Well, well, well, we certainly seem to have plunged headfirst down a rabbit hole don’t we? I’ve recently come across all this ‘youtube scandal’ stuff (late, i know) and my heads still reeling a little, to be honest. I feel… not let down, exactly, just saddened and in some cases a little disgusted; but not entirely surprised that something like what has been revealed, has been happening behind closed doors.
First of all, let me assure you: I don’t know any of the YouTubers, I’ve never been abused by any of them, never so much as received a tweet from any of them. Okay? And with that, let me explain my above statement.
I was surprised by the revelations, but only because of the sheer volume, and severity of the accusations. I mean, paedophillia/statuatory rape, sexual manipulation? Horrible! But I can’t help but draw comparisons between this and the Jimmy Saville/BBC case[s] a few years ago.
Not that I’m suggesting that the YouTube scandal is anywhere near as depraved or wide, because I don’t think it is. But even so it has to be admitted that the two cases bear similarities.
The celebrity status was a relatively new phenomenon when Savile started out (ie. it was taken A LOT more lightly), he attracted young, impressionable people, who adored him because of said celebrity status and these women/girls were often afraid to speak out afterward because they were afraid of not being believed.
Today, the YouTube vloggers have their own kind of neo-celebrity status – to the (primarily female) teenagers and twenty-something’s who watch their video’s, they are as much of a celebrity as any TV star you’d care to mention, perhaps moreso. As such, the vloggers celebrity statuses attract young, impressionable fans, who adore them, and who are ultimately afraid to speak if/when abused, in case they’re not believed.
See the similarities?
But the problem here isn’t exactly as straightforward as in Savile’s case. As indicated, we’re all aware that celebrities can quite easily use their statuses and fame to manipulate people in an extremely damaging way. But in this case what I feel we may be forgetting is simply that, between the ages of about 15 and 25 men especially, tend to think with something a little south of their brain.
Not all men, I grant you, and women, I know, can be just as bad; particularly in this day and age. But, even so…
Why are we so surprised that these young people in an unprecedented position of power and influence, have chosen to listen to their hormones rather than their senses. Not defending them, per say, what they did was wrong: but is it really surprising? It’s an unfortunate human condition that we can often only fully appreciate our mistakes, in hindsight. Which is, i’m sure, what these vloggers will see their actions as, in years to come when looking back on them.
Childhood, the teen years and early twenties are meant to be reserved for making those big mistakes, and hopefully, learning from them.
Not that I consider rape or paedophillia/statuatory rape to be a simple mistake. No, no, I’m referring more to the stories of cheating, manipulation and general a.holiness; as I’m guessing that’s where it all began, before growing steadily worse.
(On the paedophillia thing, can I just make a side-note that none of the girls in the stories i’ve read seem to be younger the 14/15. Not much better, I know, but if they’d been little children, as in the case of Watkins, I… honestly don’t know what I’d have done.)
Actually, this whole situation just adds fire to my belief that: no one walking this earth today is perfect, therefore we shouldn’t ‘idolise’ them, or look up to them!
And besides which, 90% of the YouTubers are around 20; why are people looking up to them in the first place?! When I read comments on YouTube video’s from fans saying how wise/clever they think the vlogger is, I have to chuckle to myself. Yeah, some teens/twenty-somethings do have some wise opinions, but don’t base your beliefs around there’s! Form your own!
As an adult, we don’t look to a toddlers for advice on insurance: we put our faith in reputation and proof of knowledge; both of which are based on time. A company needs time to build up a good reputation, and build up it’s knowledge to help its clients. The newer the company, the less likely we are to trust them.
It’s the same with everything!
So, surely, if we’re looking up to anyone it should be to someone older and wiser, who knows a thing or two about life? Perhaps a grandparent, or great-aunt or uncle, I dunno. But certainly not a kid in their late teens to early twenties.
That being said, I do stand by what I said before, no one on earth is perfect, so in that respect, I don’t think it’s advisable to ‘idolise’ anyone, but following the advice of an older person seems much more reasonable than to look to a person with little life experience.
So, what exactly is my point here?
Am I telling people not to watch vloggers video’s? No. I think it’s fine so long as you remember to stay objective and try to remember that seeing a ten minute glimpse into someone’s week is not the same as knowing them personally.
Am I defending the people involved in this scandal? No. Absolutely not. I don’t think it’s right when anyonecheats/lies/abuses, or in any other way, mistreats a partner in a relationship. But I also think it’s important to remember the ages of the people involved.
So, am I saying that this is a case of boys, will be boys and we should just forget about it? Well, yes and no actually. I don’t think we should simply forget about all this, I think this should be viewed as a learning curve for all, the stars themselves certainly deserve to feel ashamed, and in some cases I think maybe even a little jail time is in order.
But the fans need to remember, before condemning these people completely, that fame (even on a relatively small scale) can lead to an undeserved sense of prowess, which in turn can lead to people acting in a way that we view as unacceptable.
Overall, I don’t think it’s that surprising that something of this kind happened, when you pause to look at the circumstances. And though I’m far from being a victim-blamer, I do believe we should remember that it was each of us who gave the YouTubers their sense of influence and power in the first place
Originally posted to tumblr in May 2014