Young Girls Are Posting “Am I Ugly?” Videos on YouTube

Written on February 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm , by

Pre-teen and teenage years have always been fraught with insecurity. But rather than seeking a confidence boost from close friends, many kids are turning to strangers on the internet. A recent article on the Huffington Post reports on a disturbing new trend: Young girls are posting videos of themselves on YouTube with a simple question–”Am I ugly or pretty?”

Responses in the comments section range from encouraging to obscene. Not surprisingly, many are concerned that the posters, who are often younger than the site’s required age (13), might not be able to handle the unabashed–and often vicious–anonymous feedback. To prevent long-lasting issues with self-image, some are calling for parents to monitor their children’s usage of the site. Pushback is also coming from teens and preteens, themselves. Some are creating and uploading videos in response to the trend, questioning its purpose.

While our lives are becoming increasingly public–Facebook profiles, YouTube pages, and personal blogs, for starters–it might seem natural to seek public affirmation to assuage our private fears. Yet, the what’s posted on the internet is permanent. So, too, can be the effects of hurtful comments, especially during the tumultuous tween and teen years.

Parents, are you concerned about this trend? Do you monitor your child’s internet use? What suggestions do you have for bolstering children’s self esteem and creating a positive body image?

–Carly Okyle, guest blogger

Are Math-Hating Shirts Sending the Wrong Message to Girls?

Written on September 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm , by

Have you noticed the Math-Hating fashion trend hitting stores this Fall?

First it was JCPenney’s “I’m too pretty to do homework” sweater and last week it was their possibly sexist shirt for tweens that declares Boys, Shopping, Dancing and Music as a girl’s best subjects (see our Momster Discussion on the topic). Now it’s Forever 21′s “Allergic to Algebra” tees. Can’t a girl catch a break?

When I saw the first of these shirts, I didn’t think much of it. I shop at both of those stores all the time, so I shrugged it off.

But then there was another. And another. Is this a thing now? Is it OK to make fun of girls for not being great at math?

I’ll admit that I am not the best at math. In fact, I always say I hate math and joke to my friends that there’s a good reason I’m in publishing. When the check comes at the end of the night, it takes the combined power of my iPhone calculator and my fingers to count how much I owe.

Yes, I still count on my fingers and I’m not ashamed that math isn’t one of my strong suits. I have plenty of other skills to make up for it. And yes, I hated algebra. But would I want to wear that on my chest? I don’t think so. Maybe being bad at math is something I should be working on improving instead of making fun.

Are these shirts sending the wrong message?

I know plenty of women who are strong at math. Great at it, even. Both of my paternal grandparents were math professors and my grandma actually wrote a math book that’s still being used in Universities today. She wasn’t allergic to Algebra, for sure. And I’m sure she would appreciate the Math Prize for Girls competition this Saturday, Sept 17th, on the MIT Campus more than she would appreciate this fashion trend.

What about you? Did you have strong women role models growing up? Are you one for your daughter? And what do you think of these tees– are they just annoying, really fashionable or a little bit offensive? Share in the comments below!



Should Students Be Required to Take Sex Ed?

Written on August 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm , by

In New York City, they will be. Starting this year, sex ed will be a mandated part of NYC’s public school curriculum for middle and high schoolers. The semester-long, co-ed class for 6th or 7th graders and 9th or 10th graders will include lessons on the proper way to use condoms; discussions about pregnancy and STDs; and role-playing exercises teaching kids how to say “No” when they’re being pressured into sex, according to the New York Times.

The article also notes that nationwide, only 20 states and Washington D.C. require sex and H.I.V. education in schools.

Readers, what’s the sex ed situation where you live? Are you for or against mandated classes in school? And when did you start giving your kids “the talk” at home? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.