The Glenview facade


Olivia Perkins, Opinions Editor

The North Shore. Home to picturesque landscapes, affluent communities, and a culture that emphasizes exclusivity and luxury, is a breeding ground for the perpetuation of self-obsessed behavior. 

Glenview, characterized by a strive for luxuriousness and status, has exacerbated already prevalent societal pressures to conform to a crafted idealized image: “perfection”. 

Growing up, I noticed pressure to assimilate into the cookie-cutter culture. Subtle, yet still present, there were pressures to dress a certain way, hang out with the “right” crowd, and ultimately demonstrate your ability to fit in with the high life. 

There is an obsession with perception. 

As I got older, I noticed that everything always felt very orchestrated. The events I attended, the people I became closer with, and the way I portrayed myself felt arranged in a way that was artificial. 

A facade. 

The pressures in Glenview to maintain this crafted image and demonstrate you have achieved said status through material possessions, magazine-inspired homes, and designer clothing is overwhelming. Glenview has curated a culture in which the desire to fit in and be accepted into this lifestyle drives individuals to constantly seek validation through their possessions and outward appearance. 

My once careless mindset spiraled into a hyper-fixation with my appearance, and the fear of judgment or exclusion based on the way I presented myself led to a constant preoccupation with my image. 

The influence of social media in Glenview has amplified the obsession with the way we are perceived. Since the fifth grade, I have had an Instagram account. Like many of my peers, I indulge in the culture of social media, using platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. However, I have grown to realize the world I live and experience in person is what I am consuming on social media, only more embellished. 

Whether it be a perfectly curated post, filtered photos, or seemingly flawless looks, there’s a disingenuous vibe I pick up from the media I consume. I am constantly exposed to idealized imagery of the people I live around, which has created a culture in which I compare myself to people who I may not even speak to in person. This has led to a widespread, toxic cycle of seeking external validation from the community through likes, comments, and followers. 

This culture that we as a society have perpetuated through social media and our own desire to assimilate is able to strip us of our genuine, individual identity and has made it possible for a crowd of almost 50,000 followers to value upholding a fake persona more than their true self. 

The consequences of this culture that has an obsession with the way we are perceived has had a severe impact on my self-esteem. When I was younger, the already grueling concept of having to “find myself” became more difficult as the pressure to conform to societal beauty standards contributed to a lack of self-acceptance. I felt this pressure plague the people I surrounded myself with. Conversations with phrases like “I need to lose weight”, “Is my dress too short”, and “I hope they do not hate me” filled our vocabulary before we could know anything else. 

Freeing myself from the obsession with physical appearance in Glenview required a shift in mindset I only recently adapted. I first had to recognize three things: 

1. Beauty comes in all shapes

2. External appearance should not define your worth in a community

3. Your inner qualities should be expressed, and not oppressed. 

Once I became comfortable with these concepts by expressing who I really am, without caring what the response from my community may be, I felt incredibly comfortable with myself. Of course, this journey did not happen overnight. I grew with it and took small steps to achieve my big goal of being able to say “screw you” to the pressures of perfection in my community and was fortunately able to find others who do the same to surround myself with. I have realized inner qualities such as intelligence and kindness are more valuable than the way your hair falls on a given day. 

Limiting my exposure to unrealistic portrayals of lifestyles on social media and embracing diversity in beauty has also been beneficial. Being able to separate your true self from your curated self online is a crucial step towards self-acceptance and self-compassion. 

Lastly, realizing we have the ability to create a community in which these pressures are not so pervasive if we accept that we cannot all be perceived as “perfect’ in all aspects of our lives. In fact, acknowledging that it is far more pleasurable to be loved for your true self rather than a facade can create an environment in which the exhausting personas we uphold can be let go of and the focus can be redirected towards establishing genuine relationships with one another based on our genuine lifestyles. 

Life is more enjoyable when you are not performing or maintaining a curated character but rather committing yourself to seeking out your true self.