Featured Image from Harper's Bazaar
There has always been a market that surrounds the ever-changing concept of being an it girl. Most people well acquainted with the term think of the same general list of people that has been built upon since the beginning of pop culture. Audrey Hepburn, Molly Ringwald, Naomi Campbell, Alexa Chung and the most recent generation of Instagram influencers has opened the door for unachievable lifestyle standards to flourish. Alongside the rise of Instamodels, social awareness in young people has also grown with the expansion of social media. While there is the fair share of influencers that ignore politics due to the risk it poses to their brand, the most influential modern day it girls are the ones who use their platform for the betterment of society. Young women such as Yara Shahidi and Rowan Blanchard are the archetypes of politically engaged women that need to be glorified, but, for some reason, that isn’t what is happening.
Among many of the good things that come along with social platforms, any young girl on social media can attribute most of their self-confidence issues to their feeds. This side effect has come to light in recent years, but it is a hard one to combat. This has led to a small number of admirable influencers using their platforms to promote positive issues that focus on the world around them. They are small fish in a big pond, however, because they just do not have the reach that they should when compared to the women that have the largest following.
Yara Shahidi has proven that there are no limits on America’s young people when you look at her impressive resume of accomplishments derived from her strides for diversity. She’s a freshman at Harvard who had a recommendation letter from former first lady Michelle Obama and she is the ideal young woman that any young girl should look up to. The same goes for Rowan Blanchard who has been called the voice of socially aware young girls within Generation Z. There are plenty of other examples of women using their platforms in a positive way, but the problem is that their millions of followers do not even compare to that of people like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Society is still working on their ability to appreciate women who utilize their brains, whether they want to admit it or not.
Why is this? It is a frustrating phenomenon that has become more and more evident as the young people of Generation Z age. As the first generation who grew up, for the most part, with a reliance on technology that has never been seen before, what is present on social media is largely responsible for what holds their attention. The beginning of social media created the perfect climate for a platform that thrived off of women that appealed to the eye instead of the mind. Now, there are women who can do both and in a way that inspires the young people that look up to them. Hopefully, there will be a shift soon that allows women who have a purposeful voice that is used for the betterment of the world around them to be just as glorified as those who meet society’s hyper glorified standard of beauty.