A new “Victims” or “Holocaust” or “Trauma Porn” trend has popped up on video sharing app TikTok that has prompted reactions ranging from outrage to disbelief. While the point of the trend seems to be educational, many people have called it out as offensive and tone-deaf at best, or disturbing and inhumane at worse.
While this might seem like a bad joke, the trend really does exist. As explained by Insider, it was initially dubbed “Trauma Porn” and involves TikTok users putting on make-up to make themselves look bruised or burned, and then pretending to be Holocaust victims sharing the story of their death from heaven.
You can see a few examples, shared by one disbelieving Twitter user, below:
The point of the trend, according to one 17-year-old participant who spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity, was to educate people about the Holocaust. But most people on social media felt the videos trivialized something truly horrifying as an excuse to “practice their makeup and acting abilities.”
In response to the growing outrage over the trend, the Auschwitz Memorial released a full statement on Twitter aiming to educate, rather than shame, the participants.
“The ‘victims’ trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history,” writes the museum. “But we should discuss this not to shame & attack young people whose motivation seem very diverse. It’s an educational challenge.”
The ‘victims’ trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history.
But we should discuss this not to shame & attack young people whose motivation seem very diverse. It’s an educational challenge. pic.twitter.com/CB4Ve2uRUK
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 26, 2020
The memorial did its best to toe the line between explaining why this means of “education” is problematic and offensive to the victims, while asking followers to avoid “vilifying, shaming and attacking the young people who may have done something in the wrong way.” Of course, not everyone felt this way.
“I don’t care who you are or whatever your ‘reason’ is for participating in the Holocaust teen on TikTok you are a disgusting human being,” wrote one Twitter user. “Go to a museum if you wanna educate yourself. This is a mockery of the victims and their families and you should be ashamed!”
(via DIY Photography)