I want to point you in the direction of the first video in my new online series -a collection of chatty videos tackling issues to do with body image/confidence in relation to blogging, YouTube and Instagram. In this episode I focus on cosmetic surgery.
I’ve wanted to discuss this for a while, because I noticed there was an obvious increase in this content on YouTube in particular. There’s boob and nose job vlogs, boob job update videos, and ‘my lip filler experiences’ and so on. I was always compelled to watch, I’m inherently nosey and somewhat fascinated by our quest for perfection, but I have to admit to feeling a level of conflict when watching them. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can see both positive and negatives about people uploading these kind of videos, so I thought it may be interesting to encourage debate and discussion about it.
It’s also something I was forced to consider myself recently. If you watch my videos you will know that this year I tried laser treatment in the pursuit of a better complexion, one minus the evidence of severe acne. I took some time to consider whether it was something I wanted to document, particularly in truth-baring moving image. I could opt be relatively vague about it, posting the odd still from my visit (or post visit) or tweet 140 characters that would be enough to satisfy the brand that kindly offered the treatment for review. And it was really tempting to do the minium because this is something I’ve very sensitive about, but because I didn’t want people thinking that by getting this treatment I was somehow say that I believe that people with acne scars aren’t beautiful, or less than, or should feel like they need to do something to improve them. In the end I chose to post quite a lengthy video about the process, the theory behind it as well, as the results and my personal experiences. I decided it would be worth being vulnerable and open about something that has caused me so much anguish if I was able to offer an honest account of something which may have the power to make someone feel a little bit more content with how they look. Lack of confidence can hinder your progress and happiness in such a profound way, so if I was able to inform someone about a treatment that could make a positive difference to them, then that was the right thing to do.
However, it’s not a black and white thing, and there are definitely some valid reasons why people may want to talk about their experiences with cosmetic treatments and surgery, and why some people may decide not to. I’m going to delve in to a few of them now.
Why they may not share on YouTube….
1.They may be very aware of their influences they have on the people that view their posts or watch their videos and might not want to be seen as endorsing and promoting plastic surgery. Even though it may have been the right decision for them, they may not want to risk influencing someone that idolises them, who may want to follow suit and get the procedure for all the wrong reason. There aren’t ways they can guarantee someone who views their videos will use the information correctly and apply it to their own life, so they may be trying to be responsible. The problem with becoming a role model, having fans, having followers, or being idolised, is that whether you like it or not you have influence and many people will want to imitate what you do or mirror what you have. The influencer may be aware that there’s no way they can be sure that the images of their appearance, and their openess about how they achieved it, hasn’t encouraged someone to get cosmetic surgery, who is actually a really inappropriate candidate for it. Perhaps there are other things, like their mental health for instance, that they should be working on before they consider surgery.
2.If the creater/influencer has had something done, it may well be that they were/are extremely insecure about that part of their being. Therefore it may be a very sensitive subject and something they don’t really feel comfortable talking about, particularly on the internet which is open to ANYONE. Perhaps thet went through some very difficult experiences, like bullying for example, so talking about it is extremely painful.
3. What we choose to do with our body is very personal, and to many people it is incredibly private. Why should they feel pressured to share something to do with their body, that is only their decision to make?
4.When you put anything online you open yourself to opinon. You will inevitably get people offering up opinions on whether you should or shouldn’t of had it done, and not all will voice it in a sympathetic or intelligent manner. Some will be cutting, harsh, cruel and if it’s something your sensitive about this could be very hard to deal with.
5. Of course there are some instances where the person that has had the surgery has deep emotional or mental issues that should have been addressed first, because they will have found out that the surgery hasn’t rid them of the confidence issues they thought it would. However, unless you’ve walked in that persons shoes, know their mind and what they’ve gone through, you will not have enough information to offer fair comment on whether it was right or wrong for them to get it done. So by keeping it to themselves the creater will be able to avoid unwanted and unforgiving opinion on the matter.
6. Perhaps their channel isn’t about image or beauty, so they just don’t see doing a video about it as relevant content. The joy about YouTube is that you have a channel that is yours to curate however you desire. You’re at the helm and it can take whatever direction, angle, style you desire. If you don’t feel it’s a good fit, or you simply don’t want it on there, then that is completely up to you…isn’t it ?
7. Perhaps its not something they’ve shared or been open out. Perhaps they feel an element of shame about it. Perhaps they think it shows a weakness. Perhaps they have previously noticed judgement from friends, family or society in regards to cosmetic surgery. Perhaps they believe it will harm their career in some way.
Why they may have chosen to share…
1.YouTube is a fantastic tool for research. If there’s anything you don’t understand or want to find out more about there will be a video that will cover the topic, however obscure. If a YouTuber is willing to talk about their own experiences of the procedure, from a honest and transparent perspective, this will help people prepare if they have decided on going through with it themselves. They’ll know about pain levels, recovery time, potential side effects and risk factors. Their honesty may also deter people from having the treatment too. The information they offer may make people realise it’s not the sensible or correct decision for them, or it may highlight medical reason why it may be unsafe for them to go ahead. Before any cosmetic procedure people should do a lot of research, but they may be more inclined to do it if they can acess the information via relatable people from YouTube, rather than a boring leaflet for example. Hopefully most will be honest too and can talk about the risks, side effects, recovery etc – which will make sure people are informed but also prepared.
Of course the problem with this theory is that some of the videos will be sponsored or an AD (even if they don’t tell their viewers this). This means that there in no guarnatee that their videos are telling the complete truth or the whole story. There may be vital information that they have been encouraged to omit or water down.
2. Perhaps they’re a YouTuber that wants a very open reltionships with your subscribers and viewers. They may be happy to share very intimate stuff on their channel and have no problem with being honest about what they’ve had done and why. Trust is a great way of building a loyal and engaged audience and can make being a YouTuber a very rewarding career.
3. If the YouTuber has the ability to talk in depth via a video, they have the opportunity to tell their personal story, and explain why they feel it’s the right decision for them. This may mean that people will be less hasty with their judgements, as they will have gained understanding of that creaters unique viewpoint. By hearing their reasoning and worries, it may in turn also help others make the right decision.
4. Some people have an innate ‘fuck it’ attitude. They may not give a monkeys about what people think and happy to talk openly about absolutely anything. God I admire these people, I wish I didn’t care what people thought of me….
So there’s a few reason YouTubers may/may not be open about the cosmetic work they’ve done, I cover more in the video, so please give it a watch.
I make these videos and write these post to encourage debate that will hopefully help me to be a responsible Youtuber, but also cause us all to re-access our judgements over others and how they choose to live their lives. Please do join the discussion and leave your views in the comments section here or on YouTube.