— YouTube (@YouTube) March 8, 2016
Some people may like to spend their free time binging on Netflix or catching up on the latest episodes of their favorite TV shows, but I would much rather watch YouTube. With a short attention span like mine, new episodes of TV shows are hard to keep up with. But with my favorite YouTubers, I know the kind of entertainment I’m signing up for. I know what content I like, usually there are weekly updates, and if worse comes to worse and I’m not a fan of the latest video, I can skip it and look forward to something else next week. There’s no commitment necessary, but for my favorites who always keep me entertained, I’m certainly dedicated.
YouTube is obviously at a peak of success right now. Content creators are succeeding in a multitude of different mediums while continuing to publish videos their fans know and love. Mainstream media is starting to recognize these big names in TV segments, promotion of events, and attention to the hard work all of these people are putting into their channels. As an avid YouTube consumer who watched a lot of these people rise to such great success, the enormity of their impact on society is both overwhelming and extremely gratifying.
For this year’s International Women’s Day, a video was published announcing a project with a number of female identified YouTubers – #OwnYourVoice. These women are serving as Change Ambassadors for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign to advocate for gender equality. These content creators are coming from all over the world to team up and work together on issues they are particularly passionate about. This campaign includes Hayla Ghazal (UAE), Chika Yoshida (Japan), Ingrid Nilsen (US), Jackie Aina (US), Louise Pentland (UK), Taty Ferreira (Brazil), and Yuya (Mexico). They have all lent their voice to certain issues surrounding gender equality from intersecting perspectives, which is so inspiring to see from such a diverse community.
From body positivity to restroom reform, these women have made it their mission to make a change in society for the better. Hearing the voices of women of color, LGBT women, and a number of different experiences in partnership with the UN speaks greatly to the impact this medium has and the way it is using its position to inspire change. One of my favorite things about being a YouTube consumer is the intimate nature these videos offer. The content creators you are seeing are working from a place of personal motivation, they let you see parts of their life through social media and engagement with fans, and they give people the opportunity to connect with them in a way that you rarely see from other public figures. The immediacy of YouTube gives the viewer instant gratification – they can share and comment and like and tell their friends why you, too, should be paying attention. These YouTubers began their careers so simply, by sitting in front of a camera and sharing their voices with the world. Not only has this amplified majorly over the past decade, but now, as opportunities such as #OwnYourVoice show us, their passions are our passions, too.
Take the time to watch all of these inspiring women speak about why they are motivated to work toward gender equality. With so many different representations of women present as Change Ambassadors, the UN and YouTube have a pivotal opportunity to lend a hand in the issues that are greatly affecting our world. I am so excited to see the work that these women continue to do. It is projects like these that remind me just how attainable change is, and the effort we are all capable of contributing to making it happen.
Chika Yoshida https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6didxWX3bU
Ingrid Nilsen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9t9XvB8b-w
Jackie Aina https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2z1vVfvvlc
Louise Pentland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llAH5muYjRs
Taty Ferreira https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ2jnPQnw-0