“am i pretty or ugly?”

The following videos are posted by very young teenage girls looking for validation from strangers online in the face of negative comments about their appearance… There are MANY, MANY videos like this on Youtube – it’s become a strange sort of meme.

The exact motives for making these movies are mixed, but if you read the comments under the videos, you’ll see how mean people can be under the cloak of anonymity – meaner, probably, than the unkindness at school that the girls are hoping to drown out with the “objective” opinions of strangers online, for this is what all the videos have in common.

I don’t think I will ever understand how hurting someone else, even if it is because you yourself are hurting, could help you feel better at all… which I guess is what always made me an easy target for bullies myself. I don’t retaliate because it doesn’t make sense to me to do so. That’s lethal bully-bait when coupled with the conviction to stand up for oneself, to speak back. I hit people teasing me a few times when I was a kid, mainly to get them out of my face. It made me feel sick to do that, and it didn’t help. Mostly I would just try to shout them down.

My mom’s mantra, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” roared uselessly.

It took me years and years to figure out how futile and dangerous it is to try to shout, to speak, to whisper back, to appeal to sense and truth, to reason with cruelty. It doesn’t work, because cruelty isn’t rational. It is senseless. Cruelty is fed by any and every reaction. These girls won’t realise until the damage is already done and they have lost their voices completely. It hurts to watch them exposing themselves to so much pain.

“I feel like I could just go away and never come back. I feel like I’ve been standing all these years and keep getting torn down… Deep down inside, all girls know that other people’s opinions don’t matter, but we still go to other people for help because we don’t believe what people say.”
~ Faye (13). More on her story HERE.