The online world has become a huge platform for young people. In particular there is a growing successful community of what have come to be known as ‘YouTubers’, people who make their living through posting material on the video sharing site. Zoe Sugg, Tanya Burr, Pixi Woo, are among many beauty gurus who make YouTube videos about make-up, fashion and lifestyle. Both Tanya Burr and Zoe Sugg also have daily vlogs which show their ordinary lives as do the SacconeJoly’s a family – mum, dad, two young children – of ‘daily vloggers’, who invite you to ‘be part of their journey. What is apparent amongst all of these videos is the embedded taken-for-granted nature of heterosexuality, yet, as Akile Ahmet shows in this post, YouTube also provides spaces for other ways of being.
Posts Tagged ‘YouTuber’
When thinking about masculinity and popularity, the ‘coolest’ boys have traditionally been those who physically intimidated their peers through aggression, misogyny and homophobia. In this guest blog, Max Morris asks whether this model of popularity still exists for members of the YouTube Generation by looking at some of the UK’s most popular vloggers (or video bloggers). He argues that these vloggers reflect how many boys today find homophobia to be unacceptable and value public displays of affection – often by sharing photos, videos and emotional care work on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
We learnt about a lot of things from the young people who we interviewed for this project. YouTubers opened up a whole new world of micro-celebrities, people whose fame derives from their channels on this website rather than via the more traditional media of television and film. Although there’s a growing number of influential young women beauty vloggers, the YouTubers who came up in our data were mostly male gamers, animators or comedians. But two women stood out: Tampon Girl who was hated and Jenna Marbles who was loved. As we explored their channels, Jenna Marbles struck us as someone challenging dominant ideas around women, weight loss and fashion. In her latest and 200th video, which we discuss in this post, she challenges dominant ideas of aspiration, success and the future.
All of the young people we’ve interviewed distinguish between good reasons and bad reasons for being famous. Kim’s written about the frequent disgust directed towards Kim Kardashian both in our interviews and in the media – not only is she called upon as an example of ‘famous for nothing’ celebrity, but she is seen to have risen to fame via a sex tape and has chosen ‘inappropriate’ bumpwear consisting of tight clothing and lowcut tops. However, it’s in 15-year-old Giovanni Plowman, aka Tampon Girl, that we can most clearly see the strong association between female bodies and notions of ‘undeserving’ celebrity. In January 2013 Giovanni Plowman uploaded a video of herself to YouTube which showed her sucking on a used tampon – after she’s removed it off camera – and then throwing up, also off camera. She shot to fame overnight – even becoming an internet meme. What shocks me, isn’t the video itself, it’s the reaction: the widespread – almost universal – disgust that her actions, and she, elicit both online and from the young people we’ve met in our research.