Young girls, many seemingly between the ages of eight and fourteen, are posting videos of themselves on YouTube asking viewers, “Am I pretty or ugly?” looking for comments with honest opinions.
Watching these have broken my heart. The fact that young girls feel the need to seek a stranger’s validation of their physical appearance is frightening. Many girls admit in their videos that other kids call them ugly or other names at school. Responses in the comments sections range from encouraging, to vicious, to downright perverted. Not to mention the YouTube trolls that only exist to spew hate, who are basically cyberbullying these children. Users hiding behind their computers are actually responding with comments like, “Yes, you’re ugly,” and even go as far as, “HIDEOUS.”
The way I see it, seeking validation of their physical appearance is the effect of the glorified homogenous beauty “ideal”. Girls are simply searching for where they fit in compared to the single image of what media advertises as beautiful.
One celebrity wants to make sure her daughter doesn’t go through this inner struggle. Singer and new mom Jessica Simpson recently posted a guest blog on Parents.com about her revelation that, as much as any mom can try, you can’t protect your child from everything- especially those hardships and extra pressures doled out to girls. She wants to teach her 3-month-old daughter, Maxwell, to love and value herself beyond society’s standards.
“Those things don’t determine who we are and instead make us feel terrible about ourselves. I want to teach her to value herself, listen to herself and tune out the world. I want her to know her value, rather than spending her energy fighting negative voices from within. I want to teach her to figure out what is truly right for her rather than worrying about what anyone else thinks.” -Jessica Simpson
I see these videos as cries for help, and I really hope that something positive can come out of this unfortunate trend. I would like to see an outreach to young girls about positive self image and media literacy. I see great value in teaching them that the images they see in media are edited, strategically staged, and do not represent overall beauty. Also, and although I’ll be the first to admit that playing with makeup is about the funnest thing around, physical appearance is not what makes someone truly beautiful.
beau·ty1. the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
If you could tell a young girl one thing about what truly makes them beautiful, what would it be?