Hello everyone! Question of the day: does anyone else watch YouTube Beauty Gurus, and if so, have you noticed a lot of nasty comments on their videos lately? I wanted to address the issue, but I have to be honest, I’m a little scared. The best way to attract internet trolls is to mention them. I think they’re like Beetlejuice–say their name 3 times and they appear. At any rate, the issue of online bullying is important, so come with me, if you will, to take a walk down memory lane.
The year is 2008. YouTube is somewhat new, and if you’re browsing it, you’re happy just to find a video with 360p quality, forget HD. One of the biggest makeup/beauty gurus at the time is a woman named Lauren Luke, producing videos under the name Panacea81. If you don’t remember her, that’s fine. She has largely faded from the spotlight in recent years and now only makes videos here and there. But at one point, she had TV interviews, guest columns, and even her own game. She was one of the first beauty gurus to launch her own makeup line. Lauren is not the typical beauty guru we see today–although she isn’t shockingly heavy, she speaks openly about the bullying she received because of her weight. In those days, her comments sections were dominated by people either fawning over her makeup looks or putting in suggestions for her next tutorial. Every now and then you see a mean comment, but other people generally respond in her defense. As an avid watcher in those days, I remember someone criticizing her for having her hair in a ponytail while doing her makeup, saying that it looked sloppy and destroyed the overall effect. Even though plenty of people weighed in to say that didn’t matter, after that, Lauren always styled her hair in her makeup videos. That always left a bad taste in my mouth.
Fast forward to 2015 and looking at the comments on these videos read like a competition of who can out-Regina George the others. Some videos get a lot of positive feedback, but sadly, click on many beauty videos and the first comments you see are either mean ones or ones responding to “all the negative comments.” Sure, there are some things that can be considered constructive criticism, but in what world can comments like “was like ‘she’s so pretty’ and once I saw you without makeup I was like O.o sorry” ever be construed as constructive? Even worse is that when users like Meg Kroh, aka ciaoobelllaxo, disable the comments or delete mean comments, they face additional criticism.
People seem to think bullying big name gurus isn’t a big deal. Maybe they think that the guru won’t read their comment or maybe they just don’t care. But even if the gurus never read the comments (which based on Lauren Luke, we know isn’t true for at least some of them) writing mean comments is still harmful. What about the little girl who wants to do makeup videos of her own someday, but is scared off by all the bullying? I’ll admit that I’m a grown woman, and I was a little hesitant to start a blog because I was afraid of all the negative backlash I just expected to be hurled at me. Luckily, I find that the beauty blogging community on WordPress is supportive of each other. I’m thankful that we’ve been able to be kind to each other and mostly avoid mean comments. Can we keep it that way? Thank you to everyone who takes time out of their day to leave nice comments. It makes the blogging community special.