As a young African-American girl growing up in an impoverished single parent home, society’s definition of beautiful couldn’t have been further from what I saw in the mirror or more out of my reach. According to popular media, beauty is no more than a stick thin figure, and a fair skinned face painted with the latest cosmetics. If you don’t fit this description, then you’re not beautiful. Even if my family could afford it, the most top shelf cosmetics couldn’t replace the confidence I lacked as I struggled to find representations of beauty that looked like me.
Later, I came to battle the consequential scars as I was under the spotlight to be a student leader while working hard to become the first in my family to graduate from college. As I’ve matured, I have grown conscious of the media and its tainted messages, which continue to hurt the self-worth of little girls and women of every aesthetic. We’re constantly held and compared to unrealistic expectations and images. This reality can be especially felt among women of color who are underrepresented in media and underserved in cosmetic products.
As with anything in life, there are victims and victors. It is my goal to help women become the latter. After nearly two years in public relations, I’ve recently decided to take my career further by transitioning to integrated marketing communications (IMC) Studying Communications to battle injurious media messages that affect women.
The journey from working professional to graduate student has been – and still is — a challenging one. While working two jobs to support myself, I had to study long and hard for the GRE while completing exhausting school applications. Recently, I stepped out on faith, resigned from my jobs and returned to my hometown and prepare for the transition back to full-time student status.
Just a few weeks ago, I was blessed to be admitted to Northwestern University, home to one of the top few IMC graduate programs. Though it’s an exciting occasion, getting in was only part of the battle; the cost of attendance is quite daunting, and my financial aid is still uncertain. I remain hopeful.
With a master of science in IMC, I will be equipped to shape public perception across a spectrum of different communication silos (e.g. PR, marketing, etc.) and platforms. My degree will enable me to help cosmetic brands join and change the conversation surrounding America’s standard of beauty.
Although many are aware of this problem, few are contributing to solve it. Informed by my education and experiences as a woman and a member of an ethnic minority group, I plan to be a part of the solution by helping to create a society that acknowledges, respects and celebrates women of all colors, shapes and sizes so that more little girls will look in the mirror and see beauty staring back at them.
We are proud to announce Brit’ney McTush is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.