“I just wanted to make a random video seeing if I was ugly or not because a lot of people call me ugly, and I think I am ugly…uh, because I think I’m ugly and fat. All my friends that are girls, they’re just like, ‘Oh, you’re so beautiful, oh you’re so beautiful, I wish I was like you,’ and I’m like ‘Shut up! Because I’m not.’” –sgal901 (YouTube user)
It is a sad truth that many men and women need the validation of others to feel handsome or beautiful. While it is natural for any human to want to feel attractive to others, compliments should enhance, and not define, our self-esteem. However, in recent months, a growing number of men and women have turned to one of the most visited websites on the internet to find this validation.
YouTube has become one of the most popular social media sites ever created. Millions of users tune in every day, and anyone with a camera, a message, and a username is able to post a video. This outlet provides women and men with low self-esteem with the opportunity to ask millions of viewers a very simple question: “Am I ugly?”
A simple YouTube search of these three words generates over 36,300 hits! A quick scan over the results shows that men and women of all ages and ethnicities are using this social tool. A young girl donning a cute koala hat, an artsy woman with a fantastically unique haircut, and a sleepy (yet animated!) gentleman all want to hear what the public has to say. While it is sad that these individuals cannot see how their individuality makes them beautiful, it is even more shocking to read some comments that take the videos seriously! “Bas [sic] genes”. “I’M UGLY TOO SO WHAT! JOIN THE CLUB”. “One thumb up only.” While the majority of comments positively encourage these men and women to feel confident and beautiful (and to delete their videos), a single negative comment does more damage than all of the good combined.
It is so important during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week that we encourage people to find beauty within themselves. While the media will try to train us to dislike our appearance, we must counteract this negativity with a tough outer shell. We will always want to feel attractive to others; that need is arguably a part of being human. However, we must be able to sleep soundly knowing that our mind, our personality, and our confidence speak louder than our appearance. I challenge you today to spend more time doing something good for yourself (riding your bike, laying in the sunshine, reading a good book, etc.) than putting yourself down. If you fill up your day doing good things, you simply won’t have time to stop and ask, “Am I ugly?”
By: Lauren Janson