What’s sadder than little girls posting videos to the internet, asking unknown peers if they are hot or ugly? How about when the comments fill up with cruel remarks like this one from YouTuber TheCTEnterprises posted three days ago: “Ugly. Sorry. But Ugly. Kill yourself. Goodbye.” But you know what might be the worst thing of all? The cold, dismal vacuum of no comments at all.
A major trend last year, these “pretty or ugly” videos have resurfaced with a bang as a whole new crop of YouTube youth reach that pivotal age of self perception and social awareness. Only now, there are far too many of them to possibly generate answers. Hundreds (if not thousands) of young girls in their early teens and late tweens (Jesus, am I really writing about tweens twice in one day? FML) have notched their place online with less-than-a-minute videos asking the anonymous spectre of online culture to judge their appearance. Seriously, dialing up “am I pretty or not” on YouTube is like a scene out of “The Birds 2.0” as the faces of anxious youngsters all stare back at me, hoping for some validation one way or the other. And most of them have no comments at all, only a handful of views that don’t answer the only question asked and the metaphorical dial tone of a dead phone line reverberating against the nothingness. Actually, dial tones probably aren’t “a thing” anymore, are they?
Curiously, YouTuber Babey Nguyen has taken to cultivating these videos, collecting them and reposting them with a message of hope attached:
“You are all wonderful on the inside that is all that matters. Do not let these trolls troll you around by making rude comments when you ask these questions because there will be many haters who hate and get pleasure out of these videos by leaving a comment that is rude , disturbing, mean, angry, hateful and wrong in order to get a reaction out of you.”
Then again, some of them have apparently been set up for monetization. That’s odd. I reached out to Nguyen for comment about her motivations; I’ll let you know if she hits me back.
Is reposting them helpful though? Is spreading the insecurity of youth, albeit with reaffirmations that we are all pretty princesses inside and out, doing anything but putting out a beacon to something worse than the trolls?
Take YouTuber William Chamade’s comment of “msg me.. I’ll tell ya..” on one young girl’s post. William seems like a fine lad, a fellow youth with a wholesome all-American kid screenshot of himself on a webcam for his profile pic. Oddly though, William doesn’t seem to have any YouTube activity … and the link to his Facebook page doesn’t work. Now maybe I’m just a simple, small town sheriff (Jeff hooks his thumbs into his belt) but what sort of young’un doesn’t have a social media presence other than a pic of a young boy and the urging for a young girl to message him?
Hmm, maybe there is something worse than not being told if you are pretty or ugly …