Discovery of Self and the Importance of Authentic Expression


Image Courtesy of Daily Mail

Harry Styles on the cover of Vogue Magazine, a shoot that prompted controversy over freedom of expression

Mia Siddons Mata, The Scroll, Staff Writer

Teens often face a common challenge, discovering their true identity. While this is normal, it may be far more extreme and difficult  considering the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the lack of physical and social interaction, more and more time is being spent on social media. Social media now has an even greater influence on us all. It may often lead one to feel as if they must act, dress, or look a certain way which creates an internal conflict. One may feel as if they aren’t able to express themselves because it may not be socially acceptable. 

Students may feel as though they can’t wear certain clothing to school in fear of being judged. Many may feel free of judgment now that school is no longer in person. Angela Gutierrez, a Saugus freshman student puts this idea into perspective: “I felt more comfortable changing my style over quarantine because if you don’t dress a certain way at school, others may look at you differently and consider you to be an outcast.”

Today, these boundaries are being challenged more than ever. New things that were once considered unacceptable or taboo are now being normalized and accepted. An example being men being more “feminine” and moving away from “toxic masculinity”. For instance, Harry Styles recently appeared in Vogue Magazine wearing a dress, prompting controversy. Well-known conservative, Candace Owens, spoke on the topic stating it is important to “bring back manly men”. Truthfully, what others decide to wear should not be a personal concern seeing that what another person wears will not affect you in any way, shape, or form.  

Katelynne Borromeo, a Saugus freshman states, “By people saying that because he’s wearing a dress he is less masculine, is further fortifying the notion clothes have a specific gender. He is just expressing himself, being his authentic self.”

The idea that men should not have a feminine side is extremely closed minded. Styles summed it up perfectly in an interview with Variety magazine, “I think what’s exciting about right now is you can wear what you like. It doesn’t have to be X or Y. Those lines are becoming more and more blurred.”

As these lines blur, an increased number of influencers are becoming more comfortable with expressing themselves despite some negative feedback. As influencers they have a direct impact on the youth who scroll their pages. By expanding what we know to be acceptable, we are evolving our true selves, possibilities, and forms of expression. 

When on your own journey to self discovery, it is crucial to try to ignore the hateful input others give and continue doing whatever it takes to bring yourself happiness. 

Fear of rejection is diminishing as others are bold enough to step into the forefront with progressive fashion, thoughts, and words. We can all learn to apply some of this into our own lives and ensure that the next generation is free to show their true colors without feeling they need to fit a mold. While on the road to self discovery, recognizing and acknowledging those deep hidden feelings reveals a lot about yourself that you may have never been aware of. 

Although positive change is more frequent, the fear of what others think about you may still be regular. Kimberly Batugo is also a Saugus student who mentioned, “It always feels as though I’m supposed to look a certain way to please the public eye, but people need to express themselves for who they really are and society is stopping them from doing so.” These feelings are completely valid and often thought by most people in the world. 

By allowing society to limit the things you wear and do, you are diminishing your own potential. Each and every one of us are diverse and hold so much power to achieve great things, things you may not even be able to imagine now. Use this potential to your advantage, go outside of the box while those who brought you down are left far behind.



The opinions in The Scroll’s editorials are strictly the views of the writers of the staff or outside submissions. The views do not represent or reflect the opinions or policies of Saugus High School or the William S. Hart School District. The Scroll welcomes all reactions and outside submissions to share alternative views.