My friend Gretchen linked to this Jezebel article and noted that this is one of the reasons she hasn’t started a Youtube vlog. If this doesn’t ring true for you, you’re either completely oblivious or downright delusional about the way women are treated online (and offline too).
No matter what women do on YouTube, they can’t really win. Beauty vloggers have bigger audiences, more lucrative endorsement deals, and are somewhat insulated from the sort of ire flung at comedians and commentators and other How-To’ers. But because their main focus is on hair and makeup, they’re sometimes viewed as somehow intellectually inferior to their non-beauty vlog counterparts (according to The Daily Dot, beauty vloggers were excluded from a Women of YouTube panel at this weekend’s VidCon, an event where YouTube’s most watched and subscribed talk about the highs and lows of vlogging).
But no matter the focus of their content, female vloggers who spoke out at VidCon expressed frustration with the nature of abuse that focuses on their physical appearance rather than on the actual content of their videos. If they’re physically attractive, they’re bombarded with creepy requests to do things like slowly put on silk stockings and post the video (ostensibly so some weirdo can fap to it). If they’re not conventionally attractive, male commenters jump on every opportunity to let the woman in question know that she makes their particular boner unhappy and she should go away forever. If she’s of average attractiveness, commenters use the commenting space to have debates about her fuckability.
Yep. And if she takes a pro-feminism position, just sit back and watch the dehumanization and death threats roll in. I’ve been online a long time, from just before the days of graphical browsers. I saw it on more than 20 years ago. I’ve said from the start that I wouldn’t be a woman on the internet for all the money in the world. It’s bad enough in “meatspace,” but when you give men a little anonymity (yes, yes, I know — #notallmen) the behavior gets even worse.
There is no winning. The same woman is dismissed as being too good looking and therefore nothing but an object of desire and simultaneously as being too ugly to fuck, sometimes by the same guy (the first when they’re hitting on them, the second when they get turned down). And the moment they object to this behavior and call it out, they’re humorless feminist bitches who need to be shut up. It’s all quite repulsive.