Subscribe, Comment and Like: Documenting the real-girls of YouTube

BethanyMotaBy Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

Aside from crime-fighting heroines in dystopian worlds or century-old Disney princesses –  strong, relatable girl characters are almost nonexistent in the multiplex. Young girls are looking elsewhere for relatable entertainment: their phones, their tablets, and their laptops.

YouTube has more than one billion users. Every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded. Mobile revenue is up over 100% every year. More than one million channels earn revenue, thousands of which make six figures per year.

Without financial assistance from a studio or permission from an executive, women are making an impact on Generation X and Y by creating their own documentaries, of sorts, and broadcasting within minutes to the internet. By “vlogging” (video blogging) and sharing their lives, their thoughts, their humor, and their talents, these unique female personalities are catching the eyes of millions around the world – particularly young girls.

Whether Grace Helbig and Jenna Mourey are GraceHelbigmaking them laugh or Hilah Johnson is teaching them how to cook; whether Bethany Mota is whipping up a healthy snack or Colette Butler and Sadie Robertson are instilling self-confidence, there is something for everyone. Somehow, these women have a way with connecting to their audiences. Primarily, by being real. They are seen as heroines, role models and super-women without carrying guns, having magical powers, or showing off their size-zero waistlines. They read and convey their thoughts on books (Christine Riccio; /polandbananasBOOKS), they relay the humor and hardship of raising children (Brittany Null; /thenivenulls), and they inspire hope for healthier lifestyles (Olivia Ward & Hannah Young; /myfitspiration). Women of all ages are turning on their cameras, uploading their stories, and becoming the go-to entertainment for this generation.

The young female demographic would rather log in to YouTube and get their entertainment and inspiration without a dollar sign attached. If film studios and production companies want to get more people back in the seats of the multiplex, they can look YouTube for inspiration. They can research YouTube analytics and realize that these women are gaining followers for a reason and that this popular platform will not be going away anytime soon.


© Brigid K. Presecky (4/6/15)

Top Photo: Bethany Mota (

Middle Photo: Grace Helbig (

Bottom Photo: Colette Butler ( and Brittany Null (

Q: Does this argument sound familiar?

13GoingOn30“Who are these women? Does anyone know? I don’t recognize any of them. I want to see my best friend’s big sister, the girls from the soccer team, my next door neighbor, real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are. These are the women to look up to. Let’s put life back into the magazine. And fun and laughter and silliness. I think we all – I think all of us – want to feel something that we’ve forgotten or turned our backs on because maybe we didn’t realize how much we were leaving behind. We need to remember what used to be good. If we don’t, we won’t recognize it even if it hits us between the eyes.” (Jennifer Garner as “Jenna Rink” in 13 Going on 30)

Tags: Associate Editor, Brigid Presecky, Feminist, Protagonist, YouTube

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