*This post discusses sexual assault, emotional manipulation, and victim-blaming*
Y’all know YouTube, right? Everyone’s favorite procrastination destination, an endless font of videos of cats getting into boxes and babies trying lemons for the first time.
What you may be less familiar with is the side of YouTube that has become a platform for individual artists and content creators to build audiences, express themselves, and form co-creative communities. The most famous of these YouTube artists make their living doing it. They perform at conventions such as Vidcon, where they are greeted by their (mostly younger, female) fans with adoration that falls somewhere between rockstars and best friends.
The YouTube community as a whole is a vibrant, exciting non-place where predominantly young people come together to share their enthusiasm and make amazing things happen. However, the emotional intensity and power inequality of some fan-creator relationships has a downside.