Young Girls Ask: Am I Pretty or Ugly?

    am i pretty or ugly

    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.”

    Posting these videos isn’t something that we should hold against the girls themselves. “Our culture is really toxic to young girls… Girls from a very early age get the message that how they look is one of the most valuable things about them,” explains Rebecca Hains, Media Studies Professor at Salem State University in a recent HuffPost Live video.

    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

    jessicatweet

    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·ty

    1. 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).

    (Source)

    If you could tell a young girl one thing about what truly makes them beautiful, what would it be?

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    32 COMMENTS

    1. Once, I saw a video that showed how much effort goes into making up girls for billboard ads. They took hours doing her hair and makeup, and then they edit it in photoshop. I just really want some of these girls to watch that video…

    2. wow, this is very concerning. I know i went through a stage where i just wanted someone to tell me truthfully whether i was a pretty or ugly person. I think sometimes i still have those moments because as much as we know beauty is in the eye of the beholder we can also lose faith in how we see ourselves. I hope these girls get past this life stage quickly and smoothly.

      • Thank you so much for making this video, it’s spectacular, and I’m going to be sharing it! Things like this have bothered me since I decided to open my eyes and really scrutinize the society we live in during my last year of high school. As a beauty blog, I really want to start doing more posts about REAL beauty along side the typical new makeup product posts. Because this perception is only going to change if we incorporate diversity into everything we classify as beauty.

    3. This is so sad. I feel like some of these girls are just seeking attention, which is also sad. They are too young to be so insecure.

    4. Ugh, this makes me feel really sad. I think young girls (and boys too) feel comfortable posting videos like this because it feels anonymous, but of course it isn’t. If I had a child I would tell them that there are many different kinds of beautiful (not just one ideal to aspire to), and just try to give them positive reinforcement. Oh, and warn them that if they ever post anything personal on the internet there are going to be people who are jerks just for the sake of being jerks. 😛

      • In today’s tech world it’s so easy to go online and run rampant with insults thinking there’s no consequence. The people responding to these videos don’t understand that these are REAL girls with REAL feelings and their actions have REAL detrimental effects.

    5. This is so incredibly distressing. Where are these little girls’ mothers/guardians? Why aren’t they teaching their beautiful creatures how glorious they are so that they aren’t making videos and begging for validation from creeping crud on YouTube? Why are we as a society making our children so insecure in themselves that they are tying themselves up in knots from such an early age over their looks?

    6. So awful and heartbreaking. I’m so grateful to have had a wonderful support system. It seems as time goes on the bullying and name calling just gets worse and worse and it makes me so worried for my son 🙁

    7. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I had acne in high school and I would cry in silence because my friends were flawless. But it was an awkward phase everybody goes thru. It’s so passé but beauty is more than a having a pretty face and sexy body.

    8. I thought my generation had it rough but looking back I am so thankful I grew up before anyone had the Internet or a computer at home (aka the stone ages). It makes you want to reach into the computer and give all of these precious young women a big old hug. Yes, makeup is fun, but let’s start cultivating that true, inner beauty!

    9. I went to look at the channel of the girl in the first video, and she posted this comment on the video of another young girl asking if she was pretty or ugly: “Your so ugly put a trash bag over your head me and my 12 friends are a my b-day party and they all think your ugly were not mean its the truth”
      So this girl is bullying as well as being bullied. Girls are taught to hate each other and be mean to each other, like they’re in competition instead of on the same side. It’s so sad. 🙁

    10. I had no self esteem growing up because of my mother and it took YEARS of therapy and lots of hard work to end up where I’m at today. I often feel like the media and other women put such awful pressure on us.

    11. Really terrible. I can’t say that I never questioned myself in that manner. Honestly, it wasn’t until I became a mother that I quit wondering about what others thought about me. When your priorities change it can sometimes open your eyes, but lots of people suffer from this lack of confidence forever. I wish there was a way to make those that feel this way realize their worth.

    12. Very sad. I wonder how we became an over-plastic society. There were fewer insecurities when we were in school, and even fewer when our parents were in school, and we were more worried about grades than looks. But worst of all are the losers who come and call these pretty kids ugly for no reason but malice.

      • I can definitely relate because I was bullied from a young girl all the way up until high school for my weight. I was always told “you have a pretty face” but that I’d be “much more attractive if I lost 20+ pounds.” Our society has force-fed such a warped view of what’s beautiful and attractive that there’s no room for variety, and these girls are feeling that!

    13. This is sad. 🙁 I can’t even imagine their parents knowing or allowing them to post videos such as these. As a parent myself, it’s our responsibility to build up our children so they’re not feeling down on themselves, and feel like they have to post videos to validate their beauty etc.

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