The classic saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” took on a new twist in the past few weeks as online users created a video along with the hashtag #DontJudgeMeChallenge.
The concept of the video is simple enough. In each#DontJudgeMeChallaege video, a person gets in front of the camera with “ugly” imperfections, rubs lotion on his or her face and blocks the camera. When he/she’s hand is removed from the camera lens, he/she looks “prettier.” The idea behind it, is that a person may look rough on the outside but this does not mean they do not have potential and therefore, appearance should not be the only way that people are judged.
And it is the most ridiculous hashtag that has trended all year.
The #DontJudgeMeVideos are more insulting and degrading than uplifting. The “ugly” portion of the video features messy hair, teeth with fake gaps in them, pimples and unibrows. The participants can also be seen wearing glasses and collared shirts. This “challenge” justifies certain characteristics over others. This is counter-intuitive, counterproductive and outright offensive.
Instead of glorifying the flaws that make us unique, this “challenge” continues to perpetuate the exception that people have to meet a standard of beauty. Even if the intentions behind the #DontJudgeMeChallange are good, its outcome has been outrageous. The challenge is reduced to a group of people making fun of other people’s flaws.
Additionally, the videos miss the entire point of the idiom that inspired this movement. The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” means that it’s not fair to judge a person on the outside, because this may not represent the person’s internal character. The videos continue to place an emphasis on external beauty rather than meaningful internal aesthetics. The videos could have resonated more if the participants talked about personal struggles that made them stronger. Physical beauty should not outweigh intelligence, spiritual availability, or other parts of internal beauty that mean so much more than a beautiful face.
In response to the #DontJudgeMeChallenge hashtag, Twitter has created its own separate hashtag to combat the damage done. It’s called the #BeautyInAllChallenge. Unlike the first challenge, this one features beauty in different forms, and it exemplifies the multifaceted entity beauty should be.