Tween Girls Ask The Internet If They’re Pretty or Ugly
“Am I Pretty or Ugly” is a social media phenomenon where tween girls post YouTube videos of themselves and ask viewers to tell them if they’re pretty or ugly. All of the videos have more or less the same “script;” the girls will say that some people tell them they’re pretty, and some people tell them they’re ugly, but they just want to know “the truth.” They then request that people leave a comment with their opinion on whether or not they’re attractive.
A global study conducted for Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign revealed that 90 percent of 15-to 17-year-old girls are dissatisfied with their physical appearance. 13 percent of them admit to having an eating disorder and nearly a quarter of them would consider plastic surgery.
So the fact that adolescent girls don’t like their bodies and they’re straight up asking the Internet whether or not they’re attractive is unfortunate — but not shocking.
In 1997, adolescent girls identified the mass media as their primary source for health and body image information — and that was before the Internet really took off.
Now in 2013, social media is becoming the preferred source of body image information for young girls, and they’re trusting Internet users to give them “the truth” about their appearance. This so-called “truth” is hurting them — with 68 percent of girls saying they’ve had negative experiences on social networking sites and 53 percent of them becoming unhappy with their bodies by age 13.
Tumblr blogs like “Fuck Yeah Thigh Gap” and “Bikini Bridge” urge women to look bony and frighteningly thin in order to be hot. And we can’t forget Thinspiration — where girls encourage each other to be anorexic or bulimic for the sake of “attractiveness.”
FJP: The ironic thing about girls turning to social media to determine whether or not they’re attractive is that most adolescent girls present false images of themselves on the Internet.
Seventy-four percent of girls agree that most girls their age use social media sites to make themselves look “cooler” than they are in real life, and forty-one percent of them admit that this describes them, according to a 2010 study by Girl Scouts.
If you take away the Instagram filters, Photoshop, creative camera angles, and the sweet Tumblr layouts, what do you have left? Normal tween girls with zits and cellulite, most likely.
If these girls are looking at Photoshopped images of one another all day long, their ideas of what’s physically achievable is going to be tragically skewed. Actresses and models still seem larger than life to a lot of young girls. But when tweens see their own friends looking impossibly good in their photos, the pressure to be pretty is far more intense. The “Am I Pretty or Ugly” YouTube videos are a clear indicator that the body image pressure levels for tween girls are officially in the danger zone. — Krissy