Monday's episode of Becoming Youtube caused quite a stir online. Becoming Youtube is a 12 part documentary series about this new phenomena of online vloggers. This weeks episode discussed women on youtube and whether or not gender affected your success. Watch here. My response video here.
I really appreciate the episode trying to approach such an important but hot button topic. I felt Benjamin Cook, the mastermind behind this series. tried to approach this as tactfully as possible. And I appreciated him explaining how he chose who to interview because I've been wondering for several episodes why there isn't a balance of men and women highlighted in the series. As we move forward with the discussion, let's remember to be civil because many of the comments on Youtube and twitter were a bit aggressive and accusatory.
I thought Hazel's example hit the nail in the head. A female killing a male patient has a different connotation than a male dentist killing a female patient. Like it or not it is just different because people are perceived differently based on their gender.
I'm just as guilty of this as anyone, but 75% of the channels I subscribed to were created by men. Until the Lady's Youtube Panel at Vidcon panel brought it to my attention, I hadn't noticed. Since then I have found countless female you tubers that create amazing content. The take away from this isn't a lack of female content creators but a lack of recognition from other media sources about some of these amazing channels.
I don't have an answer for this, but I also find it interesting that the most successful you tubers are white males. I don't hear nearly as much from an Asian or an African American you tuber male or female. This brings up the question, Does race affect your popularity on youtube? This is such a complex question, that I would love a second series of Becoming Youtube to address race. We live in such a rich and diverse societies, I want to see that reflected in the content I watch and create.
I think we need to define what it means to be a successful you tuber. Is it making your living solely from youtube videos? Is it the number of subscribers and view count? Becoming Youtube has used the definition of most views and high number of subscribers. But one thing that is left out of the conversation is how engaged is your audience. I've had many amazing discussions in the MissxRojas or Owlsayshoot videos. Those discussions are just as important as half a million people passively watching a video because these conversations can create change.
I was afraid to start vlogging for a long time because of potential backlash. I've read some of the nasty comments geared towards female you tubers that usually involve her looks and racial slurs towards. All of these comments are about things that cannot be changed. Thoughtful criticism suggests improvement on content as opposed to vicious hate. Like if someone hates a video that I've made, well it might not be their type of content. If they start harassing me about my appearance, well that's something that is permanent. This is a very heavy quote but comedian Chelsea Perretti said "Men's biggest fear is that women will laugh at them. And women's biggest fear is that men will rape them." Even if that quote is half true, the perceived level of risk and danger is much different between men and women. Historically it is also more dangerous for someone who isn't white.
For all content creators but especially new you tubers, more people need to speak out and say it okay to try something new and have it not work out. Looking at the landscape today, things are very polished with nice equipment and higher production values by people who have been creating things for years. To be honest, all of that scared me away from making videos for months and months and months. The point that changed things for me was Charlie McDonnell's I'm Scared Video and it's rippling effects across the internet of creators saying they were scared and second guessing themselves. If the "successful" you tubers I watched were still scared and nervous to post their creations, than it was okay for me to be as well. Then crabstickz encouraged everyone to make videos and that no one starts out amazing. Male or female, we need to be more willing to take risks and try things and supporting everyone as they try new things.
Thank you to Benjamin Cook starting this great discussion. There is a great list of female content creators floating around the internet and a new website to highlight amazing female channels Wonderly.com.