- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Tom Hiddleston
- LOTR/The Hobbit
- Martin Freeman
- Doctor Who
- Andrew Scott
- The Stag
- Star Trek
- Chris Pine
- John Green
- Alternative Bands
I will try and follow as many as I can.
A mistake: A one time thing that is stupid and not ok, done without thinking it through.
Not a “mistake”: Continuously manipulating and coercing people, continuously treating people badly, continuous attempts at relationships or intimate interaction with minors.
I’m kind of infuriated. This blog post will come in 3 parts. Part one will focus on the dynamics of creators and fans. Part two will be about consent (which is a VERY popular word as of late, although this word should ALWAYS be popular). And then part three will be my own personal feels in general about the whole thing that has been going on in the YouTube community.
So creators and fans. I have been watching YouTube videos avidly for the past 6 years, and they have often brought great joy to my life, and have introduced me to amazing opportunities, and people. I hope it continues to do that. I have always admired the blurred lines between the creators and the fans. I love being able to just ask a question, and very possibly get an answer. I love being able to tell someone that I admire their work, and them seeing that, and continue to put out great work. I love that WE as fans can feel a strong connection, and bond with the creators that we come to love and admire. I DO NOT love when that dynamic is twisted into something ugly and cruel. I do not love hearing about these young women that were simply fans a lot of the time to start, and were tricked into relationships that were nothing but unhealthy. It hurts to hear these stories (and the non apologizes.) It hurts to know that there are innocent women out there that were taken advantage by people that they looked up to. I can only imagine that pain, and hope to never have to experience it. There is an obvious sense of betrayal going around. Every which way I turn there is either another young lady bravely (full on Gryffindor bravery) sharing her story, a non-apology by one of the asshats, or someone like me who is just fed up. I speak for a lot of the fans when I say that YouTube, and Tumblr are often my happy place. It’s where I went, when work sucked, or I was just having a terrible day. To know that some of the creators that I watched to get over sucky times, were causing immense pain to some lovely young women is SICKENING.
About 3 years ago, I had the pleasure of going to the first Digitour. That was one of the most exciting things I could have imagined doing. Right in front of me where dozens of youtubers that I watched EVERYDAY. They were real! I got to hug several of them. I can speak from personal experience that the youtubers that were part of the Digitour 2011 were all very kind to me and never once gave me the impression that ANYONE in this awesome community could ever do some of the awful things that other content creators are being outed for.
This past year, I once again got the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Chicago with my best friend, (who I met through Nerdfighteria, another AWESOME community) to see Starkids, Twisted. As of right now, I am able to rank that as my number one day in my 22 years of life. Meeting them all was amazing, and reminded me that the lines between creator, and fan is almost nonexistent. There will always be boundaries that should ALWAYS be respected, and are very healthy, in fact. I just hope that in light of the manipulation that has happened in the past with certain creators, the closeness of our community, and the bond between us ALL will not be tarnished by a few.
Time for part two! CONSENT. CONSENT CONSENT CONSENT. I don’t think this word can be stressed enough. IF THE ANSWER IS NOT YES, THAN ITS NO. SAYING NOTHING MEANS NO. NO MEANS NO. YES MEANS YES. I do not know how many different ways to say it to get it through people’s heads. And just because you ask a thousand times, and a person gives in does not mean you ‘earned’ it. It does not mean they changed their minds. It means that YOU wouldn’t let up, and that person either felt scared to continue to say no, or didn’t know what else to do. YOU are at fault. The accused, used to be people I looked up to, and admired, and the fact that they couldn’t take no for an answer BAFFLES me. These were people I felt like I knew. I know that I didn’t. But it doesn’t change that feeling of trust that we all instill in people we admire. I cannot change the things that have happened, but I hope it teaches us that what we are shown isn’t always what is going on. I also hope it teaches us that ‘no’ is a viable option. I hope it teaches us that if that ‘no’ is not respected by our partners that THEY are the ones that are wrong. I hope that nobody EVER feels bad for saying no. That is an injustice that needs to be addressed right away. Never let anyone make you feel ashamed for refusing sexual advances, for any reason. If you do not want it, you do not have to have it.
I am saddened by the things that popular youtubers have done, but I am also glad that these women have shared their stories, and that we are not living in ignorant bliss anymore. There are people in the world who do BAD things. Inexcusable things, but we are aware now. We can focus in on these problems, and fix them. And if we are smart, we can prevent them from happening in the future.
If you are or think you might be a victim of sexual, or emotional abuse, know that there is help. Not only from loved ones, and us, but also from http://www.rainn.org/ . Please call their hotline 1-800-656-HOPE even if you just need to talk.
And now for my personal feels. I have one word. Disappointment. I could not be more disappointed in the actions of the youtubers who have wronged the women who have come forward, and possible others who do not want to come forward. When I first heard about this situation I was in SHOCK. I couldn’t believe that those people could do some of those awful things, but as I read through the many stories of sexual and emotional abuse/manipulation, my rage, and shock morphed into a deep disappointment. And gratefulness. I am grateful to the many brave women for speaking out. I am grateful for the conversation this has sparked, on a topic that we have been ignoring for far too long. And I am still grateful for this beautiful community. I firmly believe that for every bad apple there are a thousand MAGNIFICENT ones. This is a tough time for a lot of people, but I hope that we continue to support each other, and emerge an even greater community. Thank you for reading this rant. Or whatever you want to call it. I hope it has in some way taught/opened eyes/shed light on some issues. NOW, DFTBA.
Madison Jean Gudenzi.