So last week the You Tube world got a bit of a jolt, in the form of beauty guru Ingrid Nilsen coming out as gay.
Ingrid, one of You Tube’s top content providers, has (at the time of writing) 3,471,374 subscribers and 259,850,520 views, is a ‘Glambassador’ for Cover Girl and has been creating content on You Tube for nearly six years.
I think it’s so positive to see her smash the stereotype of what a lesbian is/ should/ must be – Ingrid is feminine with a passion for make-up, fashion and all things beauty. Plus, not only did she come out, she shared her personal journey leading her to this point with the audience – and I have no doubt this will impact in a hugely positive way on a lot of her viewers. Whether that is to give people a better understanding, or to give them hope and show they they are not alone, Ingrid’s video will surely have a positive impact on a great number of people.
It is interesting to note, however, that Ingrid’s video seems to be getting a far greater number of negative comments than similar content from her male counterparts (e.g. Joey Graceffa). Why is this? Is it because it’s a bolt out of the blue (as opposed to say Joey Graceffa, who had endured years of rumours before coming out)? Is it because a great chunk of the You Tube demographic are young girls, who find it easier to accept a gay boy than a lesbian girl? Or perhaps because viewers have seen Ingrid’s previous boyfriends feature on her channel, they struggle to adjust to the idea those relationships weren’t, in retrospect, all they had appeared?
When at university, I wrote my dissertation on the the representation of female sexuality on television (and that is a part of the reason I’m following this so closely) – although that was only six years ago, I think there is now enough here to develop a whole new thesis on the topic, and covering these relatively new forms of self-expression and content creation.
We can’t underestimate the fame and reach of the top You Tubers – brands harness the power of the top You Tubers to promote their brands, as these ‘ambassadors’ can pack far more of a punch that more traditional advertising channels. In a nutshell, viewers feel these content creators are their friends, entirely relatable in the way a conventional advert simply isn’t. When considering this context around Ingrid’s announcement, and the reach she has, it’s clear Ingrid is somewhat of a trailblazer.
I can only imagine how many people Ingrid will positively influence by coming out – all the girls following the same path, suppressing their true nature, seeking out love and acceptance from those not really able to provide true acceptance. Whether you are straight, gay, bi or something else entirely, I think everyone can take something positive about accepting your true self and, as Ingrid says, giving yourself your best chance, from her video.
You can watch Ingrid’s full video below – but the disclaimer is, you might want to grab a tissue before you watch…