Chloe Alverson ‘17- An alarm sounds at 5:30 each morning before school. She rolls out of bed, eyes crusted at the corners from leftover makeup. After checking her Twitter feed, she slumps over to the closet, tripping over articles of clothing along the way. Looking into the mirror, reality slaps her in the face- she does not like her appearance.

The girl dresses in her comfy PINK leggings, every high school girl’s trademark, and her favorite burgundy top from Pacsun. She laces up her Converse high-tops, preparing to put on the “mask.” The mask concealing her teenage battle wounds and flaws that, as the ringleader of the social circus, she cannot be seen with. The mask, a daily accessory, surprisingly matches every single one of her outfits, from Ugg boots and sweats to flip flops and shorts. The mask covers up simple human imperfections. Imperfections that everyone endures at some point.

Application of the “mask” begins with tinted moisturizer. Then, a layer of foundation and so on. Once her eyeliner is fleeked with a swift flick of her wrist, she is done. Her chosen mask for the day is on. According to Too Much Makeup Too Soon?, by Taylor Griffith, 27% of girls rarely leave the house without their ¨masks¨ on.

A tangled mess of hair must be brushed out, then curled before leaving the house in the morning. The entire process takes nearly an hour and a half. Gazing in the mirror one last time before switching out the light, the girl smirks at her reflection. Satisfaction can only be met after the “mask” has been put on.

When she enters the school building, the girl is met with smiles, stares, and numerous compliments. Her group of friends huddles around her. It’s as if every female student praises her and her looks.

“Your outfit is so cute!”

“Where did you get your top?”

“Your hair looks great today!”

The girl, her ego rising since she first walked through the doors, hasn’t always been this way. It took years for her to learn how to fake confidence and how to have a false sense of pride.

Ever since that annoying blonde boy in her eighth grade math class commented on her nose being “too big” and her eyes being “too squinty,” she’s been conscious of it. The NYC Girl’s Project states that, by middle school, 40-70% of girls are unsatisfied with at least two parts of their body.

Strutting the halls, a hint of fearlessness in her eyes, the girl holds her chin high. She knows her mask makes her invincible. Rocking her attire with her friends at her side, she is above everyone else. Put on a pedestal, if you will. This girl, with the help from her mask, is confident. She owns the trendiest clothes, stays atop the seasonal trends, and parties it up every weekend.

According to heartsofleadership.org, more than 90 percent of girls – 15 to 17 years – want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. Many grow up not comfortable in their own skin, thus the mask.

Underneath the mask, underneath the trendy clothes, underneath the stigma, this girl is insecure. Whether they can admit it or not, most teens care about their appearance more than they should.

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