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Over the years, YouTube has shown itself to be a platform for virtually anyone. It hosts videos of family members so it’s easier to connect and its a place for dancers to show off new choreography. And no matter which person you are on YouTube, you are always granted the potential to live out your dream. Recently, trends have shown that the most sought after dream is stardom and many have turned to the beauty community to achieve such goal.
The popularization of this path has illustrated its benefits and its faults. These faults, though, have yet to be realized by many people. The usage of YouTube as a business medium has magnified a need for subscribers and views to sustain said business. And as YouTubers have evolved to attain this mindset we see that what they set out to be occasionally replicates predecessors and is always influenced by them. As they take and take and resolve to fulfill their dreams, many of them fall victim to becoming too absorbed in these goals. And unbeknownst to most of them, they’ve become the predecessor, laying down the tracks for the future.
As someone who’s aware of what’s happening on social media, it wasn’t difficult to note the quick progression toward a different tone concerning video making. YouTube has evolved as a means of work, and for the most part, it’s not seen as a hobby. In the beauty community, many find income from sponsorship, in which products and/or monetary compensation is awarded for reviewing a brand.
Many of these beauty YouTubers claim that they only do this when they truly feel passionate about a product, but Marlena Stell, a YouTuber and the founder of the makeup brand Makeup Geek, claimed otherwise.
In a YouTube video entitled My Truth Regarding The Beauty Community, she said, “It’s a very compatible time. There are thousands of beauty influencers that just want to make a name for themselves. They want to share their love of makeup, they want to have something they’re passionate about and support their livelihood by doing something they love. Some, unfortunately, want to do this because they want to be famous, they want to have a nice paycheck, they want to go on trips, they, you know, want to have the fame and not really share the love of the beauty industry.”
With statements like that from Stell, it’s only natural to call into question the intentions of many renowned beauty YouTubers, who more recently demonstrated the immense amount of wrongdoings they commit to help uplift themselves and conceal their true forms.
Major players include Jeffree Star, Tati Westbrook, James Charles, Nikkie de Jager, and Manny MUA upon many others. Many of these YouTubers are beloved and followed by many. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that they often find themselves in inexcusable situations.
The most recent and publicized scandal within the community was amongst Manny MUA, Gabriel Zamora, Laura Lee, Nikita Dragun, and Jeffree Star. Each YouTuber considered each other friends or were at least on friendly terms until their very public falling out.
Star has had a controversial past, to say the least. He’s received countless backlash on his videos, lifestyle choices, and on his comments on others upon many other things. Despite this, Star, Lee, and Manny remained friends. Their friendship was displayed through several video collaborations and social media posts. During late 2017, it was obvious that Star was no longer friends with Lee and Manny with several tweets aimed at each other. In a since deleted tweet about Lee, Star said “you know nothing about her personally. Her soul is pure evil.” Neither party officially responded to feud claims after the controversy.
In August fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson filmed a docu-series about Star. In the series, Star addressed many of his scandals, including his racist past where he used slurs and appropriated another culture. It’s understood that Star has been forgiven and most people have moved on. This obviously wasn’t the case for everyone. Zamora, not too long after the release of Dawson’s video on Star, which was titled The Life of Jeffree Star, tweeted out a photo with the mentioned content-creators, with the caption “b*tch is bitter because without him we’re doing better.” Zamora followed up with a tweet that read “Imagine stanning a racist? I could never,” which appeared to be another dig at Star.
Almost instantaneously, Star’s fans came to his aid. It was revealed that Lee had tweets that used the n-word and that undermined police brutality. In addition to that, Dragun and Zamora had old tweets that were racist and snapchats of Manny calling out his Uber for not speaking English resurfaced.
What ensued was the downfall of each and every one (minus Star) of these social media stars.
As the subscriber count of the content creators steadily decreased, they soon issued apology videos. For the most part, they were well received, except for that of Laura Lee. Her video was significantly shorter than the others, amounting to a hefty four minutes. Her video also failed to adequately take responsibility for her actions while she hysterically cried, which has since been mocked for its excessiveness and ingenuine approach.
People have already moved on from the scandal, and I can only assume that their focus has been diverted to whatever’s trending on Twitter. This and the other circumstances surrounding YouTube influencers have shown to heavily resemble that of a high school. People are categorized in accordance to status. People prioritize trivial subjects. People become absorbed in the drama that they won’t care about or possibly remember in the future. But, what’s the reason for all of this? Why have immature ideals transcended? Moreover, why have these ideas manifested into something bigger and more ruinous than itself?
It’s okay to want to be a star, an influencer, or whatever you want to call it. It’s fine to want to be role model for your followers or want to brand yourself. But it’s not okay to blur the lines between a simple desire and gluttony. People become too vain and prideful. Concerns of what they want for themselves and what others think of them are the only things that faze them. New subscribers and or a video with views is seen as a symbol of another paycheck. Some YouTubers lose sight that there are real people watching them and looking up to them.
So people at home are minimized to how they can contribute to the YouTubers’ lifestyle. This corruption and sense of entitlement extends to the YouTubers themselves as well. As seen with Jeffree Star scandal, people have made themselves out to be people who they truly aren’t and, in the process, they end up hurting not only others in the community but themselves too.
So easily have the intentions of these influencers been taken as a godsend, until the truth sweeps in. What once was a goal for them has now become a race, where the end goal is first place.
This is not a page of facts, but more so it’s a call to action. People deserve to live a life they love but they should do so with integrity. In the grand scheme of things, what YouTubers are doing with their lives isn’t a major concern, but it should be noted that these are the people modeling and shaping impressional viewers who far too quickly will be the face of the future. It’s difficult to discern the line between the digital and real world and with influencers with a heavy presence, it’s time that they use their platforms to incite a clear and positive path for the future.
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