The Women of YouTube

I noticed recently that I have been getting more views on posts where I have discussed something I am passionate about, so here comes another one, I hope you enjoy!

One of my passions is social media/networking sites. I use them for work and like how they can make things more accessible to students. That’s not to say I like making things easy for students but if someone prefers a facebook/twitter update to a lengthy email I’m all about providing that for them. This has also makes me more accessible in my role which I think is important.

One of the areas I have not ventured into is YouTube, mainly because I prefer writing and am in fact rubbish on camera! I probably spend too much of my time watching YouTube videos (there, I said it) and there are some firm favorites I have on there and they all seem to be female, I don’t know if that is coincidence or a subconscious craving from my inner feminist. I wanted to write about some of the women I have followed and it just so happens there have been a few articles going around about one female ‘Youtuber’  lately. There has also been a lot of online women hating going on recently as well,  to the point where some women have stopped creating online content all together which I think is sad.

With this in mind, I think now more than ever we need strong female representation in all media. I’m writing about these people because I think they are all great for different reasons. Not that they need my help promoting them nor do they need my validation. I wonder what you think of these? Please comment and let me know… 

Jenna Marbles

She was one of the first YouTubers I started following. I think my sister may have told me about her and it was just after I graduated from uni. I was sat on my parent’s sofa unemployed I had lots of time on my hands. I found her videos hilarious. I saw a little of myself in her (the angry, sweary loud part not the good looking, LA part) and loved how she made fun of herself. She cheered me up at a time I was feeling like I’d just wasted serious money on a degree, footage of her pretending to sob over her degree made me feel as though I wasn’t alone.

More recently however I find myself in two minds about her, on one hand she has done a really down to earth ‘thank you’ video in which she articulates not having adult life figured out yet (coz who does right?) and she says that she is OK with that which I think is an important message.

lsp

 

On the other hand she has also started going down a different road with the comedic videos, one of the her latest videos featuring her dogs showed she had been getting them to pretend to hump each other. I won’t go down the animal activist route and try and say that was cruelty to animals but I just found it weird and not funny. She later provided a ‘PG version’ for the people who took offence. I think that showed sensitivity to her audience and I actually found that video a lot more enjoyable. However, she had a lot of comments where viewers were saying that others clearly couldn’t take a joke…*rolls eyes* I think I definitely prefer her older videos.

She has also come under scrutiny about her body in one way or another with people speculating about how she keeps her figure. Like that even matters, maybe pay more attention to her words and actions than the way she looks? Content people CONTENT!

jenna marbles

 

All this aside, Jenna taught me that it is OK to be loud/sweary/ranty sometimes.

Hannah Hart

I started following her around the same time I started watching Jenna Marbles. She is the creator of My Drunk Kitchen which I think is a genius idea.

She covers LGBT issues as well and talks about coming out and accepting who you are which is  really positive. I think it’s important that these things are communicated by people who have been through the process and are able to support their peers who are doing the same.

Another example of how she has positively influenced people’s live I found on Tumblr and was in the form of a post by someone who recovered from an eating disorder because she had watched Hannah and learned that it’s OK to have fun with food which I think is just amazing. Hannah is also in to social enterprise and has set up the ‘have a hart’ day  scheme. She mobilises her fans or ‘Hartosexuals’ to volunteer, spreading positivity around at food banks and local charities which I think shows the power of using a YouTube fan base for good.

Oh and did I mention the book?

*boop boop*
*boop boop*

Hannah Hart came under online fire when she dared to mention the American Health care system in one of her videos (wait you can be whimsical and have serious opinions too?!) She chose to get a teensy put Political (not to the point of ranting or shoving her ideas down people’s throats) and she lost followers because of that. Which sucks.

Hannah Hart taught me that you can turn something you love into something creative and productive! 

Laci Green

Probably my favorite of this list but not the least controversial. I can’t remember how I came across her posts but I loved her no bullshit approach to telling people about sex and relationships. She seemed to mention things a lot of people would steer clear of. Having done my (rubbish) dissertation on sex education and longing to one day be a teacher myself I was intrigued by her approach to talking about sex and relationships.

sex plus

Like Hannah Hart she also tackles LGBT issues and even bought people onto her channel to explain things from their point of view, again cutting through the rubbish and addressing things head on and in a non-patronising manner.

Although she is popular, I have since read how some of her comments have been misconstrued or have caused offence. I don’t know how reliable this info is but there have been posts highlighting the problems with some of the things she says. I only mention this in the interests of being balanced while writing about her, I haven’t read the linked material in lots of detail but it hasn’t made me think any less of her as I am unsure whether it is backlash from some of the recent support and campaigning she has been doing … make of that what you will.

laci green

Regardless of whether some of the things mentioned in the above linked article are true; Laci Green taught me that sometimes you have to fight to be heard and that you should never give up on a cause you believe in. That’s WHY I still persevere with mentioning EndoUK I have messaged her before asking her to do an episode of Sex+ on Endometriosis but I know she is super busy.

The ones I can’t quite decide if I like…

Zoella

I have only ever come across her in collaborative videos and in the ads at the beginning of youtube videos so I can’t comment on her in great detail. There were two recent articles debating whether she is a positive role model or a  negative one. I link those here so you can make up your own mind. It looks as though she is a savvy student who has mastered her personal brand and online presence to enhance her chances to landing a job she loves – fair play!

*correction: not a student

This link sums her up quite nicely (if someone can be summed up in a link) and she has been accused of not writing her record breaking book alone. I don’t care if she had help and wasn’t surprised a ghost writer was mentioned but there are people who are famous who do NOTHING, so what if she didn’t write her book on her own?

Grace Helbig

Grace has a quirky style to her videos. One of her best videos I think is one that parodies tutorial videos. I have recently gone off of her videos but maybe it’s just a humour thing?

Like Hannah Hart, Grace has written a book. Hers gives top tips for being an adult from her point of view, I have skimmed through the book sample online and some of it sounds great and other parts I cringe a little.

This leads me on to an important point about a lot of the people I encounter online and that is the notion of everyone being an ‘expert’ in something. It is hard to strike a balance between giving advice, being knowledgeable about something and not coming across as arrogant. I think this is especially challenging for women who are often described as being ‘bossy’ or needing to chill out.

What these people all have in common

Obviously by putting yourself online you risk annoying or offending people and obviously not everyone is going to like you. But what these women all have in common is that they have made a name for themselves and have had to face massive criticism in one way or the other. I don’t think I follow enough guys on YouTube but I don’t think guys tend to get criticised as much.

One male YouTuber in particular still managers to have millions of fans despite his disgusting behaviour. If people spent less energy on picking on some of the content produced by the women mentioned above and more time looking at the actual morons on YouTube then I think there would be more ‘healthy’ online content.

These YouTube channels also manage to do something I would love to do but would never have the guts or creativity to pull off. They absolutely own their personal brand and through both their successes and failures highlight the need for being digitally literate (whether they know it or not). Like a lot of people they are trying to be experts on a platform saturated with people doing the same, be that through tutorials or rants.

So what’s missing?

My (extremely naive) YouTube wish list:

  •  Fewer stupid YouTube comments in general… yeah right
  • Comments or actions to stop damaging and in some case criminal YouTube content.
  • Greater digital literacy from YouTube viewers about what they watch, pay attention to and share
  • A channel or YouTuber who talks about Endometriosis in an accessible way

If there are any channels you think I have missed from this post, please enlighten me by leaving a comment or find me on twitter @eemaalou !

A BIG Thank you!

Before writing this post I reached out to my nearest and dearest Feminist Society via their facebook group asking them who their favorite female youtubers were and I was amazed at how limited my knowledge was. I need to find time to consider lots of other women on youtube and their contributions, so big thanks to those of you who contributed, for broadening my YouTube horizons.

Some other women on YouTube that were mentioned are (disclaimer: I haven’t looked at all of these in details, I am trusting people’s suggestions)

I found it interesting that there were no votes in the poll I set up for Hannah Hart, Jenna Marbles, Zoella or Miranda Sings but that could be an age thing as I think those channels may have a younger target audience.

 

 

 

 

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Author: eemaa27

Blogging and reflecting to keep my writing skills in tune

1 thought on “The Women of YouTube”

  1. Zoella isn’t a student – she gave up on studying after A-levels.
    She also has a few videos explaining her reasoning and advocating for “getting a real life experience” and not going to university.

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