We come across all sorts of videos on social media, from hilarious and ridiculous vines, to powerful campaigns to the newly hyped challenges.
Don’t get me wrong, after some initial hesitation I became all for the previous challenges that stormed the internet, from the ice bucket challenge to the no make-up selfie, these silly ideas were all for the greater good, raising millions and awareness for much needed causes.
There have been some stupid and harmful ones, such as the neck nominations and the Kylie Jenner lip challenge.
This ‘challenge’ which emerged just a few weeks ago, may not have seemed stupid or harmful initially, in fact, at first glance you might have even praised the idea.
By its very name, it seems like a body-positive, confidence boosting idea. The words ‘Don’t judge’ are typically followed by ‘a book by its cover’ and this what one would assume the videos are about,not judging people based on their outer layer, their physical appearance, the idea that beauty is not just skin deep.
The challenge which borrows the name is in fact, the complete opposite.
If you are not familiar with the videos, they consist of someone’s face to the camera, with exaggerated acne and spots, thick uni-brows and comical glasses for the first few seconds, this is followed by a sweep of the camera, when it re-focuses, the person in the video reveals their ‘true self’, attractive, lens free with clear skin and styled hair.
The issues with the videos are numerous, for one, the videos imply that bad skin equals ugly, and considering the fact that the majority of people involved as well as watching these videos are pubescent young teens, it’s likely that bad skin will be a very common and natural feature, it sends a message to those with acne or imperfect complexions that they are the comical, unattractive joke, and unless they can become ‘better looking’ within a flash of a camera, we’ll be judging.
Glasses also feature in most of the videos, this again, implies that anyone wearing glasses in order to see the video, or for any other reason, are also unattractive.
The biggest issue however, is the idea in the first place, basing our thoughts of other people based solely on their physical appearances. The idea is ‘judge me when comically unattractive, but stop judging once you see I’m actually hot’. There are rarely any words spoken, or any additional information given, so in fact, from start to finish we are judging the person in question, we are observing their appearance from the minute we press play,perhaps somewhat disapproving of the initial exaggerated ‘ugliness’ followed by the relief that they are in fact, stereotypically attractive.
Regardless of what the video is about, they last no more that 15 seconds, which is a completely unrealistic time frame to gather any sort of opinion on anyone.