The #10YearChallenge and the unhealthy views on “glowing up”

Discussions about eggs aside, the #10YearChallenge and #HowHardDidAgingHitYou hashtags have been dominating social media this month. It’s when people post side-by-side photos from 2009 and their most recent selfie to show just how they changed in the span of x number of years.

Netizens, including celebrities, have latched on to this trend. The transformations are both surprising and inspiring—it’s a fun way to show how much people have “glowed up.”

While we understand that this is just a lighthearted trend, highlighting “glow-ups” might also give a different message. Essentially, this phrase is used to describe how one becomes more attractive—in the person’s own eyes or based on how society has defined beauty. It can be a lookist mindset at worst.

With the #10YearChallenge and #HowHardDidAgingHitYou posts of celebrities, you’ll see how people would comment about how young they still look or how beautiful they are compared to before. There are times when the “Before” photos would show the celebrities with darker skin and have different body shapes. Isn’t saying that they look more appealing now a problematic message?

It’a true that puberty can change many people’s appearances, but not everyone’s experiences are the same. Glowing up creates the idea that if you “look better” (face-wise) than before or you look like you haven’t aged, you’re doing something right. Ideally, we should celebrate all types of physical change, and also recognize our growth in that time span.

Or, you know, just not care about time at all and how we look. Mariah Carey is doing just that.


Art by Marian Hukom

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