That Zoella Article

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I’ve always found my blog as somewhere I can respond to current and popular news, as such I wanted to address an issue which I couldn’t possibly respond to using 140 characters on Twitter.

I’ll begin this post with saying that I’m not what you would call a Zoella fan.  I don’t watch her YouTube videos and I don’t read her blog, namely because at 27 years of age I’m not her target audience and also because I simply don’t find her relateable to me as a person, nor would she have been relateable to me as a teenager. That’s not to say that I hate Zoe/Zoella/Zozeebo, because truth be told I’ve never met her.  I believe it’s unfair to make personal judgements about a person until you know them or have at least encountered them.

There’s no debating the level of her success.  As ever and like all walks of life, numbers speak for themselves and when you’re looking at millions of subscribers, millions of followers, landing up to £25,000 a collaboration for videos and bagging an interview in Vogue, it’s something that’s pretty damn hard to deny.

The simple fact of the matter is that I’m not, nor have I ever been on the level of idolising someone, screaming their name at my computer and setting notifications for new video uploads for someone who I see as essentially as being just like the whole host of YouTubers and Bloggers I follow read:  A normal girl with a camera, a love for makeup, an internet connection and a likeable personality.

I respect what she does and find the success she has found through a balance of both hard work, “right time, right place” and clever collaborations mind blowing.  She has a clever team behind her who have essentially seen the aspects of “Zoella” that have attracted an audience and amplified that to create this character and brand which has followed through into the branding of her latest range in Superdrug.   She’s held as a shining example of  what *could* be achieved through blogging (if you had bags of luck and were picked up by a clever agency)

The article by Chloe Hamilton which appeared in the Independent (once you shrugged off the poison pen way in which it was written) did raise some good points, points which would have been appreciated from such an article had it not been a finger pointing witch hunt lead by opening statements which criticise Zoe’s appearance and continue to poke ridicule at the achievements of an “every day girl” done good.

To suggest that Zoe would not be a suitable role model to young girls seem idiotic.  At a time when so called role models for teens walk around scantily clad, gyrating on anything that moves and flipping the bird to society whilst glamourising domestic violence and drug taking, would Zoe not be seen as a breath of fresh air for parents to introduce their child to?

The main biting point? Inconsistent messages through Zoe’s sickly sweet branding of girl power (that phrase makes me think Emma Bunton on a sugar high and laughing gas.)

At the Teen Choice Awards 2014 (where Zoe won Best BRITISH Vlogger) she was asked what her one piece of advice would be to to teenagers. “Frett less about their appearance”. She goes on to say “When you’re younger you worry about so many things that you don’t need to worry about like image, appearance” and the fact that Zoe’s channel predominantly features how tos of festival perfect hair or how to apply the perfect red lip or so on admonishes that statement.

To some degree it’s true and doesn’t provide consistency between the statement and what Zoe is “famed for”. Why encourage teenagers not to worry about how they look when you have a channel full of videos which might show the perfect concealer to cover up spots? Should she not be saying “LET THE SPOTS RUN FREE, EVERYONE LOVES A GOOD SPOT”.

As bloggers and women are we not all guilty of that to a degree. As bloggers we tell our readers to love the skin they’re in and to be happy with their body with a post two weeks later about covering up eye bags or a dress which flatters a belly which has seen one too many cheeseboards. Women and girls on the street are guilty of the same thing, a friend may tell you “you can hardly see that pimple, you’re beautiful the way you are” then hand you their favourite concealer anyway.

To provide evidence towards the issue Chloe Hamilton could have picked out a whole number of YouTube stars who (aside from the “startled bird eyes” and “irritating voice”) are also “guilty” of what Zoe is purpose to. The likes of Tanya Burr, Sprinkle of Glitter, Essie Button or Lisa down the road who has ten readers of her blog and most of them are her family.  Instead she personally attacked Zoe and laid blame completely at her door for inconsistancies across the whole of beauty/fashion blogging spectrum.

Yes, Zoe could and should use her newfound status as Queen of the YouTube to rally support for more worthwhile causes than a nasty chin outbreak, just like she has been with her recent work with Mind charity.  This gives opportunity to address to a wide audience issues which are at the forefront of teenagers mindsor shed some light on deserving charities which smaller YouTube vloggers are passionate about and have worked hard to promote but just don’t have the social punch that Zoe and the like have. Maybe there’s more in the pipeline for Zoe, and for Tanya, Jim, Alfie, Louise and the rest of team who’ve been touched by the hand of Gleam magic, or maybe Miss Hamiltons article may have highlighted this as an area in which the YouTube superstars can ALL focus on.  Only time will tell.

Surely there’s also a sense of supply and demand and a why fix it if it ain’t broken mantra? We all know what our readers and our viewers like and what posts get the most hits, which ones bomb and how social media may react to your latest post. The likes of the Independent and the Daily Mail do the same thing and target their content for the biggest exposure and gain so why is “Zoella” (which is essentially a brand and a business which brings home the bacon) any different.

To conclude and address the leading title of the Independents article:

Why would I want a make believe teenage daughter of mine to aspire to be like Zoe Sugg/any other hardworking blogger/vlogger?

To encourage her to write, learn the intricacies of HTML, blog design, image manipulation, photo editing, marketing, promotion, engaging a readership, developing an online identity, becoming social media aware, liaising with brands, gaining confidence in her abilities, staying current and up to date on popular culture and latest releases, develop social interactions and relationships with like minded people while staying gracious and humble.

That’s why.

  • Beauty is Perfection (@Beautypblog)

    Preach! I so so agree with you.

    xo

  • I LOVE this post!

  • Sarah-Jayne

    I think this is brilliant, not only do you identify the faults amongst the article, but you also appreciate Zoella for her hard work. I am not a huge fan, although I do find some of her videos interesting, but the witch hunt was certainly unfounded.

  • Tami

    Perfectly put – I loved this.

  • Andruida

    Well said! I really enjoyed this article. You make a lot of good points without taking down the person you are talking about. I watch Zoella’s videos, I am not a fan girl though. I agree that her message his not necessarily consistent with her actions, but I do admire her business qualities and all the hard work she has put into branding herself. I also like the fact that she talks about her struggle with anxiety and how she shows you that you can get through it and be successful.

  • littlemisskaty

    Excellent article!! I was thinking of writing a reply to the original this morning but I think you’ve said everything I wanted to say and better than I could ever have done :)

    For me, the one point that stood out the most in the article is that she’s saying Zoella should be helping young girls know that looks aren’t the most important thing etc. But then in her first paragraph, the very FIRST thing she does is criticize the girl’s appearance.

    That’s one hell of a contradiction right there.

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle & Fashion

  • I very much enjoyed this post. Very well written and you raised some important points. It is mind blowing what Zoe has achieved and it’s such a shame that a grown woman felt the need to personally slate another women in a newspaper article. Like you, I’m not part of Zoe’s target audience, but I do hope she takes some positive action from reading the article in the Independent.

  • I totally agree! I’m not a big fan of Zoella however I don’t feel as though I’m in a position to truly criticise her. One minute I’m uploading a “love yourself” type post and the next minute I’m doing makeup tutorials! So I don’t think any of the beauty blogger community is really in a position to criticise her… we’re all doing exactly the same thing! She just was in the right place at the right time as you put it and was lucky enough to make it a career. She’s not consistent… nope… but she is human and I don’t believe ANYONE should be torn apart on the internet as the journalist did to her. Calling her a bird and insulting her appearance was unnecessary and irrelevant.

  • Katie Haydock

    I really, really enjoyed reading this!
    As someone who didn’t know who Zoella was until I saw her on the TV last week *must live under a rock* I found myself nodding along.
    It did suddenly dawn on me when I saw you refer to her as Zozebo that I have seen her lots of sprinkle of glitter’s instagram… maybe its who you know?

  • Brilliant post! Very well written. I enjoyed reading it and I agree with you 100%.

  • I haven’t seen the original article but it sounds very misguided and making such a personal attack on someone is just terrible! You’re completely right about role models for young girls, I would love it if my child learned how to do everything associated with running a blog instead of idolising someone for being pretty or skinny.

  • not much to say on this other than I totally agree with everything you said , I don’t follow Zoe but I have watched a few of her videos and I do think she is someone I would want my daughter to look up to and follow . My 16 year old sister idolizes her and I think that is a good thing i’d rather her be watching Zoe than someone else. That been said I think it was a high case of “right place right time”. I do think that Bloggers/ Vloggers should get noticed just as other people with talents do though x

  • glenka2014

    A very well written post, that newspaper article was just a form of bullying. Zoella is not doing any harm to anyone. She should be congratulated for all that she has achieved. I am not her target audience but I think she has done very well for herself and it shows young girls what can be achieved if you work hard.

  • Family HeightsSam

    Great post! My daughter is 12 and is completely obsessed with Zoella and I have no problem with that. I think she is a far better role model for my daughter to have than say, one of the Towie lot. She comes across as somebody who has achieved a lot and is showing girls that they can do the same if they work hard. I’m all for my kids learning that hard work pays off! As others above have said, Zoe should be congratulated for how well she has done.

  • Fay

    This is a great post – like most of the others say you have highlighted the good and the bad and that article really was just like a poison pen letter with an added touch of jealousy!
    Great post :D