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Guest Blog Series 6: Media Portrayal of Women and Self-Esteem

This is the sixth in a series of guest blogs ranging from short prose pieces to poetry composed for member, Chelsea Nabozny’s, high-school creative writing class.

Nabozny explains, “Over the past eighteen weeks, I have been using my senior elective Creative Writing class as a space for students to explore ideas and issues that are important to them and reflect on their ideas through various types of writing. After several weeks of talking as a class about generational issues, technology, and media, I noticed that many females in my class were particularly interested in the way women are represented across these mediums. As a culminating project, I asked my students to create a written piece on any topic that we discussed that they felt particularly passionate about. The students below are a select group who decided to share their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs about what it is like to be a young woman in 2015. The way that this group of students articulated themselves through a variety of writing styles allows for a truly fascinating glimpse into the minds, thoughts, and daily struggles that these young women face. Through these pieces, I hope that other  teachers find the confidence and trust to have conversations about gender in their own classrooms and allow their students to explore and grapple with these issues.”

January and February pieces have been submitted by secondary and post-secondary students interested in gender. If you are interested in submitting a piece, please get in touch with us at In the subject line, please mark the message for the webmaster.



Media portrayal of Women and Self-Esteem

Ever since I was a little girl media has always played a role in my life; wherever I go it is always there.  This is why media has such an impact on the lives of women today, especially younger girls. When girls start to hit puberty, they start becoming self-conscious.  They don’t know if they meet the standards of women that media portrays.  Media shows only “perfect” women.  Every ad for any product, whether beauty related or not, has a woman with perfectly placed hair, plump lips, the right tan, etc.  Since when did all women start to look like that?  They place unrealistic expectations right in front of the eyes of these young girls.  No wonder why they strive to become the unrealistic Barbie, that’s all they’ve ever seen and known.  I honestly can’t say if these expectations will ever lessen.  I hope that someday they will and more and more girls will feel comfortable in their own natural skin.



I have always had a low self-esteem.  I used to think it was just the way I thought, that it was just how I was.  However I later discovered that media had a huge role in my self-esteem.  In middle school all the other girls in my class were reaching puberty before me and I couldn’t wait till it was my turn to finally grow boobs – and even get my period!  I think I thought like this because of the media.  Media shows women with full boobs, perfectly toned legs, arms, etc.  I wanted to be just like those women.  I wanted to have everything they had.  This also explains why I always was looking for new ways to make myself “look” better, whether this meant straightening my hair, trying out different makeup techniques, or finding the perfect pants to make my butt look good.  Without the media and girls in my everyday life trying to outdo everyone and look like the media women I don’t think I would have been as concerned with my looks as I am today.  I always feel so self-conscious anywhere I go.  I feel like whenever someone looks at me it’s not possibly for my beauty, there must be something out of place on me.  I hate that I feel this way, but I honestly think media has a huge role in this.

I’ve gotten more confident over the years, but I still find it hard to take a compliment.  I feel like I don’t deserve it or I shouldn’t be getting it on certain days where I think I look awful or something’s off.  When I watch commercials and see the perfect woman, I don’t think it has as much of an effect on me as say, “America’s Next Top Model.”  This show for example, displays women who are sticks and most likely unhealthy but yet they are the definition of beauty.  This baffles me – I can’t comprehend who decided this to be the “perfect” woman figure.

I know after watching these shows when I was younger I thought that all men were looking for women who looked like them, women with a perfect figure. I later learned that people don’t always look at these women in such a profound way anymore.

by: Jenna Schunke

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