With all its advances in technology and especially social media, the 21st century is perhaps the toughest era in which to be a young adult. This is because everything is so superficial nowadays you hardly encounter authenticity. Take beauty for example; do we still have what one can refer to as authentic beauty? What is the yardstick that defines beauty in the modern age?

To answer the second question, I believe it is the media that sets the standards for what society should deem beautiful. They do this by portraying celebrities as the SI unit for what is aesthetically pleasing, and we fall for it hook, line and sinker.

Let’s take a look a Dorothy, a hypothetical 21-year-old campus girl. Ever since she was young, her role model has always been RnB superstar Mariah Carey. She invests a large portion of her student loan on expensive make-up and outrageous hair weaves in order to look like her idol. She feels a little insecure about her looks and so her friend, Tabitha, introduces her to a shop down River Road that sells skin-bleaching products.

When she is introduced to Instagram, she discovers that investing in a physical make-over alone won’t cut it. “Other girls on Instagram look so pretty that I don’t feel like uploading any of my photos,” she confesses to Tabitha.

But Tabitha has a solution to everything, so she introduces her to a number of photo editing mobile applications and filters. Every day, Dorothy takes about 100 selfies, only one of which makes it to Instagram. And the lucky shot has to be edited for over 30 minutes across multiple software. All this quest to look better than other girls is weighing down on her emotionally, and her boyfriend, Kamau, notices it. It is time to give Dorothy a sobering talk, Kamau decides.

“Let’s face it, you will never look exactly like Mariah Carey,” Kamau breaks it to her girlfriend. “Do you know how much money she spends to look as good as she does? Her looks are not even real!”

And so Dorothy does her research and finds out that for a single photo shoot, Mariah spends a whopping $85,000 (Sh 85,000,000! Yea, you read that right). Mariah has to pay lots of money to stylists, photo-shop experts, make-up artists and manicurists just to release a single photo!

“Nothing is more impressive than a woman who decides to be herself,” Kamau muses, urging his girlfriend to feel good in her own skin.

Mariah and her retouches

Many of us try to feel good in seeking perfection in terms of countenance, only to end up feeling empty inside. It’s a debilitating affliction, with some thinking that it makes up the totality of their value. We are even deluded enough to think that physical beauty is the key to a better life.

Confidence is not putting your picture on social media and thinking you look better than everybody. Confidence is actually putting up your picture on social media and not having to compare yourself with anyone at all.

You define your beauty, and that’s not a power anyone should have over you.

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Lukorito Jones

When I'm not busy chasing around stories for my quasi-journalism career, you'll find me dabbling in fiction and perfecting my deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.

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