YouTube Made An International Women's Day Video And The Reaction Was Shameful

9 March 2016, 16:23 | Updated: 17 October 2017, 09:40

We the Unicorns

By Benedict Townsend

Is it okay that this has become the standard on YouTube?

I'm going to prefix this article with a clear pronunciation of my bias: I believe that International Women's Day is a good and productive thing. I believe that hatred and vitriol is never a useful or effective way to react to something I disagree with. I believe that women are fundamentally equal to men, but that we are a long way from having a society (or a world) that accurately reflects that. If you disagree with any of these points, that's your right and you may have an impulse to immediately stop reading, but I would implore you to continue.




Let's just get this out of the way, there is an International Men's Day: it's November 19th. Though interestingly, according to Google data, people care far more about International Men's Day in March (when it's International Women's Day), than November (when the day itself actually is). In other words, it seems that people care more about screaming 'why isn't there an International Men's Day!' Then actually celebrating the day itself:


mens day

Source: The Mirror here

I'm not saying this because I hate men (we're great), I am just presenting you with some context for this issue - because as you'll see, when it comes to the internet and gender equality - things get pretty nasty, pretty quickly.

YouTube Made A Video

YouTube has been stepping up its efforts to diversify the kind of creators it promotes - and in that vein they made a video especially for IWD. The video, which featured YouTube faves like Louise Pentland and Ingrid Nilsen was all about the importance of gender equality:


The reaction was, ironically, quite equal:


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.00.58


Yes, pretty disappointing - but let's be honest, is anyone surprised? YouTube, for all it's fantastic mini-communities and entertaining creators has also always harboured a huge, ugly vat of pure hatred. 'YouTube Comments' are now basically a byword for 'cesspit of horrors' and this is just yet another example.

The most baffling thing about it (as usual) is the amount of people commenting that this video was 'forced' on them by YouTube - as if YouTube literally tied them up and made them watch this,  as if YouTube took away their ability to go to literally any other video or go to literally any other website they wanted to at any time. No one was forced to watch this, but people came to it anyway specifically just to hate on it, because the world is a dark and baffling place. Have these people not heard of video games or naps? Video games and naps are far more fun than hatred.

Let's Stick To The Video

I'm not going to make this an extended discussion on the finer points of gender relations, but let's just focus on this video. It's a video that had good intentions: it was asking that we respect women as equal and empowered human beings. A lot of the comments went down the usual 'BUT WHY ONLY MENTION WOMEN WHY NOT MEN?!!' route as if videos have to be about all subjects at all times or they aren't fair. By this logic every YouTube video would be infinitely long because you'd always end up having to mention every single thing that has ever existed or occurred so that you don't miss anything out.

loonest video

What I'm saying is If I make a video about Ferraris being cool cars, no one comments 'WHY DIDN'T YOU MENTION ASTON MARTINS' - they accept that the video was focused on one thing. This was just a quick video about one subject - equality from a female perspective - and that's fine.


Are They Horrible - Or Are They Just 12

There is a difference between being a bigot and being ignorant. It doesn't excuse nasty behaviour but it makes it easier to understand. For example: it is easier to understand someone that has never met a gay person being homophobic than it is to comprehend someone has lived among gay people in an uneventful way and is homophobic. Again I must stress: it doesn't make the homophobia okay, but it explains why it may be happening and offers a glimmer of hope that the person might learn the error of their ways.

One of the side-effects of the anonymity of YouTube is that you don't know old people are. I would wager that a lot of the most hateful comments are from younger people, though. I was a young people once, I remember being passionate and angry about things. I also remember getting older and learning more about those things and regretting my passion. There is a 300% chance that in five years I will look back to the person I am now and realise I was ignorant or short-sighted in some aspects. It's life, it's growing up. What I'm saying is that if you are one of these passionate young people who hate the stupid women and their equal rights!!!1111!!!11!! maybe take a deep breath and a step back.Ask yourself why you're even watching and commenting on a video that you clearly don't like - or need to watch. Ask yourself if the world really needs any more negativity and hatred.