Wednesday, I removed YouTube from my phone, blocked it on my computer using LeechBlock, and removed the app from my Vizio Smart TV. Why, you might ask.
In general most of the internet and the world-wide web is a total time sink. Most people probably find social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the most egregious but recently YouTube – particularly makeup videos has taken over my life.
YouTube makeup videos function in exactly the same way as all forms of advertisements. Generate anxiety about a physical characteristic, a social or economic status or the lack of some possession and then provide the solution to the problem the video created in the first place.
As a women of a certain age, YouTube videos about “makeup for mature skin” have sucked me in. Many of the women producing these videos are in their 30s and 40s. The fact that the skin of women of this relatively young age is “mature” seems inherently misogynistic.
For most of my life I was thin and wore little to no makeup. To be honest, menopause changed all that so I was a ripe candidate for the anxiety and advice of YouTube videos.
Ironically many of the women who are in their 60s and even 70 who are making these videos seem to be sincere about helping other women but makeup videos on YouTube is big business and these women are part of it. The production values of the video with professional lighting and filters that remove all wrinkles are the same techniques that television advertisers use.
Makeup videos on YouTube and Instagram have changed the makeup industry. There are now a set of people, mostly women and mostly makeup artists, who are “influencers”. Makeup companies send them products to review; the subsequent videos are part of the company’s marketing campaign. Thus, your average YouTube makeup video, even if it is a women in her 60s, presents as unreal and unattainable a vision as any Revlon or Maybelline commercial on TV does.
The degree of anxiety and self-dissatisfaction that watching a lot of these videos generate is immense, deeply distracting and even addicting. I therefore did a self-intervention and am going cold turkey. I’ll let you know whether I stay on the wagon or not.