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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Mean Girls

<n YouTube the other day, I stumbled across a very disturbing phenomenon; girls posting videos of themselves, asking whether they are pretty or not. It was very upsetting. One girl, whose YouTube username is SmileLoveBeauty8, was holding back tears as she wondered whether feeling pretty makes her delusional. She went back and forth between saying she felt pretty and saying she felt ugly. At the end of the video, she asks her viewers to leave a comment saying if she is pretty or not. And boy, did they leave comments! The video, which has 464,074 views, has just over 12,000 comments. I did not read all of them, but the top two comments are, “so…you are basically asking for people to say you are pretty, but when someone says, “you are ugly,” you get mad or cry, that, my friend, is what I hate about girls on YouTube,” and, “you look like my shit.” Yes, these comments shouldn’t be taken seriously, but they are the top comments, so others must have wanted her to see them. Other popular comments consisted of the audience telling her she was an, “attention seeking whore.” These were the comments that really made me question society’s values. She is obviously insecure, very young, and impressionable. If I had to guess, she is 12 or 13 years old. 12 or 13 year old girls don’t think relationally, especially when it comes to defining beauty. Yes, she shouldn’t have posted the video, but the fact that she did poses many disturbing questions. The video provides an uncomfortably real look at the damaging interpersonal effects that insecurity, shame, and the media have on our society.

As a girl growing up in the 21st century, I understand the need for reassurance. Yes, getting that reassurance from strangers on the Internet is not a healthy way to go about it, but traditional feminism teaches girls that caring about their appearance is silly and vain. Well, that opinion is just silly.  People are programmed to be insecure. Society bombards us with thousands of images and ideas of beauty everyday. Ignoring those images is impossible. Being affected by the media is not a flaw, but a reality. Accepting the fact that insecurities exist, and that most women are affected by what they see in the media is not anti-feminist, but pro-feminist. I’m sick and tired of women telling other women that felling vulnerable is a weakness that will make you less of a women. Feeling weak is part of being human.

I can’t tell whether the people who called that girl many variants of the word “whore” were men or women. However, I would argue that a significant number of women get called, “whore, slut, and idiot,” by other women more than they do by men. If we are to make any impact on the way that society portrays, values, and treats us, we need to stop calling each other names. Calling another women a “slut” is not pro-feminist. Just because you are a woman, does not mean that you should use that word. It just creates strife and animosity between women. I truly believe that if feminism was redefined for real women, such animosity wouldn’t exist. Being a powerful woman doesn’t mean that you are immune to societal pressures.  Sometimes all of us need reassurance. I’m not saying that this reassurance should come from an anonymous Internet forum, but this need to ask strangers our deepest fears shows how intolerant the female community has become. It’s no longer a sisterhood, but a community of “Mean Girls.” I urge my fellow women to listen to each other’s problems, to never see a problem as being too silly, and to stop calling other women names. No matter how good if feels in the moment, it won’t make you comfortable with yourself in the future.

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