I live in a YouTube haze most days. I’m kinda addicted to those short video snippets of people’s lives and inner thoughts. YouTube is a vehicle for comedy, social growth, and a community that is unique in and of itself (it’s like bloggers on growth hormones). There’s a beauty in seeing and hearing people while they share themselves, blogging 2.0. The problem with this, as with blogging, is that there can be a lot of hate, sexism, and ignorance on YouTube.
This was never more evident that it was last week when Sam Pepper was called out by his YouTube brethren, and YouTube viewers, for his blatant sexual abuse of women. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should watch Laci Green’s video at the end of this post (or just watch her videos in general because she is amazing). In the video Laci explains the fundamental issue with Sam Pepper and his prank/social experiment. The fundamental issue is that he is sexually assaulting women for likes, shares and laughs. Only sexual abuse is not a laughing matter and should never be treated like one.
The sad thing is that all too often behavior just like this is laughed at, found to be no big deal, and excused as ‘boys being boys’ or ‘in good fun’. I think one of the most horrifying parts of this whole ‘scandal’ is that SO many people are defending the video and calling the woman in the video “sluts who laughed about it after the fact” and who “liked it”. Let’s chat a second about the serious issues with that.
You have girls with a camera on them, being faced with an internet ‘celeb’ and trying not to act like they mind because they don’t want to rock the boat. That does not mean they are okay with it. Saying that if Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp did it, women wouldn’t mind is also ridiculous. Nobody’s body (male or female) should be touched without their consent. Period.
I can honestly say that I think the world is on the edge of some serious change when it comes to gender equality and basic human equality. Emma Watson is still getting internet buzz for her UN Women speech that she gave where the invites men to support the feminist cause for gender equality. She was eloquent and spoke from the heart. While she’s still getting death threats and hate I see many more rallying, standing up and saying they agree, and taking ownership of their feminism.
The word itself is losing it’s stigma, little by little, and women (and men) aren’t hesitating as much to identify as feminists. People are seeing the blatant sexism and unequal balances of gender and are speaking about it. Change comes from awareness. Every conversation helps. Every person who stands up to say that they won’t support a content creator (fancy name for YouTuber) who makes ‘prank’ videos where they sexually assault people, degrade people, make racist videos, or are homophobic are making a difference.
Men can take the #HeForShe pledge, women you can be vocal about your desire for change, and everyone can be an advocate for the daughters, sisters, friends, mothers, and women of the world. Times are changing, be a part of it.