In April, women on TikTok were sharing their “glow-downs,” showing just how much they’ve changed since high school. The challenge went viral after a TikToker @gabslife99 posted a video saying she “physically peaked in high school” and stated that “I look nothing like that now." The TikTok has been watched 1.4 million times, so you get the buzz.
Now, boys are getting in on the challenge too. The TikToker @rickyv just shared somewhat of a comical video of his own “one-year glow-down” and invited everyone to “feel free to duet with ur glo-downs so I feel better about myself.”
While @rickyv’s video amassed 589.9k views and counting, more men are coming clean with their yearly transformations from “looking like a delicious little snack” to “wut da heck happened.” And it’s honestly hilarious.
Bored Panda reached out to Ricky, who’s behind the humorous TikTok glow-down video that has been watched 665k times. The social media influencer told us that the idea came after he was scrolling through TikTok and noticed a lot of quarantine glow-up videos on his "for you" page. “I wanted to make one myself but I came to the conclusion that I looked better before quarantine compared to after.”
Ricky said that the whole point of this challenge is “to feel okay about not looking too great after this year.” He also thinks it’s really cool that “people feel comfortable sharing their struggles on social media rather than only their success and happiness.”
He also agreed he’s a comical guy in general. “I think it’s okay to make a joke and poke fun at yourself sometimes. Life has been a little too serious in this last year and I feel as if everyone can try to laugh a little,” Ricky concluded.
Glowing-up challenges have been on the internet for a while now and the term basically refers to maturing noticeably and attractively. It derives from “growing up,” and has been part of the viral TikTok challenge trend for the last year.
But social media has been obsessed with sudden and extreme transformations since way before glow-ups became a hit. It implies that self-improvement comes with a greater level of visible beauty and attractiveness. The images of such transformations may be adding to the unattainable beauty standards that many people on the internet have been fighting against lately.
The glow-down challenge emerged as a direct response to beauty-obsessed TikToks that aimed at debunking the glow-up myth for good. Gabrielle McDonald, a woman who first posted a glow-down video, told us in a previous interview that she got fed up with glow-ups.
“[They] set an unrealistic goal for most people as we all don’t get to have drastic ‘glow-ups,'” Gabrielle said after her glow-down video went viral on the platform.
In some cases, though, glowing up can indeed be seen as positive and inspirational. For members of LGBT community or people with mental health issues, glow-ups have therapeutic value where they are able to celebrate their identities as part of healthy self-empowerment or self-acceptance.