The Women on YouTube panel took place on Sunday at Summer in the City 2015. It featured creators including Cherry Wallis, Dodie Clark, and Laci Green. It was chaired by Lex Croucher.
The group spoke to a largely female audience in Panel Room A about what it currently means to be a female content creator online. The panel consisted of Cherry Wallis, Theadora Lee, Dodie Clark, Laci Green, Lucy Moon, Jana Damanhouri, and was chaired by Lex Croucher.
The panel opened with a discussion about issues that women on YouTube face that their male counterparts don’t. This included assumptions that they were beauty vloggers, the amount of negative comments on their size and weight, and the pressure they have on camera to look their best.
Theadora provided a positive note about the potential women online have to help others. “I think it is a privilege to step into the role of a mentor for these young women,” she said.
Giving advice on how to deal with hate comments, Cherry, who was also on the Dealing With Trolls panel earlier in the weekend, brought up the YouTube Black List facility, which automatically hides comments which contain buzzwords you have asked not to see.
Laci discuseed the concept of feminism on YouTube, and how each person has or hasn’t addressed the issue in their videos, adding that the more people talk about it, the less of a taboo subject the concept becomes. “Feminism used to be a trigger word but it is becoming less so over time,” she said. “It was way more hostile than it is now.”
Dodie admitted that she wants to learn more about feminism, and that she doesn’t feel she can currently talk about it in her content because of her lack of knowledge.
When discussing the pressure they feel to be a good influence on their audience, the panel commented that if they were to swear, they would get penalised for not acting appropriately for their audience, yet men don’t have this problem.
“I actually avoid swearing on my channel now, because being a YouTuber, whether being male or female, you have a responsibility with your audience,” said Cherry. “I think being a good role model to them, you have that responsibility, and I feel that is really important.”
The group also talked about how being female on YouTube affects the kind of sponsorship deals they are offered, and what companies expect should they accept them. Jana described current improvements around feminist concepts being used in advertisements but also explained that it is a win/lose situation when they are using them to promote products that don’t necessarily support women’s values, and when it commercialises a liberation issue.
“There’s a conflict there when it is brands like razors, because they are saying ‘Be the best person you can be… as long as you shave’,” jested Lex. “But I do like that they’re getting the message out there as well”.
Speaking to potential new YouTubers, Cherry said that they shouldn’t be pressured into making certain content that they don’t want to do, with Jana adding that they should make content they want to see.
Lucy added that you shouldn’t be afraid to change your opinion over time. “Don’t feel that just because you have put it online, it’s set in stone,” she said.
Photos: Ollie Ali
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