We all want to change something about our appearance. Sometimes that's healthy, sometimes it's not so healthy. Read what our Mentors and experts have to say in response to kids' questions about this subject.
Advice Questions about How You Look:
- "I don't really have the best fashion sense in the world and I guess you're probably going to say that I should just be myself and people should like me for who I am. But, being a teenager (or pre-teen in my case) isn't about being out there, it's about fitting in. I see my friends wearing good clothes, and mine are OK. It's not that I want to be like them, I just want be in the same fashion zone. Any advice?"
- “I am really tall for my age, And I mean REALLY TALL. Almost everyone I know is shorter than me and can do everything better. And because I am tall, I weigh more than others, It makes me feel fat too, because I couldn't jump on a trampoline with a friend because the max weight is 300 lbs.! I’m 130! Can you help me?”
- “I have a "beauty mark" (as my parents call it) on my right cheek, and some people say I look beautiful, but I'm starting to doubt it's true. I know that it's what counts on the inside, not the outside, but sometimes people who are too judgmental make fun of me and call me "moley" or "mole face" and it really hurts my feelings. Sometimes I even come home crying. In 6th grade, even a 5th grader made fun of me! How do I just brush it off?”
- “I hate wearing shorts and tanks because I'm hairy all over and my mom and dad won't let me shave. I am 13 and everyone else is doing it. I feel very ugly. How should I go about this?”
- “I think my thighs are huge. I'm pretty, have a lot of friends, a boyfriend, and a lot of people like me. I'm a size 4 or 5 in jeans, and I want to be a size 2 again. When I go swimming, I always wear board shorts. I exercise, but only in gym, and I have that twice every day! What can I do to be smaller?”
- “I'm sort of hesitant about wearing makeup. I used to think makeup was totally stupid and fake looking, but now I think that if applied sparingly I could maybe improve my appearance. However, I don't want to overdo it. How much makeup can girls my age wear to school without looking like they're trying to be provocative? Sometimes girls get gossiped about because they wear too much all the time, and they also look a bit silly. Also, people sometimes wear makeup because they're insecure. I'm not insecure, and I don't want people to think that I'm uncomfortable in my shoes. I adamantly dislike eyeliner and mascara, but I sort of like eye shadow and lipstick. Can you give me any advice about how much to wear?”
- “I'm really skinny. I mean REALLY! My parents call me 'ottery', and ifyou've ever seen an otter, than you can probably imagine how skinny I am. But the bad thing is, my friends are larger than I am! I think when I wear tight shirts and jeans it makes them feel fat. I like wearing tight clothes, but I don't want to insult them (as in make them feel fat). What should I do?”
- “I have the biggest nose in the whole world! It's all fat and big! I don't know what to do! See, I used to have a lot of problems. For example, I used to be fat, so to fix it I started doing exercise, I used to be weak and couldn't defend myself, so to fix it I got into karate. I used to be short and I got really tall. Everybody says that I'm pretty and the most perfect girl but now I have problem I can't fix. What should I do? At what age can I get a nose job?”
- “I have been called ‘short’ since first grade. Now I’m in 5th grade, and I look like I'm in kindergarten! My 6-year-old cousin is as tall as me! What do I do?”
- “Okay, I am kind of gothic, and wear the whole black clothes thing and hot pink bracelets. I think it’s killing my chances of being asked out by guys, and that is a drag. I mean, all the people I know are dating and I hate feeling left out. What do I do?”
- “I'm very big-chested for my age. A ‘C’ actually. My friends always give me positive comments about my bust, but I'm not so sure if having them that big is a good thing because I feel I'm not ‘one of them.’ What should I do or how should I feel?”
- “I don't think I'm very pretty. There are all these girls at school who have awesome hair that's curly, or is done really neat, while I have red hair that's extra long and is always in a braid. There are also girls who wear make-up and nail polish, when my parents say I can't, but I don't know why. Pretty much everyone I know has that stuff. Could you help me?”
- “I know this is pretty odd to talk about to a person that you don't really know. I don't have anything on the 2 upper parts, if you know what I mean, and I am always embarrassed! Just today, I tried to look for a bathing suit
in the Juniors department, but none of them fit me. In the little girls section, they are too babyish!!! What should I do?”
- “I have a party coming up and we are going to be swimming, but I don't want to take part in it because I think I'm fat. All my friends are going to be there and I like swimming, but people make fun of my weight. What should
- "I have a sports day coming up, but I really don't want to take part. I think I'm fat because I have stretch marks on my legs. What should I do?"
- "My dad doesn't want me to shave [my legs], but my mom will let me if I'm up to it. What should I do?"
I have the biggest nose in the whole world! It's all fat and big! I don't know what to do! See, I used to have a lot of problems. For example, I used to be fat, so to fix it I started doing exercise, I used to be weak and couldn't defend myself, so to fix it I got into karate. I used to be short and I got really tall. Everybody says that I'm pretty and the most perfect girl but now I have problem I can't fix. What should I do? At what age can I get a nose job?
It sounds like you're a really proactive person, always fixing the things you don't like about yourself, and that's a great trait, but when it comes to things like your nose, you have to stop and REALLY think about what
you're doing. It sounds to me that you're looking for things that are wrong
with your body, and that's a dangerous trap to fall into. Also, I'd like to
point out that a nose shouldn't make you feel bad about yourself at all, and
the more you stress over something you "can't fix," the more self-conscious you'll be...and it will show. A nose doesn't reflect who you are, and if people are telling you that you're beautiful, then maybe you should listen. In terms of getting a nose job -- I think you need to talk to a parent and your doctor about that. It's an option, of course, but I don't think it's
--Stormie, IML Mentor
I am very impressed with your discipline, ambition, and will power. Once,
when I was feeling down about having trouble at college, my dad reminded me that some things were not in my control, and I should only be upset about the things I CAN change but choose not to. I think that's important for you to remember, too. I could be almost positive that someone in the world has a bigger nose than you, but in reality it doesn't matter. You are who you are because that is who you want to be, I think you've proved that already. Focus on the things you can improve, focus on being the type of young woman you want to be. A really cool book to read is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey. Remember success in life is a journey, not an ending!
--Vanessa, IML Mentor
I have been called ‘short’ since first grade. Now I’m in 5th grade, and I look like I'm in kindergarten! My 6-year-old cousin is as tall as me! What do I do?
I was always teased as a child for the exact opposite reason, I was too tall! It was painful, but what I've learned is that there's no such thing as the right height. There's no standard for how people should look. You're supposed to look just like you, and you have to learn to love yourself for who you are. When you have confidence in yourself, it matters a lot less what other kids think of you, even though teasing can still be painful. Next time you're teased, stand up for yourself. You're beautiful just the way you are, no matter what anyone says.
--Elizabeth, IML Mentor
My cousin is going to be 22 in December, and she’s 4’ 9”. She found high school to be rough because kids would tease her. She thought that nobody liked her and she couldn’t make friends, so she decided to concentrate on what she liked to do instead of concentrating on her looks. She wanted to be a pediatrician so she joined the Health Professionals club at her school. Today, she’s finishing her pre-med at a local university and plans to transfer into medical school next spring. My cousin is as tall as a fifth grader, but her height will probably work to her advantage because her dream is to be a children’s doctor! Jasmine, you’re 10 years old and you probably have a lot of growing ahead of you. But even if you don’t grow as much you hope, my advice to you is this: don’t focus on what others think or say about you because that will make you feel bad about yourself. Focus, instead, on things you like do to. Focus on friends and family who love you for the kind of person you are. Focus on what you like about yourself. When someone calls you a mean name, just remind yourself that it’s what’s in your heart, not your height, that counts.
--Vanessa, IML Mentor
I am short, too! People have teased me many times for it as well! You just have to take it with a grain of salt. Think about it: they're just teasing you because they are insecure, and maybe because you are showing that it gets to you. If you stride into school confident, believing you are beautiful no matter what your height, people will catch on. Be loud, be crazy, be anything but self-conscious. Sound hard? It's a lot easier than you think. The most important thing to do is never base your life on other people. If they are going to call you short, you keep on being confident. You keep telling yourself how cute you are, how special you are. You will be a heck of a lot better off being a confident short person than a shy, self-conscious kid. You can do it! Once you stop caring, and realize you can have fun even if people are being mean, you’ll probably find that people stop teasing you. Good luck!
--Samantha, IML Mentor
Okay, I am kind of gothic, and wear the whole black clothes thing and hot pink bracelets. I think it’s killing my chances of being asked out by guys, and that is a drag. I mean, all the people I know are dating and I hate feeling left out. What do I do?
My little sister had this thing a couple of years ago where all she wanted to do was wear black. To make a long story short, Mari was feeling left out at school. She said that her friends were teasing her and not including her in their conversations and stuff. She slowly realized that black wasn’t really her, and that she was just trying it to get attention. I think our outside has to be in sync with our inside, so I”ll ask you this: What kind of person are you? What would your soul cry out? Is that being reflected in what you wear? Guys are only worth going out with if they like you for you. With that said, if your gothic scene is a mirror image of you personality, then wear it loud and proud! Guys either like it or don’t, but the ones that do will come around. If you feel that maybe the gothic thing isn’t the message you want to send out, make a list of how you want to be perceived by others. Then re-evaluate your wardrobe, and go shopping. Don’t be embarrassed if it’s a flip-the-switch change. That’s a good thing, because it will make others look twice. Good luck! And have fun!
--Vanessa, IML Mentor
It’s hard to keep in mind, but my biggest advice to you is to remember: the point of dating isn't just “having someone”; it's having someone who cares and appreciates you for everything you are. Nobody likes feeling left out, but don't look at it like that. Instead, look at the situation as you holding out for someone who will really respect you. Until those guys do come around to seeing what a wonderful individual you are, you should spend some time growing and developing as an individual and learning to be strong by yourself. Guys will come and go in your life; what's important is knowing how to still be confident while “single.” In time, the right guy will find you.
--Rachel, IML Mentor
You shouldn't worry about what guys think, you should worry about what YOU think. If you're happy being goth, than be goth. Be yourself, and the guys will come. You don't want to be with someone who can't accept you who for you are. Always be true to yourself and surround yourself with people who accept you for you. That's the only way you can be happy or ever find a guy who truly likes you.
--Elizabeth, IML Mentor
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