It's Spring Break in America, and you know what that means... Millions of college students are getting wasted. And, more often than not, this is the time that young women go from concentrating on history or communications to studying Sex Appeal 101. LA Times columnist Megham Daum went to Cancun a few years ago, to research an article; she writes: "The raunchy contests and general debauchery were something that these women had prepared for, almost as though for a final exam. They'd logged hours at the gym, in tanning booths and at body wax salons. They'd save up money for breast implants and then timed the surgery so they'd be healed by spring break." The interesting thing is that the women claimed to be doing it for their self-esteem.
"One word I heard again and again, oddly, was 'confidence,'" writes Daum."'If I can be considered hot here, I'll be hot anywhere,' a rather morose woman sitting on a bar stool in a bikini and high heels told me. 'I'm here to get confident.'"
As they psyched themselves up for wet T-shirt contests or debated whether a given guy was worth flirting with, a lot of women told me that they saw spring break as the proving ground for their attractiveness.
Here's where things get tricky. Is a woman who participates in the drunken hook-ups, wet T-shirt contests, body shots and other Spring Break events just celebrating being young, free and proud of her body? Or is she tragically falling victim to the age-old standard, that of a woman's worth being directly tied to her appearance?
Confidence has become an easy catchall-excuse for everything from dyeing hair blonde to nose jobs and breast implants. We're living in a world with so much pop psychology and issues related to self esteem that it's almost as if, as long as you feel better, whatever you're doing to get there is okay! But what of confidence gained through intelligence, talent, skill or bravery? Isn't there intense pride in working with what you've got (small nose, obesity gene, flat chest, mousy brown hair)?