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TikTok is perverting American youth.
The race to the bottom to corrupt young girls via social media has reached a new low through the advent of TikTok. Trendy dances are created and widely disseminated in a matter of hours, and millions of girls desperately create their own versions of them in an effort to be seen and liked. They sacrifice innocence and mental stability for attention from strangers that is at best meaningless, and at worst, debauched.
Since TikTok took off in 2019, teenage girls compulsively perform sexy new dances, propping up their iPhones, filming themselves with exaggerated motions and smiles, peppered with practiced smoldering and outright raunchy moves. In between takes they watch and scrutinize themselves until they get “the one,” finally publishing it into the abyss of the internet, hoping it will pop up on enough strangers’ FYPs (For You Pages) to get a decent amount of likes and attention.
This trend has become normalized so quickly that we don’t see it with any clarity. Teenagers are possessed by the mind-numbing activity of scrolling through TikTok, whose brief videos have nuked attention spans. The average American user spends about an hour a day on the site; younger users—as young as 4—spend much more time.
Girls who get a lot of views and followers are held up as models and develop obsessive fandoms. As dance trends get more and more egotistical and suggestive, more girls flock to the site. While not every dance or trend is an outright simulation of sex, many of the popular song excerpts are extraordinarily explicit, and are accompanied by dance moves that verge on obscenity, with depictions of choking, glorification of anal sex, and celebrations of rape.
The audience for this trap is becoming younger and younger. One particular account that has gone viral shows a 13-year-old girl. In each video she’s dressed in either a bikini or an outfit that is trying to accentuate elements of her body that haven’t even fully developed, and she’s dancing to explicit and raunchy song clips. Her bio claims that her parents run the account. It’s not clear if that makes it worse or better, but either way it reflects a society that has become so accepting of the exploitation of minors online that many people would not even bat an eye at one of her videos turning up on their page—never mind how obviously young she is.
We have no shortage of new ways to debase children. Flooding their young minds with repetitive, catchy tunes, and the need for online approval from strangers, the platform addicts them to “likes” and, almost more perniciously, trains their nubile brains in how to become addicted to the dopamine rush. TikTok teaches girls that sexual display is their primary human value, and salacious exhibition of their bodies is normal, expected, and salubrious.
This social media toxin is difficult one to extirpate. It plays off a natural desire within every young girl to be seen and loved. Women desire to feel beautiful, and to have their beauty affirmed. When a whole community online is giving attention to a certain kind of girl or a certain type of behavior, even if this attention is somewhat empty and depraved, there’s an instinctual longing for it. Warping this natural feminine desire into something so vile is the serpent in the apple tree; deforming and exploiting a generation of girls, slowly building upon a perverse revolution that they are too submerged in to identify.
The innocence and mental stability of our teens is corroding with every new sexy dance or trendy innuendo. All that time practicing, filming, scrutinizing, and publishing confirms to them the agenda that women are nothing more than their bodies. The feminist movement claims to want to end the alleged rape culture and misogyny of American men, but is silent on the sexual exploitation of girls’ bodies in TikTok videos.
All parties are dehumanized by this. If American parents are too weak-willed and narcissistic to parent through this than perhaps my generation will just have to see through it and do what younger generations have done throughout the ages: rebel.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.