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Am I Ugly? Girls Ask YouTube

"Am I ugly?" young girl asks You Tube

“Am I ugly?” young girl asks You Tube

A girl, age twelve or thirteen, posts a video on YouTube, asking:

I just wanted to make a random video seeing if I was like, ugly or not? Because a lot of people call me ugly and I think I am ugly … and fat. People say I’m ugly. So … tell me — am I?

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Slut-Shamed? It Gets Better

slut-shamingAt age eleven Emily Lindin was declared a slut and “harassed incessantly at school, after school, and online,” she says.

A diary entry:

Aaron said he had heard that Zach “ate me out.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I said it wasn’t true, just to be on the safe side.

Fifteen years later she recalls:

I have a very painful memory of watching an instant message window pop up from an account called DieEmilyLindin and reading the message: “Why haven’t you killed yourself yet, you stupid slut?”

Now, at age 27 she is publishing her diary (with names disguised) on a Tumblr she calls the UnSlut Project, hoping to serve as an ‘It Gets Better’ project for girls who’ve been slut-shamed.

I’ve been thinking about this amidst an onslaught of tragedies like these:

  • Fifteen-year-old Felicia Garcia of Stanton Island had sex with four football players, which was recorded and shared around her school. Two players began tormenting her and others joined in. Felicia jumped in front of a Staten Island train.
  • Four boys assaulted seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons of Nova Scotia, labeled her a “slut” and shared a photo online. Then, the whole school started harassing her. Rehtaeh hung herself.
  • Fourteen-year-old Samantha Kelly also hung herself, unable to withstand the taunting and harassment that followed a police report of her rape.

I’ve often wished that an “It Gets Better” project could help girls like them make it through and go on to live fulfilling lives.

Others’ opinions can have a big impact on how we see ourselves. Our personal identities can seem merely “subjective,” but when many others agree that we are “X” — for good or for ill — it can seem “objective.”

Still, each of us has more knowledge about ourselves than anyone else. And we can consider the motives behind the labeling. Kids who bully are trying to raise themselves up by putting others down. If they really thought they were so great, they wouldn’t have to make so much effort.

Luckily, it does get better because people grow up, mature and become more secure.

And, the ex-bullied may become stronger, more empathetic and deepened.

In the meantime, maybe Emily’s blog will help others to know that they’ve got support…  and that it gets better.

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Am I Ugly? Girls Ask YouTube

A girl, age twelve or thirteen, posts a video on YouTube, asking:

I just wanted to make a random video seeing if I was like, ugly or not? Because a lot of people call me ugly and I think I am ugly … and fat. People say I’m ugly. So … tell me — am I?

The video was posted in December and has gotten over 3.4 million views and 92,000 comments. Many “tweens” (ages 11-13) have followed suit.

The girls repeatedly challenge the viewer to, “Go ahead, judge me, I don’t care what you think.” Of course, they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble if they didn’t care.

Why do they care? Because how others see us shapes how we see ourselves. Our solitary “subjective” notions about who we are morph into “objective” fact when others agree that, “That’s who you are.” And so we trumpet our successes and squelch nasty rumors because both are made more real by others’ seeing. Doesn’t have to be this way, but often is.

Come early adolescence, girls begin to grapple with who they are – looks becoming a primary source of identity, worth and status. Unfortunately, many of the “Am I Ugly?” girls seem depressed and lacking self-esteem.

Some YouTube commenters declare the girls “beautiful.” A few offer advice: “Get bangs.” Others tell them to get off the internet and do their homework.

But YouTube is not the place to gain affirmation. Too many insecure cowards anonymously hurl insults: “My vote: UGLIER THAN A DEMON” or “F*ck off whore wannabe” or “Just the fact that u did this video makes u ugly. But u were ugly already.” Twelve-year-olds aren’t mature enough to deal with misogynistic trolls who put them down in hopes of lifting their own sorry selves.

But the whole focus on looks faces the matter wrongly. As one commenter put it, “You’re not ugly, society is.”

Another summed it up nicely:

We place too much value on the way we look and too little on who we are. I could be the least attractive person on earth but I’m a good person and I have a good heart and I think that those things matter a million times more than being pretty or ugly. While I know that I’m not Ugly, I still believe that I have more to offer the world than just how I look. I wish that this was the message that young girls were getting. They need better role models, they need people to reinforce how smart they are and how talented they are vs. how pretty they look.

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