Girls Ask Internet, “Am I Pretty?”

I am floored by a new trend on YouTube wherein young girls are asking the world to tell them if they are pretty or ugly.

I watched one of these videos this week after reading about this new wave of videos. A young girl asks her audience (which is now up to more than 4 million) whether she is pretty or ugly. She narrates a series of pictures of herself showing her to be a perfectly sweet, young girl.

The comments are anything but sweet, however. They range from calling her horrible names to telling her she doesn’t deserve to live. Others, though, tell the girl she is beautiful that she should take down her videos and talk to her parents.

Yes. Yes. Please little girl: Go talk to your parents instead of 4 million strangers on the Internet.

This breaks my heart. Being a teenage girl is hard enough without having millions of people confirm your worst insecurities about yourself. I don’t know why girls are doing this to themselves. Maybe it’s for attention, maybe it’s to validate themselves or maybe it’s to validate their bad feelings about themselves. To me, it seems like it’s almost like these girls want to hear the hateful comments. Otherwise, why would you post this online?

And why as a parent would you not insist your child remove such videos?

As a mother of two daughters, I hope I never see their beautiful faces on the Internet one day asking strangers “Am I pretty?” I hope by the time they know how to upload to YouTube, they know they are gorgeous inside and out and won’t seek the approval (or disapproval) of millions of anonymous screen names.

How do you build the self-esteem of your daughters? What can parents do to keep their children from using social media to their detriment?

4 comments

  1. John Charity Spring

    This story demonstrates just how far modern society has fallen. Stewart is justified in her condemnation of those who are using the internet in such a degraded fashion.

    Sadly, this young girl lives in a modern society which puts more value on the physical appearance than anything else. Younger and younger girls are being taught that if they do not look like a fashion model, they are worthless. This causes far too many to starve themselves to become rail-thin. When these efforts fail, they often turn to substance abuse and immorality in a misguided effort to gain acceptance.

    This article also points out the twin evil of obsession with physical appearance: incivility. Those who are obsessed with beauty become obsessed with self, and in so doing, become obsessed with attacking others. Since they feel that they are beautiful, they feel justified in attacking others who do not rise to their level.

    We must teach girls to reject the notion that physical beauty is all that matters. They must be taught that true beauty comes from within, and they must reject Facebook, Youtube, and any other internet site that teaches differently.

    • Erin Stewart

      John,

      Good point about the incivility. I do think the obsession with beauty and attacking others go hand in hand.

      I’m not sure rejecting social media like Facebook and Youtube is the answer, though, because it just doesn’t seem reasonable when those sites are everywhere and part of everything for teens. I think the question is how can parents curb the ill effects and misuse of these sites while also allowing their children to use them for their benefits?

  2. Tomo

    As a mother of 5 kids(one daughter),I have learned that good comunication is always important. I have avoided to teach sometihng to them but tried to share our ideas freely. We could talk with our dauthers how they feel about this phenomenon. Why they do that,what could happen as a result and what is the real purpose of asking that question to her 4millions of unknown audiences through these sites.
    Of coure, on the other hand, I want not only sharing our thoughts but my daughter to understand that this action leads to nothing wothy. I also try to do good things everyday of my life so that my daughter thinks of me that her mom is always trying to chose a good ,better or the best thing, and “her idea is deserve a hearing.” That is one of the most important integrant as a parent for me.

  3. Miranda

    John, I always look forward to your comments here, but I do disagree with keeping our children away from social media. It really is a part of the world now. I think it is better that we do the best we can with our children by teaching them confidence, kindness, morals, etc. We can’t hide them from social media because when they are suddenly faced with it, they might not know how to deal with it. There are sites (such as the one mentioned) that I would never let my kids put a picture on or be a part of, but that a part of parenting. I think people rely too much on social media, schools and friends to raise their children. We have to stand for something and in turn teach our children that they must also stand for something so they don’t fall into traps that so many kids fall into.

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