Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Am I Pretty or Ugly?

Brady and I were watching our favorite doctor last night, Dr. Drew, and he had a segment on his show about young girls posting videos of themselves on YouTube and asking that very question: am I pretty or ugly? We're talking tween girls, here, so Brailey Shaye's age, which is very disturbing in itself, but even more disturbing? The comments people are leaving them are absolutely horrible, evil and downright mind-boggling! How can people be so heartless and mean?

Sadly, these girls will take everything negative that is written about their videos to heart. They won't believe the positive remarks, I'm sure. I speak from experience. What a sad, sad thing! Can you imagine your little girl, who is at that age when her body is changing and she is confused about who she is and just wants to know if she measures up to society's standards, posting a video of herself asking if she is pretty or ugly? As a mother, it would devastate me. It devastates me as a citizen of society.

Girls are mean, in general, anyway. I remember when I was a freshman in high school and a senior girl had humiliated me in front of everyone by making me push a quarter across the floor with my nose, I went home (which wasn't home-home, because I lived with my grandparents during the week or I would have went to my mom) crying to my Aunt Renee, who was also my Godmother. She told me, "Girls are the meanest people you'll ever meet. If you end up with even one or two close friends throughout your life, count yourself lucky." And over the years, I have always remembered this advice and heeded it, because she's absolutely right - girls are way meaner than boys. I have been lucky in the friend department, thankfully, as I do have quite a few friends, both gold and silver (bless your hearts!). But not only are girls mean, they turn into mean women, and then those women raise mean girls and the cycle goes on endlessly.

Many years ago, before I was even a mom, one of my good friends told me "it takes a good mom to make a good girl." She meant it takes a NICE person/mom to make a good girl. I can't tell you how many times I've found this to be true. A girl almost always turns out just like her mother, doesn't she? Being kind and respectful are behaviors that are learned. And even though it is easy to see how today's technology has spawned a whole new level of mean, it still makes me sick to my stomach to think there are little girls out there trying to validate their self-esteems on the damned Internet.

Those negative comments that were left for those poor little YouTube girls will live in them for the rest of their lives, I'm sure of it. (Since I'm on a memory kick,) I can still remember the meanest thing that was ever said to me when I was a kid. I was never one of the "popular" kids - I was always on the edge, not quite accepted but not completely left out. And if you can imagine, whenever I was gone from school for a day or two, I was "out." Nobody would talk to me when I came back. One time I was given a note, after I had been out of school for a few days, and it said, "Have you heard about the lonesome loser? She's a loser, but she just keeps on trying." I didn't know it was a song, at the time. But that little phrase has lived in my head since I read those words, and I felt so sad and ashamed, it still hurts me to this day. I think it hurt me so much because that is just how I felt - I kept on trying to fit in with the "in" crowd, but I never quite made it. I felt like a loser, whether I was one or not, and that note cut me off at the knees, to say the least. I'll never forget how hurtful those words were.

Maybe that is why I am so saddened and heartbroken for these lost little girls who are searching for validation on YouTube by posting those vulnerable videos of themselves. I pray they get the help they so desperately need. And I pray my own baby girl will never have a self-esteem that desperate. I pray I can help her feel good about who she is, because Brailey is so incredible and amazing. But she's also nice, and that will make her a target of hatred, someday. Of that I am sure. Hopefully Brady and I will be able to help her through the worst of it, and more than anything, I hope if she is feeling as awful as the YouTube girls feel about themselves, she will come to us before she does anything drastic.

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