When it comes to the whole influencer culture, I’ve always been skeptical. Everything about them always felt too filtered and, for lack of a better word, fake. From their color specific Instagram posts to their phony accents, I just wasn’t buying it. I understand how people can find them more relatable but I failed to see that. I wasn’t going to fall into a trap of subpar content but, recently, something about influencers has turned me. Just a little bit.
There are a few YouTubers that I follow because I find their videos raw, informative, and creative. And, recently I found that more and more influencers are starting to open up. Scrolling through YouTube, you will see some videos about influencers talking about eating disorders, sexual harassment, and who they really are. Like I said earlier, a lot of what they post seem fake to me and many have admitted that, yes, they are.
YouTuber Niki DeMartino recently put a video talking about her eating disorder. Here she opened up about how she felt pressured to look a certain way so she pretty much stopped eating. If you’ve been following her channel for a while, you would have noticed her weight loss. Of course, people didn’t initially know about the eating disorder so they would compliment. People would comment and tell her that she looked so good so she continued to not eat. Because of this, however, she noticed that her content wasn’t as genuine and she felt like she was putting up a front. She decided to make the video so that her subscribers could understand what she was going through as well as send a message to other girls. She wanted to show other girls that her life wasn’t perfect and she also struggles with the same issues we might have.
With more and more people trying to educate themselves about rape culture, influencer Kryz Uy wants to help. Last month she took a break from her regular uploads to share a video about her own experience with sexual harassment. She was able to catch the moment on video and shared it with her viewers. In the video she said, “after reading more about this subject, I feel like I’ve been given this unique opportunity to talk about an issue that is very serious.” She went on to address women who have gone through the same thing. She encourages them not to blame themselves and to speak up.
Longtime YouTuber Bunny Meyer AKA Grav3yardgirl also opened up about her struggles. If you follow her channel you would have seen some of her vlogs where she talks about constantly being in a slump. She always felt down and didn’t know how to bounce back. She was so engrossed with trying to please her subscribers and the new algorithm that she started churning out “watered-down” content. After feeling that way for almost a year, YouTuber Shane Dawson reached out. He wanted to do a series of collab videos with her. What he didn’t realize was how emotional and raw their encounter would be. In the first video you will see Bunny act very shy and awkward and then when Shane finally interviews her, the walls come down. She starts to explain how she doesn’t feel as talented or worthy as other YouTubers and is struggling to get out of the funk she’s been in.
After watching these videos I began to realize that there is a side of influencers that we don’t get to see and some are trying to become more authentic. They’re working towards communicating with their audience in a way that starts conversations about social issues. They’re breaking the barrier so that we can see who they really are. Maybe some of us might even consider turning to them for inspiration and motivation. So as skeptical as I am about influencers I am glad to see the content shifting and look forward to others following the same path.
Art by Marian Hukom
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