A smile is easy to conjure 

It’s like a Halloween mask 

Hiding in the shadows 

Creeps a girl with one task 

She’s scared of what lurks 

Behind her walls of black 

But over time she notices 

She’s fallen through the cracks

Her mirror stands still 

While she stands quivering 

She’s plucking and pulling and ripping and hitting

She covers her face and hides her shame

Afraid to see a girl wrapped up in her own pain 

Down, down, down the rabbit hole she goes 

Falling, falling, falling into woes 

Compare, compare, who will I be?

When no one is watching, who will I see?

Will there be a creature waiting for me?

Or someone to help and give me a key? 

But what if there was a place where we were at peace?

We wouldn’t have to worry about ourselves, at least 

A place where perfection didn’t have to exist 

The aching thoughts wander, where is eternal bliss?

Maybe one day we’ll get there, for now I don’t know

How one girl can smile and I can follow. 


A slim waist. Perfect makeup. Trendy clothes. These are all beauty standards teen girls around the world mold themselves to fit. “Why?” you may ask.

As humans, we strive for perfection, which is actually an ideal created for us by society to actually hold us back. And teens whose brains are still in the process of forming and growing are very susceptible to believing they must change themselves in order to fit in. 

The media may influence extremely dangerous eating disorders and body dysmorphia in teenagers because of the harmful beauty standards it glorifies. Toxic trends on apps like TikTok, such as one where girls use a filter to determine if their face is proportional or not, have convinced many young users that they are not “attractive” enough and have substantially lowered their self-esteem and confidence. Social media’s obsession with perfection promotes a very unhealthy environment for young girls who see unachievable beauty standards and compare their bodies to it. I wrote this poem to embody one girl’s fear of not being “perfect.”


-Daniella, California

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