Recent reporting has determined that Instagram is a negative influence on teenage girls. I am remembering my own tempestuous teenage years. I hated high school but am now a loyal member of my high school's Facebook group. Would I be if my life had not turned out pretty OK?
A few things got me through those years: an escape plan that would take me from Cleveland to New York City as soon as possible, an ability to lose myself in books, movies, art and fashion magazines, and a column in one of them, Glamour's "On Becoming 18".
Eighteen seemed a reasonable age to aim for. Although several years shy when I started reading, I filed away all the advice (dispensed in a light-hearted way but good nonetheless) for future use. I remember in particular a suggestion for what to say when something terribly embarrassing happens. The example given was you are standing too close to a cozy fire at a ski lodge when your girdle starts melting. The clever thing would be, "I just haven't been feeling like myself lately". I doubt anyone would say that anymore, anywhere.
"On Becoming 18" was still being published by the time I got to Glamour at 23. I know because I designed a header for the column featuring an old line cut of a rose. I was no longer reading it.
There is a point here besides a ramble down memory lane. I wouldn't be a teenager again for all the Diet Coke in Atlanta. I wouldn't be a teenager today for anything. The pressures are tremendous. The saving grace may be they are at least acknowledged. I do feel, however, that if it isn't Instagram or Facebook or young celebrity starlets, it would still be Something.
Teenage girls have always wanted to find out who they are. You just can't do that until you have actually lived some, made a few mistakes, had a couple successes, and been able to acknowledge that discovering one's true self is the journey of a lifetime.
I'm able to see another component in this. It takes much trial and error to find your true fashion self. You won't always get it right. Your compass may need to be reset from time to time. Hopefully you will have the courage to never sport a look or a piece of clothing that you are not comfortable wearing. This comes with the years, and isn't it a relief to know you won't ever be wearing a girdle at a ski lodge?