“Am I Ugly?” Disturbing New Trend on Youtube
Young girls aged nine to fourteen are participating willingly in a very disturbing new trend. Over 500,000 “Am I Ugly?” videos have been posted in which girls ask the anonymous and often cruel Internet world whether or not they are pretty.Girls are posting these videos saying things such as, “I have a question. People tell me this all the time, so I dunno. Is it true? People say I’m ugly. So tell me, am I?”
“Hey guys,” says the young girl in heavy eye makeup. She fidgets and tosses her hair. “I have an important question for you guys, ’cause I hear a lot, from, like, my friends and boys, that I’m really pretty. Or they say I’m really ugly. And I just want to know the truth.”
“I just wanted to ask the world,” explains another one, picking up the thread. “Am I pretty?” Her face lights up for a moment as she shrugs shyly. “Or ugly?” She pouts and looks down.
“I’m going to show you pictures of myself from random times,” says a tween with a topknot and iridescent eye shadow. “You can feel free to, like, leave some comments in the comment section below.”
“The answer is NOT ‘attention whore’,” insists a fourth DIY videographer.
“Please say nice things,” implores a fifth. “Even if you say I’m ugly, just be like, ‘you’re ugly.’ Don’t be like, ‘EW UGLY’ or something like that.” She grins, raises two fingers in a peace sign. “Thank you SO MUCH, bye.”
The girls who are compelled to post the videos are often encouraged to hurt themselves or are further nitpicked regarding their physical appearance.
This fixation on physical beauty is nothing new, but this phenomenon is and no one is sure how it started nor who to place blame upon if blame can even be placed.
It would appear that these girls are setting themselves up to be put down. Why are parents not monitoring their activity and allowing them to post these videos? Why are people on the Internet so apt to be needlessly mean to children? There are a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.
Critics have called the pretty or ugly videos disturbing, and more recently it has caught the attention of British artist Louise Orwin, whose recent project, Pretty Ugly, addresses how these videos represent a distressing self-consciousness about body image among teen girls.
“I was horrified by it,” Orwin told Ars Technica of her reaction the first time she watched a “pretty or ugly” video.
As the videos receive more attention, some of the comment boards have shifted in tone from bashing to concern.
“Beauty is only skin deep. All you’re going to accomplish from posting this is getting comments from nasty people or perverted older men. Don’t exploit yourself on the internet, that will only lead to trouble,” one says.
Original Story Below
In a concerning trend, many young girls are posting videos of themselves on YouTube under the heading: “Am I pretty or ugly?”
Mostly teens and preteens, the girls may be going to the worst source ever for validation. The internet is famous for its “trolls”, a term for people that post cruel and disparaging comments about other internet users; and often do so anonymously. These “trolls” don’t care that the targets of their sadistic replies are young girls. Or, that some of these young women may be very insecure to begin with.
Currently there are 559,000 results on YouTube for the search term “Am I pretty or ugly?” Replies to these videos range from kind and caring; to cruel and creepy. Some of the comments posted were sexually explicit.
Emilie Zaslow, a media-studies professor at Pace University in New York City, told the Associated Press: “These videos could be read as a new form of self-mutilation in line with cutting and eating disorders,”.
Reportedly, some of the girls are as young as nine. YouTube’s policy is that you must be at least 13 years old to upload a video to the site. However, this is probably an impossible policy to enforce.
One The Web:
Time Health and Family: (http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/07/am-i-pretty-or-ugly-whats-behind-the-trend-of-girls-asking-youtube-for-validation/)
Family Matters by Bonnie Rochman: “Am I Pretty or Ugly? Why Teen Girls Are Asking YouTube for Validation”
Uloop news: (http://umd.uloop.com/news/view.php/102812/girls-ask-internet-for-approval-in-disturbing-new-trend)
Girls ask Internet for approval in disturbing new trend by Mel DeCandia