Midway through 2012 I clicked on a video- with its juvenile ‘text-speak’ title: ‘Pretty/UGLY PLZ TELL ME!’ I first thought must be a joke. But a few minutes into the video, the searing honesty and anxiety of the author struck me. She couldn’t have been older than 12 or 13. I thought about being that age. It’s not that I wasn’t wholly caught up with my changing body, my changing shape and trying to be ‘cool’, to fit in, it’s that I didn’t have access to such a platform as this. I wondered whether I might have appealed to such a platform if one had existed for me? I wondered how I might have developed differently if it had.
If you want to be a first-hand witness to this trend just type ‘am i pretty or ugly’ into YouTube search and see what comes up.
You might notice that the vast majority of videos are posted by American YouTubers- from what I’ve noticed over the past 6 months however, the trend is really starting to catch on here in the UK too, with a growing number of UK authored videos. As with many trends influenced by popular culture, where the US leads, the UK is usually quick to follow.