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Graphic design student seeks to redefine beauty

Senior Megan Vernon thinks the world’s definition of beauty is too superficial.

For her senior honors project, Vernon is working to destroy the unrealistic standards many girls try to live up to and show girls they’re beautiful no matter what.

Vernon, a graphic design major and psychology minor from Plain City, Ohio, is creating a body image campaign for middle school girls. She is combining her talents as an artist with her studies of the mind to reach her target audience.

Vernon says almost every girl struggles with body image at some point in her life. Having fought the battle herself, she now wants to help girls everywhere — including her younger sisters — feel good about themselves and recognize their true beauty.

The problem, Vernon says, is that our world has forced girls into a mindset that defines “pretty” in a very narrow way. Vernon believes too many aspects of our daily lives — things like social media, movies, advertisements and peer pressure — manipulate our perception of beauty.

As a result, Vernon says, many females don’t believe they live up to the definition of beautiful. They then tend to be critical of themselves and constantly worried about their body image.

Vernon says she wants to reshape that beauty standard. "When [girls] focus on the small details, they are losing the big picture,” she said. “People are beautiful, and we don’t need to focus on these standards that are forced on us.”

To achieve this goal Vernon envisions a community where girls can rely on each other for support and reassurance. The purpose is to let girls know they are not alone.

She has embodied this idea in her poster campaign depicting images of women with distorted faces. Vernon uses these images to convey her message.

“When we focus too closely on all the things wrong with us, we get lost in the details and fail to recognize the beauty we hold,” Vernon said. “When we have so many other people and sources influencing us, our concept of beauty becomes fragmented and we no longer see the true picture.”

While researching for her campaign, Vernon has learned a lot about the way girls view themselves. “I’ve learned the way we view ourselves and the way society views us is very manipulative, and affects how we live,” Vernon said.

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