'Hot or Not?' YouTube Videos: Stop the Madness!

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun... While browsing CNN to catch up on the latest headlines as I'm apt to do during my lunch break, I came across a recent phenomenon among preteens and teenagers: posting YouTube videos asking viewers to determine if they're hot or not.

I'm sorry...what?!

As if society wasn't cruel enough on its own with its model-thin standards, now these impressionable young people are putting themselves in compromising positions. At best, they'll get an ego boost. At worst, their self-confidence will be shot.

There's no getting around it. People can be mean. And thanks to the anonymity the Internet offers, cyber bullies are getting bold with their hateful comments. Their nastiness knows no boundaries. This has to end.

When I was in fifth grade, I remember to boys passing around a list with the names of girls in my class and rating us based on our attractiveness. My best friend at the time, who had lighter skin and "good hair," had "fine" written next to her name three times. I, on the other hand, had "ugly" written next to my name twice.

That was about 15 years ago and I still remember it as though it were yesterday. I'll never forget that feeling–that I wasn't, nor would I ever be, pretty enough. Sure, I was smart...I'd skipped a grade for crying out loud. But no one cares about that in middle school.

If I could say anything to my 10-year-old self (and to any other girl feeling less-than-beautiful out there), I would say: be yourself and love yourself. Regardless of the color of your skin, the width of your hips, or the texture of your hair, you are beautiful. You are worthy. You are special.

And as cliche as it may seem, there is truth behind the saying "beauty is only skin deep." Focus your energy on being the best person you can be, someone who is beautiful on the inside...where it counts. Your radiance will shine through.

And take it from a self-proclaimed nerd/bookworm/smarty pants, it gets better. Middle school and high school are not the end all and be all of life. In 10 years, when you're a successful whatever it is you want to be, none of this will matter. Rise above it because you're better than that.