Girls on Film: A Response to YouTube Sexism

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As irksome as it is, the general consensus still seems to deem “feminine” traits and interests as “lesser.” There’s this false generalization that women aren’t as capable as men in terms of creativity, intelligence, taking care of themselves or contributing to society. It’s assumed that we’re only good for taking care of our appearances and crying our feelings out.

Take for example the seventh episode of Becoming Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsRHDdHsFo8), a documentary series about UK-based Youtubers. Benjamin Cook, the host of this documentary, has previously done a splendid job in discussing different aspects of the website, or rather, the community within the website. But this time he wasn’t quite spot on.

The aforementioned episode focused on female Youtubers and posed the question, “Why do you think more girls don’t do Youtube?” This was followed by the acknowledgment of beauty gurus but then contradicted with “putting them aside,” suggesting they aren’t important. And this sort of example is why girls usually aren’t taken seriously. Do they “not count” because their content doesn’t target the male population?

Sure, some of their videos are repetitive and dull, just like any other content created, and it’s unnecessary to create a clear dichotomy between what is “real” content and what isn’t. They use their creativity to produce their videos, they express themselves through lookbooks (especially in the case of fashion gurus), make up and DIY’s, and THAT itself is an art form. They learn about lighting and camera settings, about video making, presenting, vlogging, making tutorials. That itself IS creating content, that itself IS what Youtube content creators are for. And they aren’t any different from the “successful” male Youtubers, because a number of these gurus are Youtube partners as well, only less recognized.

Consequently, is it wrong to have feminine qualities regardless of gender? Do we really need to eliminate them, or limit them at least, in order to be included and to be taken seriously as women?

Cook has also mentioned that in order for the women of Youtube to be recognized, they should be good at what they do (such as vlogging) and they need to create “good” content in order to gain a wider audience and more views.

Honestly, it’s a matter of preference between what is “good” and what isn’t. There is literally no objectively good video that every single person will like. And speaking of supposedly good content, a lot of the top, successful male Youtubers don’t exactly have the best of ideas. But again, it doesn’t make their content any less “real.”

Judging by the trend in some video responses, the (existing!) women of Youtube say they’re afraid of gaining subscribers because of the harassment they face. They deal with an unrealistic expectation to find the perfect balance to avoid harassment. If you’re too pretty, you’ll be harassed. Too ugly and you’ll be mocked.  They can’t wear too much make up because it hides their “true beauty” – it doesn’t matter if they enjoy it. They have to be smart in what they’re saying but simultaneously funny, and their content must be really “good,” otherwise people won’t watch their videos. One can only acquire and excel in certain skills, it’s impossible to be everything. We are humans after all.

A large number of female Youtubers have spoken up and expressed their feelings towards this controversy. Here are some additional video responses to the documentary episode:

“Women.” by MissxRojas:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCD94__mBsI&list=FL_stcrLNvqi3A21uCoui1hg

“I’m A Girl On Youtube” by Amenakin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slNa6M-rMYQ

“One Of Those Girls On Youtube Videos” by JustMargaret:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlkmhheKmow

-Tasya Abdullah, Contributor

 

Image found via Google Images.

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