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‘Bubbleheaded Gurus,’ or Brilliant Media Moguls?

Author:

mota

By Suzanne Warshell

As evidenced by PBG, the media loves to hate on girls – teenage girls in particular. In a feature by The Guardian (that we can just tell was totally written by some grumpy-middle aged man), Youtube beauty guru Bethany Mota, better known as macbarbie07, is profiled … if you can even call such a condescending, and sexist review a “profile”. The article calls her “a highly successful version of ordinariness,” and “ the future of bubbleheaded consumerism,” reducing Mota and her hundreds of YouTube videos – which include cooking videos, makeup tutorials and honest vlogs on problems facing teenage girls today – into “a teenager who makes videos in which she discusses her latest purchases.”

I’ve followed beauty gurus on YouTube for years, and have always admired the way they have turned their passion into a career, especially at such a young age. These girls spend hours developing, filming and editing videos, only to send them out into a sphere where they are bound to receive extremely harsh criticism veiled behind anonymity. If you’ve ever read the comment section on one of these videos, you’ll know what I’m talking about. These girls are constantly barraged with hundreds of nasty comments insulting their voices, appearances and personalities on even the most non-controversial videos. Interspersed between the hate, however, is feedback from the gurus’ adoring fans. While The Guardian reduces these young fans to blind sheep following the ever-so-evil influence of “consumerism,” I, as a teenage girl, know better. These are girls trying to navigate their way through a culture in which everything they do, say, or care about is ridiculed. In the young beauty gurus of YouTube, these fans find girls “just like them” who are succeeding solely through their own merit. It’s a true self-made success story: Mota started with a camera in her bedroom, and has now landed a deal with a nationwide retailer.

While the most successful gurus often partner with global retailers and companies, these consumeristic influences were not what inspired the girls to begin making these videos. They began making these videos out of a pure love of beauty and fashion, not out of a passive submission to societal standards. Instead, they are now able to use the beauty industry to their advantage and play an active role within it. Thus, through these videos many girls have been able to manipulate the culture that tries to oppress them, becoming empowered in the process.

Finally, the piece completely ignores the sheer magnitude of Mota’s accomplishments. While it flippantly mentions the 40k-a-month paycheck Mota receives from the videos, the article intends for this number to be scoffed at, apparently insignificant because it came from YouTube beauty videos. What Mota and other gurus like her are doing is nothing short of astounding. These teenage girls are building empires at age 18 (and below!) and single-handedly setting themselves up for lives of financial stability by pursuing their passions.

Unfortunately, the YouTube beauty community is not without its flaws. Most (if not almost all) of the girls are white, conventionally attractive and come from extremely affluent backgrounds. It is misguided to teach young teenage girls that they are exactly like these gurus because chances are, they’re not. That being said, teenage girls finding inspiration in other teenage girls following their dreams, and doing it well, is everything but “bubbleheaded.” When the article remarks that “If you’re not a teenage girl, it’s not for you to get,” it proves its complete disapproval of teen girl culture. This profile is not some high-level cultural critique of “consumerism:” it’s blatant sexism. The piece finds itself among countless others, relentlessly mocking things that bring teenage girls joy. I applaud Bethany Mota, I applaud her followers, and I applaud teenage girls in general, for loving things fearlessly, whether it be makeup and fashion, or the countless other things teenage girls (as humans) choose to love.

Seriously?! A bra to advise your eating habits…

Author:

bra

By Christiana Paradis

How did you do it Microsoft? No seriously? How did you create EXACTLY what I’ve always wanted? My whole life I’ve been wondering how to stop myself from emotional overeating. I mean every time a boyfriend or girlfriend (gasp) would break up with me it was straight for the pint of ice cream, sometimes even with Cheetos for topping! Too much? I never thought so. Bring on the gluttony. This WHOLE time I just thought there was no hope, but now Microsoft has developed this beautiful piece of technology–and it’s even in a sultry red color for the feisty femmes like myself. It is so adorable that they make this product and offer it to females only. After all, we’re the only gender that emotionally eats.

This bra uses sensors to detect my heart rate and sweat signals. Then it magically takes that information and decides (in its brain), “Hmm…you’re appearing stressed or maybe bored…DON’T DO IT! DON’T EAT!” So then the bra tells my smart phone…DON’T LET HER EAT. Then…are you ready for this? My smartphone agrees, “She should not eat.” So it makes me play games or do some form of breathing exercise…it works to distract me from eating, because the bra and my smartphone know more than my body, and they know I shouldn’t eat.

Microsoft says it has to be form fitting to get vitals and there’s a study that says women emotionally overeat more than men, so… it only makes sense it’s a bra. I couldn’t agree more. Why should it be something like a wifebeater, tank top, or a wristband? I mean why would we want everyone to get help for this problem? I overeat more than annnny of my guy friends. PLUS, this bra is so awesome/heavy/uncomfortable that it only needs to be taken off every four hours so that it can recharge its monitors. So basically it’s really convenient for your work day. Just grab lunch at a place that you can charge your bra so that you don’t have to awkwardly walk around the office bra-less. It’s made to be convenient for the working woman, like that. They’ve literally thought of EVERYTHING!

I’ve always wanted technology to tell me that my body doesn’t need nourishment! Thank you Microsoft, what would a silly ol’ gal like me do without you?

Lauren: Sexual Assault in the Military

Author:

lauren

By Hannah Johnston

Lauren (TRIGGER WARNING) is a really eye-opening web series about sexual assault in the military. Often, sexual assault and harassment in the military are ignored and pushed aside by those in charge. It’s so so so important for women in the armed forces to be safe and protected while they’re making sure that all of us are safe and protected. They can’t feel that way when the institution itself refuses to make an active effort to find ways to solve such a serious problem, and when they face serious prejudice for coming forward. A soldier in the military has a higher chance of being raped by a comrade than being killed in combat.

How can we help? By informing ourselves of the serious realities women in the armed forces face and supporting them as well as legislative efforts to hold the military accountable for the sexual assault that occurs under its watch.

Three Cheers for Aerie

Author:

images-1

By Kara Chyung

Aerie, the lingerie and apparel branch of American Eagle, has recently announced their “Aerie Real” campaign, promising no retouching and “no supermodels.”

Their recent ads, which echo Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and Seventeen’s Body Peace petition, claim that it’s time to be real, because “The real you is sexy.”

Aerie models are saying that while it’s nice to have Photoshop to hide minor imperfections, the Aerie campaign showed them that they really don’t need the retouching.

images

Some people wonder whether this campaign is necessary, questioning how much girls are actually influenced by the images in ads. But I’m glad that more and more brands seek to make girls feel good about themselves by breaking down the image of an idealistic body. In a country where so many young girls suffer from eating disorders, it’s about time companies are publicly addressing the body image issue. Hopefully Aerie’s decision to eliminate Photoshop will help to create change in the rest of the industry.

STEM Jokes

Author:

engineering_girl

By Erika Davidoff

After studying together for our upcoming physics final, my group of engineering-student friends decided to take a break and peruse a collection of engineering memes. Though some of them were clever, and many of them simply rehashed the standard “lol engineering is hard” trope, I was dismayed that so many of them joked about the fact that engineering is a male-heavy field. There was nothing disparaging to women in particular, thankfully, but there were a lot of “where are all the women?” and “no girls allowed” posts. The four guys in my group found this commentary fairly hilarious. The three girls giggled awkwardly. Ha ha, guys. We’re right here.

Many universities, including mine, are trying to attract more STEM-oriented girls, and seek to have roughly gender-balanced entering classes. This is a problem, then, that many people are paying attention to and many people are trying to fix. So why are we still joking about it? It would be like joking about sexual assault—oh wait, that happened during our study hall, too, when one guy told another about his chances on the final, “You’re not just f*cked. You’re raped.” Cue more nervous laughter.

I wish I would have spoken up then and told him that wasn’t okay, but I didn’t, and I regret that. As long as jokes like these persist, it’ll be hard to convince people that problems like sexual assault and a gender imbalance in STEM fields are worthy of serious attention. These issues are no joke, and I hope I’ll be able to convince my friends of that.

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