own faces and bodies more when the topic comes up. Luna, 14, tells Allure, "It used to be that you had to be skinny, probably fairer-skinned, but now I think it's really been more accepting of the different bodies, all the different types of beauty there are." Then, she tells us, "I like my eyebrows. They like, kind of fan out and they do some weird thing over my eye, but I kind of love them."
16-year-old Tyler reveals that she attends a predominantly white school, and used to straighten her hair every two weeks or so to fit the beauty standards around her. Then, after watching YouTube videos of girls with natural hair, that changed. She recalls, "Just seeing those other people embracing their hair and really loving themselves for who they were really inspired me." To hear everything else these wise kids had to say — and to see if it changes your own definition of beauty — be sure to watch the video above.
Listen to what the girls had to say about hair:
Learning to love your hair can be a lifelong journey for some, and it plays a big role in our self-perception and personal identity. That's why we wanted to hear from these girls what they thought about their own hair. Rachel, 14, says that while she has friends who she thinks look gorgeous with short hair, she doesn't feel confident without a "long mess of hair." Meanwhile, 18-year-old Sara tells Allure that she believes some people use their hair to hide from the world. Watch the video below to hear more thoughts from girls ages five to 18 about what hair means to them and how they take care of their own gorgeous strands on a day-to-day basis.
Next up, we talked to the girls about body image:
We've all felt insecure in our own skin at one time or another, and despite the rapidly growing body-positivity movement, self-criticism can still be hard to shake. For this video installment, we asked girls ages five to 18 to talk about body image and what it means to them and their peers. Tune in below to see them speak candidly about struggling with the concept of self-love, the unattainable standards on social media, and the pressure to fit in and be a certain way.
Now, watch daughters send a message to their mothers:
For the next video, we asked the same girls aged five to 18 to share their ideas on beauty — more specifically, ones that they wish to communicate to their mothers. Take a look at this special Mother's Day edition of our series and see if it doesn't inspire you as much as it inspires us.
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