Trash Culture Reaches New Low


Questioning whether you are hot or not at 11 years old has become all the rage on YouTube.  Certainly this is just another manifestation of our culture of trash that is not only all over the internet today, but also on most TV’s in the U.S.  When this reached the level it has with prepubescent girls on YouTube however, even I started to wonder if some sort of proactive, protective, censorship is in order.

I will not do them the favor of linking to any of the video’s I am referring to but a quick search on YouTube will easily enlighten anyone who wants to be shocked.  Now I may not be the most logical person to have strong feelings about this since I am a middle aged guy who has always been very good at ignoring the cesspools of society.  I have never watched American Idol, Charlie Sheen, or any of the other pop culture time sinks.  I don’t even know who Kim Kardashian is for gosh sakes other than to see her referred to in the media as the most recent example of gutter trash TV.  I know as well as anyone that we choose what we spend our time watching, and I spend no time at all on this stuff.  But, when I heard about this YouTube frenzy of young girls posting videos asking if they were pretty or ugly, and read about all the obscene, hurtful, disturbed, responses, I decided to watch a few of them.

I was shocked but I don’t know what can be done short of YouTube actually enforcing their age limit rules or implementing some sort of censorship to get these videos taken down before they have millions of views.  Yes, millions.  The most viewed example of this trend now has over 4.5 million views.  I have seen the argument put forth that the children posting are damaged youth to begin with, the product of abusive or neglectful homes.  But interviews with the families of some of these young girls seem to show the opposite.  They are just normal, insecure young kids wondering where they fit into our youth obsessed, fame obsessed, exploitation obsessed, culture.  And the easy availability of YouTube for them to post these videos and then read the responses from disturbed bullies is just another unhealthy aspect of today’s cultural black hole.

It may be a bit elitist to even be concerned about this trend, but I do feel better having vented a bit.  What do you think?  Does this disturb you as much as it does me?  Or are you satisfied with our ability to ignore things like this by simple not watching?

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Will Sig
1 Jan

I think it’s just another sad indictment on our society that they do this. One of them that did it for a hoax has got a lot of space on our local MSN page, so of course it is the sort of thing that people will go and have a look at (I didn’t). Also I have no idea who Kim Kardashian is as well and proud of it!! Only know she is in the news a lot.

One of the places that I worked at, a young dad was telling us how he overheard his 6 year old daughter talking to her friend. She patted her legs and was bemoaning that they were fat! Kids are so body aware now. It’s all about how they look, how thin they are and what fashion labels they wear. Parents have an incredibly tough time to be able to raise resilient children who can believe in themselves and have a strong sense of self worth these days.

On a totally different topic Will I think your social toolbar has slipped?


2 Will

This is so true. I feel fortunate that both my daughters have good heads on their shoulders in this regard. My youngest is an athlete and so she and her friends seem to be very comfortable with their strong bodies and not worried about the superficial stuff.

What are you seeing with the social toolbar Jan? I am trying out a new one and it should be off to the left of the content in the blue area. It should be stationary, in the lower 1/2 of the screen .

Here are a couple of screenshots of how it should look. Let me know if that is not what you are seeing. Thanks!



3 Will

Well on further investigation I found it is another IE problem. With IE and certain screen resolutions, the buttons either stick right on top of the content or don’t show at all. I even saw an issue with Firefox and one screen resolution that almost nobody uses any more. So I disabled the plugin and put back my hard coded buttons at the top of the post. I guess I will try to tweak that code to get what I want, or try some other plugins.

Thanks for the heads up everyone that noted the issues! It really helps when people don’t ignore things like that.

Update: I installed a different plugin that works to put some sharing icons at the bottom of the post. I also left my hardcoded ones at the top for now until I get feedback that the new ones are working ok.


4 Jan

Hi Will
What I was seeing before was half of the bar sticking up from the middle of the screen and into the post. The two bars that you have now look fine and I did a Digg on the top one and +1 on the bottom one and they are both working.


5 RK Henderson

The vacuous nature of American values continues to be a source of fascination here, like a train wreck. It’s amazing that a nation with so many screaming outstanding tasks to accomplish on its collective to-do list burns up so much cultural cordwood on superficial nonsense.

Perhaps the best response to “Am I Pretty” is “Yes”, and then move on to important matters.

On another topic, Will: there is suddenly a pop-up window in the lower left of your page that is most annoying and can’t be dismissed, at least not in this browser. If this was installed by you, perhaps you could try a different configuration? Among other things, the floater obscures everything below the comment window, including the Submit button, unless I scroll around. Just between bloggers, eh? 😉
RK Henderson recently posted..Крем Для Армейской ОбувиMy Profile


6 Will

“It’s amazing that a nation with so many screaming outstanding tasks to accomplish on its collective to-do list burns up so much cultural cordwood on superficial nonsense.”

Now that is a quote that should get a much wider audience than here!

Well I guess the new plugin is not working for some browsers. I will try to track down the issue and if it can’t be fixed, will get rid of the plugin. I found that having the social buttons above the content as it was, nobody was using it. I was told by several people that this one worked better for them and in fact it does seem to be getting used. But it has to display correctly in all browsers to be useful.


7 Stacey at RealWorldMom

You are not alone, Will. My youngest child (of four) is my only daughter. I have always tried to stress to her that looks are not nearly as important as what is inside her. Yes, I’ve told her she’s beautiful, but that often comes *after* being told that she’s smart, caring, funny, etc.

Even with my efforts, she went through a period where she was concerned about her weight and her appearance. She was about 11. I was heartbroken and worried. Fortunately, she is a smart girl, and this didn’t last too long.

I can certainly believe that many of the kids you wrote about came from non-abusive homes. It is the media that goes against what many parents try to teach their children, and causes our kids to doubt themselves. The same thing happens to many adults.

It’s a sad situation, but I don’t see an easy solution. All we can do, I suppose, is to be there for our children, and do our best to guide them, support them, and make sure they know they are loved.
Stacey at RealWorldMom recently posted..My Journey ContinuesMy Profile


8 Binky

Most people, young or old, would probably focus on the worst comments, so it’s probably not going to boost anyone’s self esteem, and will probably end up making everyone feel worse. Kids are probably exposed to an awful lot on the internet that they shouldn’t be, but how do you control that when they have access 24/7?
Binky recently posted..Stink RightMy Profile


9 Julie

I think you’re right, an age control in youtube would solve this problem, but the problem-solving should be begin in the people’s heads. The little girls are nowadays only sexual objects, they were socialized this way, and it’s the fault of the media, I think. That’s why my son isn’t allowed to watch to many tv-shows.


10 Tony McGurk

I find it disturbing too. Youtube seems to be one of the worst sites for arrogant insulting pigs to spew forth their meaness in the comments. We see so many reports on TV about cyberbullying & posting such videos on youtube is simply putting yourself out there & asking to be bullied. I can see no good in this at all. Just an opening for these girls to be pushed into low self esteem & maybe even things such as anorexia. I also wonder how much this sort of thing is feeding the sick perverted minds of pedophiles. By leaving it on there Youtube is condoning such behaviour.
Tony McGurk recently posted..Dave’s Dilemma #17 – The ArrivalMy Profile


11 Sally

I agree with you; the media has rally influenced kids into doing and thinking of things that we have never even considered during our time. The only solution to this is to be there for our kids: to guide and to advice them.


12 Brandon

Social media provides different things, its depend with us on how we handle it… As a parent we need to guide our children in order that they can learn only the right and suitable things fit for their age…


13 Graciella27

I am pretty amazed with the advancement of our technology at the same time the interaction of our children at the young age, that’s why I am always explaining all the things they discover at social media and what are do’s and don’t they just view will…


14 Deanne35

Social Media is a very influential, especially to children. As parents we should guide them accordingly, if not they might explore and see the things children must not see in the internet.


15 Jan

I love the way RK has expressed his opinion – beautiful writing BUT, unfortunately this is not superficial nonsense, it is symptomatic of the way that the self esteem of our young people is being chipped away with stupid, idiotic beauty pageants for tiny kids, endless TV programs and advertising that presents women as super thin and super beautiful, and a steady pounding diet through advertising and women’s magazines and the way that they present men and women but mostly women. It is impossible for 99% of the population to look like a super model but that is so much being presented as the desirable look and the message, if you aren’t thin and beautiful you won’t be successful, nobody will love you. How much of this rubbish are our young people absorbing through the media messages every day? I actually stopped reading women’s magazines about 20 years ago because I found that they just depressed me. Just after the chocolate cake recipes would be an article on how to lose weight, or how “famous person” lost 20 pounds!

I would hate to be a parent in this day and age trying to bring up kids who are resilient to all of this stuff. I think Stacey said it all. You just have to try to make your kid know that they are fantastic just the way they are. OK, I’ll get off my soap box now!


16 Tiffiney Cowan

Will, thank you for your post on this! As the mom of three girls I worry a great deal about this trend. I’m currently wading through this cultural mess with my oldest who is 13. She’s interested in American Idol and dislikes how her thighs spred when she sits – as if this means she’s fat. She does wonder about her attractiveness and spends a lot of time thinking about boys.

These are all things which make my heart quicken with worry. We’ve limited screen time to 3 hours a week for our kids and have focused on quality shows. Recently though our oldest asked to watch American Idol. I’m not a fan of the show, but instead of forbidding it I chose to sit with her while she watched and to talk about the show -and the commercials which often are far worse!

I also look for opportunities to listen to what she has to say about life and to speak into her life in positive ways unrelated to her physical appearance. Sometimes these efforts feel so small when compared to the culture which seems bent on eating her up and spitting her out again.


17 Cley

It’s kinda overwhelming how the social media is fast growing but we should still consider if how can it affect the younger ones. Parental guidance is really needed..


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