An amazing group of girls at a high school in Texas started a revolution that caught the attention of national media. They wanted to do something positive for their fellow females who are constantly under pressure from society, media and each other to look a certain way.
Most recorded cases of school bullying and cyber bullying stems from the fact that students are allowed to wear whatever they want in American High Schools and this therefore creates a breeding ground for jealousy, teasing, favoritism and elitism in the playground.
Madeleine Milby, 17, is the vice president of the student congress and a senior at Plano Senior High School in Dallas and started an initiative called ‘Operation Beautiful’ which aims to show girls that you don’t need to wear makeup to be considered ‘beautiful’.
“The goal for this project is to promote inner beauty and to let girls know it’s not about what’s on the outside but about what’s on the inside, and that’s what makes you beautiful.” she told ABC News.
“I think there’s pressure for girls to look a certain way, to meet a standard. The standard is being pushed through media and magazines and everything,” said Milby.
Madeleine, along with senior class president Binna Kim and student congress president Monica Plenger teamed up to create a video to spread the word about their initiative which took place on March 8, 2013. The 8 minute youtube video is compelling to hear the thoughts of both boys and girls.
They surveyed girls and boys to find out how long they took to get ready. On average for girls it was 1.5 hours. For boys it was on average 5 minutes! But the girls assure viewers in the clip that their message is not that makeup is bad altogether, but that it shouldn’t be something that defines your beauty on a daily basis.
Watching the video it was an eye opener to see how many male students also supported this movement and can now see how much pressure is on females to look a certain way. But if everyone is blindly following the accepted norms and standards that have been put in place, how will we ever know any different? It takes young courageous and thoughtful girls like Madeleine to stand up and be different from the crowd.
It goes to show if you are afraid to speak up about something you feel strongly about, then you are doing the world a disservice. When you stand up and share your heart, you will be surprised at the amount of people who think the same but needed someone to take the plunge. All it takes is one person with a voice and a reason.
One of the guys in the clip cleverly quotes the lyrics from One Direction’s ‘What Makes you Beautiful’ to state his case, but it actually seems very fitting!
Operation Beautiful is more than just a movement or an idea, it is a revolution and we certainly hope it is going to become an epidemic. We stumbled upon this website www.operationbeautiful.com started by 29 year old Caitlin in North Carolina whose mission it is to end negative talk in girls, women and men. She began her journey by writing positive messages to herself on post-it notes and would stick them everywhere in her house, on her mirror etc. She realized that there was something important about spreading positive messages and how saying these words and influence a young girl’s confidence in a profound way.
So every day she, as well as many other contributors post their ‘sticky note of the day’ on her blog to inspire readers and visitors.
To see two different generations of women who are passionate about the same idea gives us hope that there is a shift happening in our culture. Girls in high school shouldn’t be pressured or worried about looking a certain way when there is so much more to accomplish in life that doesn’t depend on outward appearances.
Just as most of the young men and women say in the video, it’s what is inside that matters and that defines who you are and your beauty. What other people say about you should not define you.
If you were to start a movement today, what would it be and how would you influence people around you?