Perhaps unsurprisingly, the gender wage gap that sees women across the world earning less than their male counterparts exists on YouTube. But instead of wages, the gap here is all to do with subscriber counts.
Take, for example, the world’s most-subscribed English-speaking male and female channels – PewDiePie and Jenna Marbles, respectively. While PewDiePie has over 55 million subscribers, Jenna has fewer than 20 million – and that’s despite both of them starting at around the same time, and both making similarly low-budget, personality-driven videos.
Even though women aren’t getting the same level of recognition for their work as men just yet, there are still plenty who are absolutely owning YouTube through their smarts, wit, creativity and talent. Here are just some of the many reigning queens of YouTube who need to be loudly celebrated:
Having started out on Vine, Liza Koshy made the switch to YouTube two years ago – and her star has been rising ever since. Her brand of zany comedy has earned her over 11 million subscribers, as well as multiple teen choice awards is a social media mega star with other 11 million subscribers. Her brand of zany comedy has earned her legions of adoring fans, as well as multiple teen choice awards, including the 2017 Female Choice Web star. Very few online stars have risen to such heights so quickly.
While a number of YouTube musicians have managed to cross-over into the mainstream music world after being scouted by big record companies, Dodie is one of the first British YouTube musicians to hit mainstream success without the help of industry professionals. Her first EP reached number 35 on the official UK album charts, while her 2017 follow up broke into the top 10, reaching number 6 in 2017 – which is pretty amazing for an unsigned artist.
Self-described “Superwoman” Lily Singh has done it all in her seven years of online stardom. From acting in big-name films such as the Ice Age franchise, to hitting the number 1 spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list with her 2017 book “How To Be A Bawse: A Guide Too Conquering Life”, there’s no avenue that Lily has left unexplored in her career. And the best part is that, throughout it all, Lily has championed girls and women of all shapes, sizes and colours.
Flawless makeup skills and a fearless approach to social justice issues has made Jackie Aina a serious player within the online beauty community, as well as a much-loved role model to black girls world-wide. Jackie is never afraid to speak truth to power, whether it’s about the lack of beauty products for darker skinned girls or problematic behaviour from fellow beauty YouTubers. That, plus her incredibly fashion sense and wicked sense of humour have earned her 1.2 million subscribers and even a high-profile collaboration with makeup brand TooFaced.
As one of the most high-profile trans creators on YouTube, Gigi has made big strides for transgender visibility on the platform – particularly through her public coming out as transgender, which has been viewed by over 3.5 million people. Her online career began with makeup tutorials, but has since expanded into fashion, vlogs and lifestyle, and in 2017 her documentary “This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous” helped her become one of the 25 most influential people on the internet.
Colleen has built a subscriber base of over 8 million with her zany character Miranda Sings – a send up of overly confident internet singers who’s as deluded about her singing ability as she is overzealous with her lipstick. Miranda’s popularity is so huge that in 2016 she got her very own Netflix series called “Back Off Haters,” which has already bee renewed for a second season. When she’s not singing off-key as Miranda, Colleen can be found singing and acting professionally on TV and theatre. Between her Miranda Sings channel and her own channel Psycho Soprano, Colleen has gained over 13 million subscribers.
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