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Fueling Insecurity in Teen Girls--The Tik Tok Way

“I'm so sick of myself

I'd rather be, rather be

Anyone, anyone else

But jealousy, jealousy (yeah)

All your friends are so cool, you go out every night

In your daddy's nice car, yeah, you're livin' the life

Got a pretty face, pretty boyfriend, too

I wanna be you so bad, and I don't even know you.”

The lyrics above are a part of an angsty song written and sung by pop-rock artist Olivia Rodrigo entitled ‘Jealousy Jealousy’ that has gained most of its popularity thanks to the Tik Tok app. Tik Tok-- a fairly new social media platform that allows its majority teenage/young adult users to post videos to the public with a chance to go viral --has proven to be a decent outlet for the many emotions its users may not be able to express offline. There are many benefits to being a Tik Tok user; the app also allows users to connect with each other, regardless of location, it is great for those looking to kill a bit of time, and encourages discourse on multiple topics.

However, like its counterpart Instagram, the app inevitably stirs and fuels insecurities in its young and susceptible users. Many trends perpetuated on Tik Tok are designed to reaffirm the beauty (or the perceived lack thereof) of those participating in said trends. An example of one of its now long gone beauty-affirming trends is last year’s “side profile check” in which users, mostly female, would turn to the side to reveal what they looked like from the side. The “side profile check” videos that gained popularity and praise were profiles containing chiseled jawlines, sloped noses, rounded foreheads, and pouty lips while videos of decidedly “less attractive” side profiles were ridiculed. The mass population of Tik Tok has the tendency to make possessing certain features a “trend”, like curvaceous, hourglass bodies and paradoxically, extremely lanky bodies.

Seemingly every week on the Tik Tok app, a new trend is created to reinforce what the American society deems as attractive in women-- a thin body with evident curves and Eurocentric features --sometimes disguised as an innocent trend and oftentimes an overt declaration of one group’s superiority over another. This hatred for women who do not fit the beauty standard extends outside of trends, too. Many individuals of darker complexions, heavier weights, and those who have disabilities often find themselves being taunted by disrespectful Tik Tok users in the comments of their ordinary videos with little to no power over the ceasing of the rude remarks shot their way. These devastating realities have contributed to the aforementioned low self-esteem of teenage girls worldwide.

And this is why a trend was established using the lyrics above to Olvia Rodrigo’s ‘Jealousy Jealousy’. Not too long ago, it became a trend to publicly out one’s own insecurities on the app. A girl would pose in front of images of girls with the facial features and lifestyles they desired while lip syncing to the most heartbreaking part of the song (seen above). The only thing more disheartening than the amount of similar videos this trend brought forth was the amount of people in the comments of these videos relating to the creators’ insecurities, many of which arguably would not exist if not for the arbitrary standards set for women on the Tik Tok app. If this isn’t a sign that something seriously needs to change, then I don’t know what is.

But situations like these cannot be dictated by one or two or even two-hundred individuals-- it takes mass action to stop toxic trends from being further perpetuated on social media platforms. So the best advice I can offer right now is to cut it off. Delete Tik Tok and any other social media application that is deteriorating your self-esteem.

If it isn’t empowering you, it shouldn’t surround you.

Alycea Gayle Esther Productions, Inc. Volunteer Youth Coordinator who also writes a monthly blog for the organization.


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