Online videos ask "Am I pretty or ugly" - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Online videos ask "Am I pretty or ugly"

It begs the question, what can be done to change this stigma of looks above all else? It begs the question, what can be done to change this stigma of looks above all else?
And it starts at a very young age. And it starts at a very young age.
Students at Notre Dame Regional High School said they're shocked but understand the motivation behind the videos. Students at Notre Dame Regional High School said they're shocked but understand the motivation behind the videos.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

It's a troubling trend among teenage girls, posting videos asking the public to determine their beauty. On YouTube we found hundreds of thousands of videos from girls asking "Am I pretty or ugly?" It's not just the videos, but the feedback from people online that's alarming.

Some area teens said it's a daily struggle to feel pretty in today's society, but none of those we spoke with have posted a video of their own.

"My initial reaction is you know I've never actually seen this before but I'm thinking they almost set themselves up for negative feedback," said Ethan Protzel, a junior at Notre Dame Regional High School.

And that's exactly what most feedback is, negative.

Students at Notre Dame Regional High School said they're shocked but understand the motivation behind the videos.

Young teens across the country, mostly girls, receive actual critiques on ways to improve their appearance. With comments ranging from suggestions to lose weight or have surgery to getting a new haircut.

"I think it's really sad that this is what it's come to and I also think it's very understandable that this is what it's come to because it's the pressure of everyday life," said Notre Dame senior Anna Unterreiner. "If you look good then you're popular and looks is what this society is more and more based upon."

And it starts at a very young age. Most of the subjects in the videos note how classmates call them pretty or ugly.

So in an age where social media is almost a natural way to communicate these teens seek outside opinions for validation.

"And the instant nature to be able to post something without thinking," said Campus Minister Sarah Strohmeyer. "You don't think through things before you just spout off. And I think that's the problem. There's no filter."

"It's that vicious cycle," added Protzel. "We have an insecure person who calls someone ugly or fat and then that person becomes insecure."

It begs the question, what can be done to change this stigma of looks above all else?

Well administrators say it starts with building self-esteem at a young age so teens don't learn these attention seeking behaviors.

"That's really what this is all about," said Strohmeyer. "They're seeking attention and so what are the ways we can give positive attention for appropriate things and not just focus on looks."

Counselors said parents need to monitor their kids' online activity. They say it's also important to stress inner beauty and have an open conversation with your kids about any pressures they may feel that make them self conscious.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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