My seven year old is hooked on YouTube and is subscribed to a myriad of channels. She loves all sorts of things from Five Nights of Freddy’s, Minecraft, those Blind Box reveals and what has struck me as a dizzying amount of amazingly WHITE people – families – being cute and showing off to the world their amazingly fabulous middle class American lifestyles. There is a girl on right now called JoJo who has insane long blonde hair (most of them seem to be blonde) with a giant bow and all she seems to do is show all the STUFF she has. Her pink room, her GIANT BOWS, her over stuffed closet. This one video has almost 10, 000 views, which is nothing in YouTube standards I know.
I am Scottish, so I don’t think I can get any whiter, but there is something about these cookie cutter blonde people in their giant homes that all look exactly the same, that totally mystifies and horrifies me. They don’t look real. I don’t mean to insult them. I am sure they are all very nice. But let’s get real here. They are not on YouTube to be nice. They have come up with their ‘schtick’ for one purpose…..to make money. Okay to make money AND be famous – but the $ is the big one.
The Holderness family are one of the biggest white hits on YouTube. I am not alone in my discomfort. You can see articles about them here and here. The Holderness crew are pretty slick. This isn’t an ‘ordinary’ family with a penchant for parody and pile of camera equipment laying around. This is professional planned and focused marketing of, well them. A viral resume for all to see.
For a while Tara had a great fondness for another all American family with a shudderworthy moniker – The Shaytards. Another clan with a strong father figure at the centre of all their viral adventures. Their videos seem to consist of dad filming and talking about EVERYTHING they do….from family trips to clothes shopping, they share it. They even shared their father/son weightloss journey that got them on daytime talk shows.
Lesson: YouTube for many is seen as, if not a resume, but an application form for fame and fortune. PICK ME! YouTube has replaced the dream of winning the lottery as the ONLY path to riches for the unwashed masses, now everyone is a star.
And for some reason, children cannot get enough of it all.
My seven year old yells at me regularly for not setting up her channel and buying her a green screen.
But I have many concerns about what the YouTube model is teaching their young spongie brains AND what sort of world view these millions of videos of perfect Stepford like families is doing to them too?
When I was a kid back in the dark ages, I started to notice that all the books I read with marvelous magical experiences only happened to children with plummy English accents. There was no magic or success for us poor slobs with Scottish accents. This was WAAAY before the media was shaming Barbie for being too white and too busty and was giving all the girls complexes. Now we have Barbies that come in all shapes, sizes and colours and that is totally awesome. I am trying to figure out what the large headed Sindy’s did to me. I don’t recall wishing my head was bigger. BUT you don’t know right?
So what do all these perfect shiny families in their insanely large homes somewhere in the middle of the US say about the rest of us?
Are we not pretty enough?
Do only cute white people get the notice of the brands? There was a video I saw last year where there was nothing but video of the kids opening “Christmas” gifts in their colossal family room. I think it was filmed in September or at least the video started then as it went on and on and on. The excess made me ill.
I think that is it….the excess. The displays of ‘free stuff.’ What does that do to all the rest who don’t get the stuff?
Not to sound like a grumpy old fogey, but really. When ‘digital fame’ is the end goal for millions, there is not much hope for finding the next Einstein or a cure for cancer or ending world poverty. You know what would end world poverty? Stopping brands from creating these fake plastic families that are even less real than the dreck on sit coms from which they were inspired by on cable.
Going to go sulk under my soap-box now.