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'Selfie' Saturated Society: How Young Girls Seek Validation Through Social Media

First Posted: Nov 15, 2013 02:46 PM EST
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Growing up in the age of instant gratification and over-sexualized social media that promotes unrealistic perceptions of beauty, can be a disastrous formula for any young female, especially an impressionable Latina.

During a time of self-discovery, young females should be educating and empowering themselves and and not worrying about posting their best "selfie" to Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook or sexting their tween crush when they are still learning about their sexuality. But we have to be realistic because it's happening every day in the 'selfie' saturated society in which we live.

While the obsession with beauty is nothing new, social media has become a platform for self-validation for young females.

Last month, live artist Louise Orwin dove head-first into the phenomenon of teenage girls discussing body issues/self-image on social media where young girls posted, "Am I pretty or ugly?" videos on YouTube. Greatly impacted by the videos, Orwin created her own set of "Pretty or Ugly?" videos depicting herself as different 15-year-old characters as an experiement. The results were unsettling, so she went a step further and created a performance called "Pretty or Ugly," to further spotlight the hot-button issue, Wired reported.

One a teenage girl featured on YouTube had "a high-pitched voice and heavily made-up eyes." She says "that her classmates say she is pretty and she 'wins homecoming queen every year,' but that she's not convinced.' The only way to settle the situation is to ask the impartial commenters of YouTube."

At the time, the video generated more than 110,000 views and the 5,500 comments, many which were extremely harsh including: "B...." and "You have an ugly personality and you're making this sh.. up;" "You're ugly:" "You look like a bug!;" "You're ugly as f... ;" "stupid slut;" "attention seeker;" "a pretty face destroyed by an ugly personality."

Orwin's research was sparked by the "Thinspiration" community on Tumblr, "where pictures of slim women - ranging from the naturally slim to the emaciated - are shared as a source of inspiration for those trying to lose weight."

"I got obsessed with the way these teenage girls were using Tumblr," she told Wired.co.uk. "I felt like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole."

Orwin was baffled by the way digital media is changing the way we perceive ourselves and each other.

"When she (Orwin) compares her own teenage years to those being lived out today, she says she remembers coming to a certain age when people were starting to talk about the pressures of the media, which was selling unattainable images of perfection and beauty," Wired adds.

"But it was about the media. Now if you look on Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, it's not the media, but the teenage girls themselves perpetuating this myth. They are re-sharing these images, re-blogging. There's always going to be peer pressure but I think [social media] makes these issues worse."

Watch young tweens seek validation, asking, "Am I ugly or pretty?" It's really sad and unnerving.

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