If you could give advice to a younger version of yourself, what would you say? A recent YouTube campaign explores this question, specifically targeting young girls.
This Youtube campaign entitled “#DearMe” became popularized with International Women’s Day which took place on March 8 this year. It aims to empower young girls struggling with problems and remind them that the future is always brighter. #DearMe is closely linked to the “#ItGetsBetter” project, which helped those facing different forms of harassment.
Participants of #DearMe, primarily girls in their late teens and older, start by writing a letter to their younger selves, addressing some of the problems they faced at that age and the best way to deal with them having the experience they do now. YouTube comes into play when those girls post a video of themselves reading the letter to the website.
#DearMe was further popularized by well known YouTube “queens” like Michelle Phan, Hannah Hart and Brittani Louise Taylor, who each contributed to the campaign. What makes their involvement in the campaign so important is that through their letters, these female pathmakers show their vulnerability. Because they are somewhat influential over the lives of young girls, it almost doesn’t seem ideal to express this side of their emotions, but it’s a great way to further relate to and inspire the ones who look up to them. For example, in her #DearMe video, Hannah Hart says, “You change careers three or four times so whatever you think your goals are right now, awesome. Go for it. Don’t stress out if they don’t happen right off the bat.” For girls with high aspirations, hearing things like this from successful YouTubers may comfort them.
The only downside to #DearMe is that because it’s primarily YouTube based, women in their thirties and older aren’t as much of an influence as the YouTube icons, most of whom are currently in their late teens and twenties. This isn’t that much older than the girls watching their videos, so is their advice still beneficial? Wisdom is usually accredited to the women who are emotionally mature with plenty of life experience. It’s even better if they themselves are parents and are watching their children go through things similar to what they did. Therefore, their advice may be even more helpful than the advice of twenty-somethings.
Mrs. Dinkenor, Leesville Road High School English teacher, proved this theory when asked about what she would say to her high school self: “This too shall pass. You are enough…It’s okay to strive to be better, but you are enough and you don’t have to be what somebody else wants you to be.”
For most teenagers, Dinkenor’s advice is important, but it’s advice they might not truly understand until they’re old enough to look back and reflect upon their years.
Looking back at her own school experience, for example, Dinkenor now highly encourages her children to do more of the things she wishes she had done, like “have more fun.” She recently exercised this mindset, saying, “I’ve got a daughter who, next week, got the opportunity to go to the beach with friends for Spring Break and she’s like, ‘I feel like I need to be in school.’ I said, ‘You’re in seventh grade once–go to the beach.’” With high-achieving students, the concept of having fun tends to be forgotten among the notorious burden of school-work and maintaining good grades. It’s not until a person is older that they realize sometimes having fun is more important than getting things done.
In general, #DearMe videos are important and have the ability to make a strong impact on the betterment of the next few generations. No matter where a person comes from our how old they are, life is full of positive and negative experiences. There is a considerable amount of growth received from both success and failure, as people are constantly learning new things about themselves as they grow up. Therefore, it’s great to have a way to connect to those who have gone through similar successes/failures and are willing to share their own advice on the matter.