My Thoughts on the “Don’t Judge Challenge”

The “Don’t Judge Challenge” involves taking a video of yourself with all sorts of ‘blemishes’ and other features that are supposed to be ‘ugly.’ Then, you must cover the camera. When you take your hand off, your ‘blemishes’ will have vanished and ideally, you will look flawless. This is the newest trend in social media.

Even though it becomes more ridiculous the more you think about it, I think I can see the initial intention of this particular trend. I’m guessing it’s supposed to say, “Don’t judge a person by their looks. There may be more to what you see.” But unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. The trend is also supporting the message that you shouldn’t judge a person by their looks not because it’s wrong, but because someone’s appearance might mask a beauty that fits society’s conventions. 

Image courtesy of www.unilad.co.uk

Image courtesy of http://www.unilad.co.uk

Thankfully, there have also been several negative responses to this trend. Some have protested against the challenge and written articles urging people to stop participating. Others have made videos of themselves doing the opposite – transitioning from a done-up version to a natural version of themselves.

But what surprises me is how easily this trend spread in the first place. More than 600,000 results showed up for the hashtag “dontjudgechallenge” on Instagram. Not all of them are relevant, but the fact remains that many are: according to Business Insider UK, there were more than 85,000 submissions a week ago. It made me wonder whether they really thought about the message they’re implicitly supporting. Why did people decide to participate? Because they support the message, or just because this is another social media trend to follow, like the “Ice Bucket Challenge” or the “Belly Button Challenge?”

The power of social media is something that has haunted me for a while. It is so easy to sit behind a screen and write criticisms and rude comments. It’s so much easier to hurt someone without having to face any consequences. It’s terrible when people do it on purpose, but it’s much scarier when it comes hidden in the form of a tidal wave-like trend. Social media and the Internet are at their scariest when people mindlessly follow a trend to fit in without thinking about what it really means. It makes me wonder how far people would be willing to go. What would it take for people to take a step back from the crowd and really think about their actions online?

Most children, when asking permission to do something because all their friends are doing it, have probably heard a response similar to this: “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?”

Today, I wonder: if enough people did jump off a bridge as another trend or “challenge,” how many people would follow?

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