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Am I Pretty or Ugly? Girls and the Market for Self-Esteem

Sarah Banet-Weiser

Keywords: at-risk girl; can-do girl; empowerment; self-esteem; visibility; Youtube

This article analyzes an emergent genre of tween and teen girl confessional videos on YouTube where girls ask their viewers to comment on whether they are pretty or not. While the very existence of this genre is frequently explained away as a symbol of young girls' dwindling self-esteem in the contemporary moment, this article locates them within a self-identificatory gendered neoliberal brand culture so as to examine the ways in which they reproduce an economic model of the successful white middle class girl.

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