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Pretty Girls, Ugly Faces is a photo fad in which girls take pictures of themselves while posing in an unflattering manner, making a silly face or performing a physically strenuous activity.
The single topic Tumblr blog Pretty Girls Making Ugly Faces launched on September 26th, 2011, featuring nine photos of different females making unattractive-looking faces by manipulating their mouths and necks. Throughout 2011, the blog was regularly updated with the bloggers’ own photos as well as user-submitted images before going on a hiatus in June 2012.
On July 13th, 2012, Redditor Catness_NeverClean submitted two photos to /r/Pics of herself (shown below, left) and her sister (shown below, right), comparing both their normal faces and their “ugly” faces side by side. In the post, Catness_NeverClean claimed that she and her sister had been making images like this since they were children. The post yielded more than 18,000 upvotes, 1360 points and nearly 1800 comments before it was archived. Soon, commenters began sharing their own comparison ugly face photographs, which culminated with the launch of the subreddit PrettyGirlsUglyFaces on July 14th by Redditor Sinkingfast. As of February 2013, the subreddit has more than 11,000 subscribers.
Five days after the subreddit launched, internet humor site AcidCow showcased 30 pairs of user-submitted “Pretty vs. Ugly” images. However, attention to the subreddit did not pick up major steam until January 17th, 2013, when Buzzfeed launched an “The Ultimate Ugly Face Challenge” inspired by the subreddit, inviting users to submit their own ugly face comparison photos. That day, /r/PrettyGirlsUglyFaces was featured on Mashable and the FW before being picked up by CollegeHumor a week later. On February 7th, Buzzfeed posted 50 images submitted in the Ugly Face Challenge, sparking a renewed interest in the subreddit. Over the course of the following week, photos from /r/PrettyGirlsUglyFaces were featured on a number of internet humor sites as well as culture blogs including Pleated JeansThe Frisky, Uproxx, xoJane, the Huffington Post, GirlsGuideTo and Heavy Comedy.
Additional images appear on Tumblr with the tags “pretty girls ugly faces”", “pretty girl ugly face” and “ugly selfie.” Both “#prettygirluglyface” and “#uglyselfie” are common hashtags on Instagram, with the latter having more than 2300 tagged photos.
On January 18th, 2013, the subreddit /r/HandsomeGuysUglyFaces launched, as a specific home for males partaking in this photo fad. As of February 2013, it has more than 200 subscribers.