Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Am I ugly?"


            “Am I ugly?” This is the name in which numerous teenage girls have named some videos they created at home and upload it later in YouTube as a way to receive some feedback of unknown and anonymous YouTube users confirming or denying their supposedly “ugliness”. Those videos seems to be one of the most recent trends among teenagers between ages 11 and 13. The videos were posted mainly for girls although there are some boys who also posted similar videos (Gray 2012).
            These videos can even reach a considerable amount of viewers. One of them has been posted in December of 2012 and has reached 3.4 million of viewers. The comments range from supportive messages (E.g: “I think you look pretty and nice”) to awful and aggressive ones (E.g: “UGLIER THAN A DEMON”) (Gray 2012). I am just trying to figuring out how much pressure of how desperate one of these girls might feel just to put their concept of themselves under scrutiny of anonymous and total strangers. The girls mentioned that the main reason for posting those videos were that they received negative comments by their peers at school and they were bullied most of the time (Gray 2012).

            This is a news report about this new trend:

          If you can't open, this is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFFcx5JlWII

            Herbert Blumer in the reading 12 about “Movies and conduct” discuss about the role that motion pictures has in children and girls and boy at a young age. Some of the perspectives that the author offers about the influence of motion pictures in people are arousing different positive and negative emotions and imposing modes of conduct. More importantly, “in the case of the girl, in particular, desires for beauty, for sophistication, for grace and ease, for romance, for adventure, and for love are likely to come to the fore” (Peters & Simonson 2004).
            Some other recent studies have been conducted about the media’s influence on body image disturbance. In this study, Thompson and Heinberg have presented some information related to a survey conducted by Psychology Today. The survey has indicated the tremendous impact the mass media has in transmitting the cultural ideal of thinness, beauty especially for women. This study conducted among 3,452 participants showed that 23% agreed that movie or television influenced their body image and 22% attributed the influence to fashion magazine models (Thompson & Heinberg 1999).
            Blumer discussed the impact of motion pictures in high school student as they were expectators. He also describes how this tool can become a very powerful educational tool when even home, school or the community is unable to introduce them in the new world they are entering at that age. He even mentions that when the strength and capabilities of institution might be higher to mold attitudes and behaviors, there is a “condition of emotional detachment” which leads individuals to accept what motion pictures show as a norm (Peters & Simonson 2004). In addition, I might say that this notion of the influence of motion pictures in young people as mere spectators has evolved since now technology allows them to create their own videos or motion pictures as a way to express themselves and show how media is influencing on them. This is something that definitely was not possible at Blumer’s time.
            I think maybe something interesting to see those days would be how much impact does movies have in teenagers. Do you think they are the only medium that can have such a high influence on them? What about social media? It might be a good idea to see some statistics about it. In addition, do you know of any films that you believe are promoting education and positive values among teenagers?

Peters, J. D., & Simonson, P. (2004). Mass Communication and American Social Thought. Key Texts:1919-1968. Maryland, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Gray, E. (2012, February). 'Am I Ugly?' Videos: Young Teens Ask YouTube Users Whether They're Pretty Or Not. The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/am-i-ugly-or-pretty-videos-youtube-teens_n_1292113.html

Thompson, J. K., & Heinberg, L. J. (1999). The Media's Influence on Body Image Disturbance and Eating Disorders: We've Reviled Them, Now Can We Rehabilitate Them? Journal of Social Issues, 55(2), 339-353. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from http://jkthompson.myweb.usf.edu/articles/The%20Media%27s%20Influence%20on%20Body%20Image%20Disturbance.pdf

1 comment:

  1. Maria, thanks for pointing out this trend and its ties to the reading. It is scary and horrible that this happens and that some would be led to do this, but such is the world we now live in. I do think movies and TV create an image they strive for, whether obtainable or not.