Dear High School Girl,
This is the time to live, to grow, and to figure out exactly who you are. You probably hear it all the time, “You’re only in high school once. Enjoy it!” Right? But here’s something that you probably don’t hear all the time: Do not let society influence your self esteem. So often we hear things about needing to “fit in” or to “go with the flow,” but there’s something so incredibly wrong with this mindset.
In the past year or two, I have noticed something changing, especially with senior pictures. Girls, you are just that: girls. There should not be pressure for you to look 20, or even older. You do not have to have perfect makeup. You do not have to have perfect hair. You do not have to wear revealing clothing. You do not have to sexualize your bodies in order to be viewed as beautiful.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… I don’t know what it’s like, right? This look is what’s “in” right now, it’s what everyone is doing. It’s not inappropriate because that’s just where society is headed…. But here’s the thing, I do know. Believe it or not, I was in high school once too. Even less believable? I only graduated (almost) four years ago. I’m only 21 (yes, you read that right). I’m not your grandma telling you to cover up. I’m not your mom telling you those shorts are too short. I’m part of your generation. Sure, I might be a few years older than you… but you don’t mind that Ryan Gosling is a few years older than you, do you? 😉
In all seriousness though, it makes me so sick to see how so many of you ladies think you have to dress to be seen as attractive. You don’t have to show your cleavage. You don’t have to show your butt. Shoot, you don’t even have to show your stomach. You girls are young, fun, and happy. You do not have to be sexualized. Trust me, there is plenty of time in life for that.
There is nothing that I love more than when a junior or senior girl shows up in a pretty dress, with cute daily makeup, and a genuine smile to complete the look. I love it when girls come dressed as themselves, not as some model they saw on Pinterest or in a magazine. Wear what you love, and what’s comfortable, not what society tells you you have to. There’s nothing wrong with being fashionable, or even following along with what’s trending, but you don’t have to show more skin than what’s covered to do so.
I’m not saying you have to dress in a turtle neck sweater and floor length skirts. I’m not saying we need to go back to the 1800’s when women couldn’t wear jeans. I’m not even saying that you can’t wear that cute strapless sundress with the cutout in the back. What I’m saying is this: do not let anyone, not your friends, not your classmates, not the media, not Pinterest, and especially not your photographer, influence the way you view yourself. Don’t like caking on makeup? Don’t! Don’t like showing your chest? Don’t! Don’t like showing too much leg? Don’t. You do not have change who you are, or the way view yourself, because of what society thinks is in style.
Five years from now, you’ll look back on your pictures (professional or otherwise). What will you think? Will you think about how much fun you were having, or how many sit-ups you had to do to be confident in that shirt? Will you be thinking about how hard you laughed that day, or how uncomfortable you were because your shorts kept riding up? Will you remember riding that roller coaster and screaming at the top of your lungs, or having to sit on the sidelines because your dress was too short and you didn’t want to flash everyone?
All this being said, here’s what I really want you to know: as a senior and teen photographer, I promise to never ask you to dress provocatively. To go even further, I will not pose you sexually. I will not take advantage of your beauty for my own gain. I will not ask you to wear something you’re uncomfortable with. I won’t have you laying seductively in the sand in your bikini. I won’t make you look 20. If that’s what you’re looking for in your photos, go elsewhere. No, really… I’m not the photographer for you. I will not be that photographer. I don’t care if every other photographer in the state, even the country, decides that this is okay. I will still make you look beautiful, but I will not sexualize you girls. You ladies deserve better than that.
So please, at least give all this a thought. You’re only young once. Don’t let society ruin that for you.
God Bless ♥︎ Victoria