We reported recently on how traditional media- and some online sites- had become full of rage at hearing of Zoe Sugg’s alleged earnings. People flocked to hate on Zoe – “She doesn’t deserve it… she didn’t even write her own book”. Swarms of people, including fans of YouTube blasted Zoe for “not having a real job” and suddenly it didn’t matter about the enjoyment this girl gives to millions of fans across the globe. Once again, it was about money.
Once again it was about the absurdity of the Internet being a platform to make money. Once again it was about the mind-boggling fact that people enjoy beauty as a hobby. Once again it was about everything apart from the fact Zoe Sugg is a entrepreneur.
Is This A Feminist Issue?
As we mentioned in our news story, we found it hard to understand why Zoe’s earnings have been analysed when most of the top 10 YouTubers in the world are male and they didn’t get torn apart in the same way.
The biggest YouTuber on the planet – PewDiePie – has over four times the amount of subscribers than Zoe, puts out more videos per week and ultimately earns a LOT more than Britain’s number one beauty vlogger. So why did most publications fail to mention his earnings?
We’re left wondering if the press take beauty and lifestyle gurus a lot less seriously because they see it as “frivolous”. Because beauty isn’t seen as an equal skill to other YouTube interests such as filmmaking, gaming or music. Whilst Joe, Caspar, Oli, Felix and the like are labelled as “lads” with “great bantz”, female creators often struggle to be taken seriously because “all they do” is haul lipstick and try on dresses for a camera.
Most of the media’s reporting seemingly deemed Zoe’s earnings so shocking because she’s a lifestyle guru.
Which gets us onto our next point…
This Is One Of The Oldest Professions Of ALL TIME
If you’re into football (or soccer, if you’re American) then you’ll know that every club- big or small- has a sponsor. Ranging from technology companies to fast food chains, their logo will be plastered across shirts and stands in return for paying the club a big chunk of money.
In a movie, a film star may pick up a can of Fanta or a line may be written into the script mentioning a certain restaurant. In music videos, you’ll spot certain drinks companies in there or see the singer use a lipstick with clear branding on it.
Paying big names to endorse a product is as old as time. It sells.
PR and marketing companies have been switched on to the power of bloggers (and later vloggers) for over ten years. Sponsorships bring in huge amounts of money for both the creators and the brands. The key selling point for Zoe, Tanya Burr, Gabriella Lindley and the other YouTubers is the fact they’re relatable their audiences trust them when they recommend products- sponsored or not.
Huge brands like the Body Shop, Cadbury’s, Avon and Nintendo pay YouTube creators to mention a product in a monthly favourites video or similar. In turn, the creator gets paid and the company see an influx in sales because the audience want to buy what their favourite star is talking about.
A lot of the money Zoe earns per month will come from advertisements on her channel. Celebrity endorsements are as old as time so the fact that Zoe is an Internet star shouldn’t leave people outraged or sickened- she’s no different from Audrey Hepburn when she endorsed Lux soap or Britney’s crazy advertising of Sony products, Makeup Forever cosmetics and her own fragrance in her Hold It Against Me video.
Instead of bringing Zoe down, we should be celebrating a woman in her mid-20s who has become a sensation thanks to her filming, presenting, editing, social media and branding skills.
We All Worshipped Madonna/S Club 7/One Direction At Some Point
The book deals, the beauty products… Zoe has carefully signed her name to a few merchandise deals that have rightfully seen her earnings shoot through the sky. Comments from people aged 12 to 82 complained about Sugg being “greedy” and fans buying her “tat” and suddenly everyone forgets that fandoms are an old concept and well all begged our mum for a ticket to a pop concert for some now-unknown band or to buy us a magazine just because it had our favourite reality TV star on.
Like Dan and Phil, Alfie Deyes, Miranda Sings and Oli White, Zoe has merchandise which fans buy purely because it has her name on. A quick straw poll in the office reveals a member of staff who had Spice Girls wallpaper in her bedroom and another who had a six foot poster of Leonardo Dicaprio in his Titanic heyday.
Zoe is a modern day icon, someone to idolise for teens (and adults) around the globe. In our opinion, we should be praising Zoe and her management for carefully selecting appropriate merchandising opportunities and not just whacking her name on anything and everything because it’ll sell.
We Wish Junior Doctors/Firefighters/Mental Health Nurses Got Paid A Ton Too
By far the greatest responses on social media to Zoe’s monthly salary was the pure injustice of it all. “It’s not fair! People who save lives get paid much less than that per year“. And yes, we absolutely agree. As junior doctors make headlines for striking against poor pay and shocking working conditions, it seems disgustingly tacky that Zoe’s five figure monthly income is making headlines too.
But it isn’t Zoe’s fault. And honestly, people are acting out like it is. Claiming Zoe should donate her salary to an underpaid nurse isn’t going to stop the fact there are thousands of nurses struggling to get by financially in the UK and around the globe. Blasting Zoe for “sitting on her ar*e posting on social media” isn’t going to make the government rethink their policy on bedroom tax.
You can probably have a go at Zoe Sugg for a lot of things but capitalism isn’t one of them.