The Women on YouTube panel took place on Saturday at Summer in the City 2016 . It featured creators such as Rose and Rosie, Em Ford, and Hazel Hayes. It was chaired by Rosianna Halse Rojas.
The panel took place on the main stage and featured Scola Dondo, Melanie Murphy, Adanna from AdannaDavid, Rose Dix, Rosie Spaughton, Hazel Hayes and Em Ford. Rosianna Halse Rojas chaired. The main topics included how women are represented on YouTube and if it’s harder for women online than men.
When discussing how women are represented on YouTube, Rosie immediately asked: “Is it how women are represented or how we represent ourselves?” She said that women online have the freedom to create whatever they want and issues are created in “how people choose to interpret [the videos]”.
On the topic of whether it is more difficult to be a woman than a man online, Hazel mentioned that she was enjoying being a woman on YouTube. She said that, as a filmmaker, she was often the “token woman” but having a niche as a “woman who directs horror films” had its benefits, such as studios being interested in her work. Rose spoke about her and Rosie’s gaming channel and how they notice a difference in the comments in their videos and gaming videos made by men. She added that she doesn’t feel that their comedy videos are taken as seriously as comedy videos made by men. Adanna, however, spoke about YouTube being a welcoming place for women and the benefits of creating on a platform where you don’t immediately feel in competition with men. She argued that she was able to create what she wanted and that “eventually people will respect us for that”.
The panellists were asked how they measure their success, with Scola saying that numbers were significant to her in some regard as she wants “to make as many people as possible feel good about themselves”. Hazel said that she “stopped measuring success in views a long time ago”. Rosie agreed, saying she doesn’t like how public channel statistics are, adding: “I won’t let anyone else define my success.” Melanie said that she measures her success on whether the comments reflect what she was aiming to do. Rosie said that “success is really enjoying [making videos]”. Hazel added that not expecting anything from your efforts on YouTube is important and that “you have to go into it prepared for that work”. Discussing the negativity that can affect female creators, Scola said that it can “push you forward”.
The panel ended with a discussion about how to help women who don’t have as much as a voice, LGBTQ+ women, and women of colour. Rose and Rosie spoke about their video Why We Stopped Kissing and, on the subject of them kissing in videos, Rose said: “If we’re going to normalise something, we have to be normal”. Adanna spoke about her interracial marriage, saying “there is beauty in diversity”, and voicing her hope that her videos reflect that.
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