“You’re Pretty, YouTube Is Ugly”

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this or perhaps engaged yourself on social media as the receiver or commenter, but nowadays young girls are asking strangers to comment on their looks via the Internet. I could not even FATHOM asking people online for validation about my looks.  It’s not even in the same vein of telling a friend or boyfriend that you are fat and secretly hoping that they would immediately respond with a side eye or a “No you aren’t! ARE YOU CRAZY?! You are so skinny!” Going on YouTube to be rated on one’s looks as a teenage work in progress is an extreme way of finding out if you are pretty or ugly, and prettiness and ugliness is subjective anyway.

Why is this happening? Why is this girl in the video above asking people she barely knows and will most likely never meet trolling for compliments? My heart hurts for young people today. The pressure to be beautiful, get good grades, be popular, and stave on bullies is unbelievably large. Can we please begin and continue encouraging kids and young adults to legitimize themselves through sports, art, writing, science, making a mean blueberry pie or a scarf rather than having Garnier-esque luscious locks and the perfect pleated skirt. Look, I’d rather have shiny, healthy hair and a fresh outfit than the alternative and I know how one’s day can feel like it’s ruined after noticing a cluster of big arse zits on my face in the bathroom mirror. But this is where the problem lies- how is our happiness can be determined by our hair, waistlines, or facial features via the thoughts of strangers.

I came across the website of Louise Orwin, an artist-researcher from London who is after my heart with her thought-provoking performances and theatrical works. One of her projects called “Pretty Ugly” looks at the phenomenon of girls on social media asking “Am I pretty or ugly?” and the positive response from this artistic effort is deafening. It can only help to raise awareness about online bullying and teen self-esteem.

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