Put down the pitchforks, please!
I’m not a YouTube hater. Actually, I love YouTube! Both as a viewer and creator.
YouTube has allowed generations of beauty lovers to level-up faster than the speed of light. Back in the day, our mothers and older sisters were looking ashy and mismatched until at least 30 years of age.
They eventually reached peak fineness through a painful combo of blood, sweat, tears, over-relaxed hair that eventually fell out, fuchsia lipstick that didn’t match their undertones, and that one brown shade of powder they could find in Boots.
We salute them for their struggles, but thankfully, we don’t have to go through the same thing. YouTube has saved us!
Thanks to the likes of Jackie Aina, peakmill, MahoganyCurls and Jennie Jenkins, we all know how to contour, lay our lace-fronts, and shade-match our own foundation.
So, thanks, YouTube. Seriously. Because life is hard enough without throwing square brows into the mix.
But, like everything in this world, YouTube is not inherently positive. No; YouTube is a tool, and it can be wielded for evil just as often as it is for good.
And in light of that fact, please allow me to take off my creator hat for a minute and whine to you all about YouTube’s many—many, many—flaws.
I know. I’m a diamond.
Here it is, kids: 10 Things I Hate About You(Tube).
I know you were ready for this one.
As the beauty community on YouTube grows in net worth, it also grows in size. The number of YouTubers hoping to make a career out of being gorgeous gets bigger every day, and even amongst the highest ranks, competition is fierce.
But basic economics dictates that there can only be a finite number of Jaclyn Hills and Manny MUAs (thank God).
Because of this, you can add YouTube clickbait to the list of baffling phenomena created by late-stage capitalism. Thanks, inherently oppressive social order! Ahem. Whu sed dat?!
Head over to your ‘recommended’ page at any time and find at least ten video titles that you KNOW are pure nonsense.
OMG, Dog Does My Makeup?
Mascara Got Me PREGNANT????
lol r u sure
WHY FENTY BEAUTY SUCKS!
Sure it does, Bethany. Sure it does.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick of rolling my eyes every time I hop on the ‘Tube. It’s giving me a headache.
Please, YouTubers of the world: chill.
Now, take this one with a pinch of salt—because I’m being kind of hypocritical by including it.
I’m as basic as any other bitch out there, and I love a splash of drama. Not life-damaging stuff that revels in the misfortunes of others; just your average gossip. So I do watch a single drama channel on a semi-regular basis. If you think you can guess which one, leave a comment.
Howwwwever, the channels dedicated to dragging influencers and the industry at large are starting to overdo it.
The market is saturated; I understand. Desperation is real. But I’m gonna need some of these channels to stop tearing every YouTuber’s character and personal life to shreds just for the views.
I think it’s great that there’s now a control mechanism in place to monitor the industry. After all, influencers aren’t perfect—and I’ll get deeper into that further down the list.
But there’s a difference between a wealthy influencer who uses their platform irresponsibly being exposed, and a small creator being thrust into the spotlight via cruel and largely baseless accusations. The latter happens far too often, whereas frankly, the former doesn’t happen enough.
Address the balance of power, drama channels! Shake the table! Please!
Of course, they won’t. For several reasons, including…
By which I mean: racism, colourism, texturism, and the good, old hive-mindset responsible for social hierarchies everywhere.
Yeah. You thought you could escape people’s social biases? You thought YouTube was a true democracy? Well, I’ve got news for you, pal: democracy iS FLAWED ANYWAY. YEAH. BEYONCÉ FOR INTERNATIONAL DICTATOR 2018 AND BEYOND.
By which I mean, the issues we experience in real life do, of course, exist on YouTube. Because, surprise: YouTube is real life!
Many people have a (subconscious or conscious) bias against darker skin, kinkier hair… Or, y’know, anything other than lily-white, long-nosed acceptableness. And those people log into YouTube every day, and—again, either subconsciously or consciously—support the creators who fit their idea of true beauty.
That’s just the way it is.
YouTube has actually been very powerful in the cyber-fight against inequality (am I the only one who calls it that? Surely not, right? Pls respond). Thanks to creators of colour finally making content that centres us, the underrepresented, we’ve had space to support each other and work together towards change.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day. And this wouldn’t be a whiny, negative post if I focused on the good. It’s 10 Things I HATE, not 10 Things I Think Might Eventually Improve.So for now, I’ll just lament the way that societal bollocks infringes on the wonderful world of YouTube.
And there’s one person in particular who kind of sums up the problem…
Yep. Bad boy gets a whole entry of his own.
Not because he’s special—he’s actually painfully mundane, so very common in his behaviour, attitude and image that he’s practically a caricature. No; it’s because he is a handy symbol of everything that’s wrong with our society. And also because God damn, he gets on my last nerve.
Where to begin with this kid? He is, of course, famed for his unbelievable racism and misogyny. I won’t get into that, because frankly, I don’t have the time.
In terms of his YouTube presence, one thing that especially pisses me off is his habit of destroying wildly expensive things for no bloody reason, except perhaps to seem super edgy and/or rub his wealth in the face of the peasants.
This guy is an American. Currently, there are like a million people in his country who don’t have basic human needs–from water in Flint to electricity in Puerto Rico.
And how is he spending his time? Why, filming videos like this, of course:
Yet despite how completely insufferable he is, Jeffree continues to flourish on YouTube. He has 5.5 MILLION subscribers and makes an absolute bomb off of his videos. Because life is a bitch.
Even blocking him (by the way, can I? Please? Like, is there a way?) wouldn’t make YouTube safe. An alarming number of influencers and brands continue to support, promote, and collaborate with this human microbe. Which, again, really sums up the way that YouTube is infected with society’s sickness.
Not to mention the other factor in the popularity of Jeffree and people like him, which is…
Perhaps this was to be expected. As I already mentioned, YouTubers really saved us from ourselves. They shared their beauty skills with the world, and if this were the Middle Ages we would probably worship a few of them as gods.
I mean, it’s 2017 and I kind of worship Jackie Aina as a god. So. The impact is real.
But I honestly feel like the cult of celebrity that’s sprung up around many YouTubers is having a negative impact on the community.
This was brought to my attention when I mentioned never having heard of some white YouTuber or other—I can’t remember which one. As a black person with brown skin and natural hair, I have never had cause to go trawling through the ‘mainstream’ (read: white) section of YouTube. That place isn’t for me.
I do have some YouTube faves who are white or white skinned—for example, my good sis Stephanie Nicole, the sweetest milky bar you’ll ever meet.
But in general, white YouTubers aren’t on my radar because they don’t want to be. They don’t bother catering to viewers like me, because they know they don’t have to.
So I mentioned my ignorance of this white YouTuber’s existence—and people went wild. Wild with rage, I mean. They were incensed.
They couldn’t believe that I was truly unaware of their fave, because to them, their fave was on a level with… I don’t know, Britney Spears. Or at least Katy Perry. Therefore, they decided, my claim of ignorance must actually be a snub. Clearly, I was a hater.
Now, let me make something clear: Cher has haters. Jay Z has haters. Your omg ultimate fave JessiBeauty92!! does not.
I completely understand admiring these gurus—seriously, I do. I stan several of them, for Christ’s sake! But I stan responsibly. You should too. The cult of celebrity is toxic for all involved.
Your faves are human, and they are fallible. Which brings me nicely to our next topic.
Super fandom can harm influencers too.
You may think that your boundless adoration could only be a good thing—but the elevation of influencers to celebrity status has created some very high standards. High standards that may well be locking amazing talent out of the YouTube sphere.
This isn’t something people tend to think about, but generally speaking, the ability to create a YouTube channel requires certain privileges.
Take myself, for example. Once upon a time, I decided to start a blog. This blog, actually. From there, I began experimenting with hair and beauty; I bought a camera to document my experiments.
Then I decided to start my channel. I bought another camera, one that could video; I was given a MacBook so that I could edit. I forked out on a crap-ton of makeup and products, because I had money.
My mother was supporting me financially through my degree, and so I didn’t have a job: this gave me spare time to create. In short, this all required the kind of money, time, and energy that not everyone has.
I’m a lucky bitch, is what I’m saying here.
And for me, YouTube is a hobby. If I were trying to make something of it—as many people are, especially these days—I’d have to invest even more.
But back in the day when your vintage faves were first starting out, all that was required was a camera phone, their makeup bag, and their personality.
I mean, I’m definitely simplifying here; kinda like how historical romance includes all the fancy clothes and none of the rotten teeth. But you feel me.
Look at the kind of videos influencers were once producing to start out. Now compare them to the kind of first videos we see today. The trend is clear.
The more that YouTube influencers are celebrated, the higher standards of production become. You might like that, in theory; but I can’t stop thinking about the people with little resources and a lot of talent. I hope they find their way into the mix somehow.
Another downside to the platform becoming super-professional and whatnot—aside from the sensible ponytail and kitten heels YouTube now wears at all times. Live a little, sis!—is the way that producing videos has become a race against time.
When a new product is dropped, everybody wants the tea now, now, NOW! And it seems to me that some influencers are so eager to meet that instant demand, they skimp out on quality. I understand; their subscribers are literally their income source, so they want to keep us tiny beauty demons happy.
But damn, I miss the days when YouTubers could take a breath in between videos. Certain influencers are in such a hurry to release their review before anyone else, they forget to make the review useful.
Which brings me to my next complaint…
We all know what a first impressions vid is, right?
For those of you who actually don’t know anything about YouTube, and are just here because you love me and want to give me page views (hi, Ma), I’ll explain.
A first impressions video is one in which the YouTuber uses a new product for—you guessed it!—the very first time, and gives their thoughts. It’s a fun format often used for newly released products or younger brands. If you need further illustration, feel free to check out this first impressions vid I did for Beauty Bakerie’s Lip Whips.
(Spoiler alert: they’re amazing and they own my heart. Also, my lips.)
And what is a review? Well, a review is a well-rounded and in-depth judgement of a product based on someone’s experiences using said product. In the case of beauty products, it may include filmed examples of the item’s effects, collected throughout the day or even over a series of days, to chart how it performs over time. For example, this video by Too Much Mouth.
So tell me why, recently, many YouTubers appear to be confusing the two?
Allow me to speak plainly for a moment—and no, I haven’t been speaking plainly this whole time. I’ve been on a two, my pretties. I’m about to dial it up to a solid four. You’re welcome.
If you bust open this foundation/spot cream/leave-in all of five minutes ago, I am not interested in anything you have to say about it. I promise you: your review will be ill-informed, incomplete, and ultimately useless.
If you can’t tell me how a foundation wears through the day, or whether it clogs your pores, you cannot expect me to watch your review.
If you can’t tell me how many days that curling cream keeps your hair moisturised, you cannot expect me to watch your review.
If you can’t tell me whether or not this mascara will survive the thrice-daily crying fits us menstruating folks all experience during our cycle, you cannot expect me to watch your review.
Wait—what? You’re telling me we don’t all… Have those thrice-daily…
Okay, you know what? I’m gonna need you to focus on what really matters, here. Let’s move on.
The point is, YOU CANNOT GIVE ME A FIRST IMPRESSIONS VIDEO AND CALL IT A REVIEW. Okay?
Because thus far I have controlled my annoyance and limited my response to a thumbs down. But one of these days I’m gonna lose it and hack into your account and delete the damn video. Okay? You have been warned.
Now, as the influencing industry has grown, we’ve experienced many positives—and when I say ‘we’, I speak for both viewers and creators.
However, there are also downsides to the industrialisation of a sphere that was originally intended to exist separately from big business. I’m sorry; I couldn’t figure out how to say that without using pretentiously long words.
Once upon a time, part of the appeal of beauty channels was the fact that they were independent. We knew that their opinions must be honest, because what reason did they have to lie?
Now, however, things are different. Very different. YouTube has become a twisted, dystopic version of its former self because—just as it does with everything—capitalism came along and BADDED A BITCH UP.
Think of it like this: influencers make videos. People enjoy those videos. People request more. Influencers oblige. Influencers are now putting so much time and energy into videos that they barely have time to do anything else—including work. Influencers need to work, so that they can make money, so that they can not die.
So what do the influencers do? They turn YouTube into their job, of course. Now they can make videos and, y’know, survive all at once!
Except, there’s one small problem with that: human goddamn nature.
By which I mean: the fact that we as a species are kinda designed to do whatever it takes to get on top. This is sometimes a good thing: it’s the reason why, for example, we rule the earth and sharks do not.
But it’s also a bad thing, because within our society, it often inspires people to do dishonest things in the pursuit of sweet, sweet cash. Which I kind of understand, because more money = more ice cream, but I also cannot condone.
Now influencers are in a peculiar position: they can make bank off of promoting certain brands’ products; but their ability to do so requires them to have a platform, and in order to have a platform, they need their subscribers to take them seriously.
So what do certain greedy and amoral influencers do? Why, THEY LIE OUT THEY BACKSIDES!
Over the past few years we’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of YouTube channels creating sponsored content without disclosing the fact that said content is sponsored—which is illegal for a reason, by the way.
It’s wrong, it’s often embarrassingly obvious, and it’s creating a climate of suspicion and distrust on YouTube.
So I’d really appreciate it if those responsible could buy themselves a moral compass with all their piles of ill-gotten cash and put it to use in the future.
Now, listen closely, my darling beans. My dearest sweet peas. My precious cherry pies. Hear my words:
No-one is forcing you to watch YouTube.
I know. Radical. I suspect that my typing out the above sentence will result in this website being mysteriously taken down in the dead of night. Because the government doesn’t want you to know the truth! (About anything; literally anything at all.)
But here it is, poppets, plain as I put it: you are watching YouTube voluntarily. You click on these influencers’ videos voluntarily. You consume their content voluntarily.
They are not forcing their opinions on lipstick and face masks down your throat.
I’m assuming that everyone knows this, right? Surely, they must.
So tell me why I see SO. Many. Comments. From viewers informing influencers that everything about them, from their hair to their voice to their front teeth to the way they hold their blending brushes, is utterly abhorrent?
Listen; I get it. We all have our little foibles. Mine, for example, is writing unnecessary lists.
Why is yours writing abusive comments?
If a particular YouTuber’s accent or hairstyle or fashion sense gets on your nerves, fair enough. You can’t help that. And guess what? They can’t help who they are. So the most sensible solution to this problem is for you to leave their channel and never, ever return.
And if you decide not to do that… Well, okay. I’ll assume you have your reasons. But you wouldn’t force the frustration created by your own choice onto these innocent creators, would you?
Apparently, some of you would. Although not, I’m assuming, anyone who reads this blog. Because you are all nice people who say kind things to me (pls continue).
But seriously: if you’re going to stay subscribed and continue watching a particular YouTuber, why on God’s green earth would you burst into their comment section every damn time just to tell them that you hate them?
If that’s the case, guess what? You can go! You can leave them in the dust! You can flee their irritating presence and build a new life for yourself; a better life, in a corner of YouTube where you feel truly at peace.
What you shouldn’t do is continue to listen to watch the videos of someone you dislike. I mean… Why are you doing that? Do you enjoy torture?
You are not a brainless blob. You have a mind of your own; a mind that is capable of critical thought, if you’d just let it happen. There is no rule stating that you have to follow every major influencer and watch their videos even if you think they’re crap. No-one is the boss of you but you (and our reptilian overlords).
Look, at the end of the day, life is tough. And in the grand scheme of things, choosing which YouTuber to consult the night before your monthly shopping spree (that is what payday’s for, right?) isn’t a big deal.
So it’s really not that hard to decide who you do and do not want to watch. No-one is forcing you to take on these influencers’ opinions. You get to pick and choose. That’s the beauty of YouTube; you can build your own little world.
Why, in my day, we had a single TV channel and we had to make do!*
*Disclaimer: I just made this up; I am literally twenty-one years of age.
So please, stop whining in these influencers’ comment sections. Unless you have a genuine issue with their content, and you’re going to follow that up by unsubscribing and never watching their worthless videos ever again. Otherwise, you’re just wasting internet space.
And the internet is infinite, so that’s really saying something.
If you made it to the end of this seemingly endless rant without skipping any of the entries, well done! You have earned my undying respect. If you read a couple hundred words and then scrolled down to this paragraph, you have also earned my respect. I admire efficiency.
Those of you who want more nonsense in your lives are welcome to follow me on Twitter: @naturallytiss.
And if this post hasn’t put you off of YouTube forever, feel free to subscribe to my channel.
Aaaaand I guess that’s my cue to disappear.