(NOTE: This is taken from a post on my blog. However, I wish to repost here on Wicid for young people to also be able to share their thoughts.)
I’m not sure what you would call this as it’s not exactly a rant but it’s a response to The Independent in regards to this article (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/sure-teenage-girls-need-role-models–but-not-of-the-zoella-kind-9809136.html) about the YouTuber, Zoella.
This article is discussing the YouTube sensation, Zoe Sugg AKA Zoella and her impact on teenage girls. I just feel as though the person who wrote the article in question simply didn’t do enough research on Zoe. Yes, I watch Zoella’s YouTube videos and while I’m rather fond of her content and her as a person (or at least what she portrays online), I’m not an obsessed fan. However, the article by The Independent branded Zoe as a person who promotes beauty and makes young girls feel insecure due to the fact she supposedly sends out the message that make up and beauty is something a girl must do. When, in fact, she’s not doing this at all.
When you search Zoella, yes, you will see a lot of make-up tutorials, but that is not the be all and end all of Zoella. Sugg is a 24 year old British lifestyle vlogger and internet personality who was originally working as an apprentice with an interior design company. Fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogging was merely a hobby and in 2009, she started her YouTube channel (with the original username zoella280390). Admittedly, she did do (and still does) videos about beauty and fashion, however, her content never sent the message out that make up and looking like what is considered as perfect is what is expected of a woman. Make-up these days in the media is portrayed as something negative and that young people shouldn’t wear it as it makes them feel insecure without it. This, I believe, is not at all the case. Make-up is a form of expression. While it’s not necessary for women to wear, should a woman wish to wear it, then by all means she should.
Zoe may in fact wear make up, yes, but she doesn’t rely on it. In fact, in many of her videos, we see Zoella bare faced with spots and blemishes and she seems perfectly comfortable in the skin that she is in. Again, this to me, says that Sugg sees make up as a hobby and form of expression for both her and anyone who feels the same way. If you are particularly skilled in a certain hobby, it’s okay to showcase your talent. So why is it that while Zoe is skilled at applying make up, it’s considered to be wrong of her to showcase her talent?
It seems to me as though this article is shaming Zoe Sugg as not being a role model who fits into stereotypical feminism. Yes, feminism is important, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to do things like wear make up or dress to make yourself feel happy. It’s seen as okay for people to express themselves through their bodies with tattoos, piercings and hair colour, but why not make up? I’m not saying you should have to wear it or it should be expected of you to not wear it – but if you choose to, then why on earth not?
Sugg is a role model to young girls as she is living proof that if you follow your dreams by working hard and committing time and effort, your hobby can be your career. She is so much more than beauty tutorials and fashion hauls. I ask that you open up a new tab on your search engine, bring up YouTube and search Zoella’s channel. If you look, you will see many videos by Sugg which cover a lot of topics and one in particular – anxiety. Zoe suffers with anxiety. It’s a known fact that 1 in 4 people suffer with mental health issues including anxiety and it’s also known that it can start from an early age. Those with the issue may feel alone, confused and even scared about anxiety. However, Sugg bravely shares her experience through the form of YouTube videos and offers advice to her viewers.
If you look at her background and upbringing, you’ll be fully aware that Sugg had a normal childhood like the majority of us. She is not a ‘celebrity’, she is a normal person who uses social media as her platform to share her passions and interests and just so happens to have gained a lot of popularity.
Sugg is also, in fact, a writer and has her own novel due to be released next month. She is a fan of literature, social media and so much more than just beauty.
The bottom line is that, yes, Zoe is a beauty enthusiast. However, this is not the reason for her being a role model. The fact that she has ambitions, has achieved her goals and is able to be an advocate for people suffering with mental health issues. Just because she shares content of beauty and fashion does not mean she is spreading the message that this is in fact mandatory, but if it is something of interest, then that is okay. At the end of the day, she’s a young girl herself and just sharing her skills with the world. What is so wrong with that?