Over the past years, strange trends have surfaced on the Internet. In between “challenges” such as the chubby bunny challenge, during which you stuff your mouth with as many marshmallows as possible, and the “Neknomination” game which involved drinking and eventually lead to the death of two teenagers in Ireland, the online community never seems to catch a break. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than teenagers choking themselves with cinnamon, the Internet outdoes itself once again.
A few weeks ago, teenagers begun posting videos of themselves along with the hash tag “#don’t judge challenge”, accompanied by the phrase “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”. These videos last around 15 seconds, during which participants makes themselves look as “unattractive” as possible, by drawing on aspects regarded as socially repugnant such as unibrows, acne, and dark teeth; their faces are then cleared of it all, and the last few seconds show how “attractive” they truly are.
While the message in writing seems to be positive, the execution of the idea was done poorly and resulted ultimately in a huge ironic mess. Many are speaking up against the “challenge”, labeling it as either bullying or a vanity fair. They affirm that it is mocking those who do not fit in society’s beauty standards by picking on their insecurities, rather than promoting the idea of disregarding a person’s appearance when forming a judgment about him or her. This is partly shown by the negative response “less attractive” challengers have received, with various comments such as: “you still look horrible” among the nicer ones.
As this isn’t the first Internet challenge with questionable motives, and isn’t likely to be the last, netizens need to start thinking for themselves instead of mindlessly following the crowd. Question these trends, along with your own motivations; question it all. In the end, if you still wish to participate, no one is going to stop you; just be ready to accept the consequences that come along.
This article was written by Elaine Zheng, a writer for dusk magazine.