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Content Oversaturation, Fake Patriotism: The Fault In Our YouTube Stars

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If there is one thing the entertainment industry has in common with engineering, it is the oversaturation of the two fields. The video game industry faces the same problem with oversaturation as well, like the Battle Royale and First Person genres. One of the reasons of Bollywood’s declining quality is the oversaturation of romance, action and masala films as well as party and item songs. It’s like you can see it anywhere and everywhere. YouTube is no exception.

In the post Filthy Frank, YouTube as well as the demonetisation policies, YouTube is just a shell of its former self. Not only its policies are affecting everyone for the wrong reasons, its shift towards pro-advertisers and corporations has made it impossible for anyone to enjoy YouTube anymore. YouTube is World War II’s Germany, where the Allied Powers didn’t care about fighting anymore. They only cared about who gets what and in YouTube’s case, it’s not about ‘Broadcasting Yourself’ anymore, it’s about which channel is more profitable.

With that being said, let’s talk about the current state of YouTube India. YouTube India at this point has become a handheld Bollywood device that aims to target kids. Because let’s be honest, the majority of YouTube are just kids and teens who just watch and get influenced by the current generation of YouTubers. However, the current generation of YouTubers are getting more egotistical as their numbers are increasing day by day. Let’s not forget that they just copy everything from the West instead of making their own content. Thus, most Indian YouTube channels have become complacent.

I mean look at tech channels. With the popularity of MKBHD, Unbox Therapy, SuperSaf, JerryRigEverything and other Western tech channels, there has been a rise in Indian tech channels, and let’s just say that their content is oversaturated. All they do is review some phones, talk about tech, what tech they have, something like that, which has already been done by most Western tech channels.

When the Indo-China clash happened in June of 2020, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed, most tech channels told their viewers that they won’t review Chinese products anymore. A few weeks later, when One Plus 8, a Chinese phone, got launched and their sales skyrocketed like Mount Everest, these reviewers forgot all about the what they’d said earlier.

It really doesn’t change the fact that they are hypocrites who are making money in the name of patriotism. To be quite honest, they don’t care about tech, they care about trends. Speaking of patriotism, this is one of the favourite weapons used by YouTubers, particularly those who ‘roast’. In reality, they are just LeafyIsHere clones who are capable of making the environment of the platform more toxic than ever. And the T-Series vs Pewdiepie is an example of that.

Long story short, Pewdiepie made some jokes about India and created a disstrack against T-Series. This gave the roasters more content to upload. They ‘roasted’ Pewdiepie, made diss-tracks against him so that they could gain clout, views and money all in the name of good ol’ patriotism. It’s funny, they won’t talk about the current issues and security concerns that plague the country. Instead, they support people such as Hindustani Bhau, who abuses people and sends rape threats to women in the name of patriotism and calls out a Swedish Boi who made some jokes about the conditions of the country.

People who defended Pewdiepie were attacked by the angry mob who took the patriotism card to the new level by abusing and threatening these people. Many of these kids don’t even know what sedition law is and they want to lecture people about being a deshdrohi or anti-national. It’s sad how patriotism has been perverted by these wannabes who think that by supporting corporates, they are contributing to the country.

In reality, they are just supporting a company that abuses its power by copying Ritviz’s song , copystriking Salil Jamdar’s diss track, making terrible remakes of their beloved songs such as ‘Masakali’ and their treatment of artists. T-Series is just using the patriotism card just to sell more songs.

The YouTube vs Tik Tok feud in 2020 only goes on to show how far YouTubers and their audience will go against TikTokers. Roasters have been making 15 videos on either Tik Tokers, Dhinchhak Pooja, Deepak Kalal etc. and they don’t have a problem whatsoever. So, what has changed? A couple of TikTokers actually responded to the videos being made against them and  roasters lost their cool. Then, thousands of YouTube videos were made against TikTokers and the app itself.

According to the roasters, TikTokers were showing their attitude attacking and they needed to be put in their place, even though they’ve made thousands of videos against them in attitude, thus they are in no position to talk about attitude. When CarryMinati uploaded his video that later got deleted, things got escalated. It was during this time that roasters and their audience used homophobic slurs against TikTokers, undermining the progress made by the LGBTQIA+ community in a single stroke. Roasters, YouTube news channels and even tech channels started milking from this feud, making money, clout mongering and hurting a community that has been discriminated against by society, all because one or two TikTokers responded.

It’s funny that many roasters, including CarryMinati, tried to justify their action by saying that they were taken out of context. This is the tactic Shubham Mishra played when he was being called out for his rape threats against Agrima Joshua. In CarryMinati’s case, it is hypocritical of him to talk about out of context when he did the same thing to Pewdiepie by dropping a diss-track on him when he was taken out of context during the latter’s feud with T-Series. Context has become nothing more than an excuse for roasters and other YouTubers to justify their action (more like mistakes).

carryminati, youtube, tik-tok
CarryMinati

In 2016, LeafyIsHere used to make videos that made YouTube look like the Wild West and those videos have made society toxic. History is now repeating itself as roasters are just ruining everything good about YouTube in the name of roasting. When the sudden demise of Sushant Singh Rajput escalated on social media, there were people who capitalised from his death for views and clout. In simple words, they found this the right time to grow their channel.

One example is Steve Huff. He made a few videos in which he could be seen having a “conversation” with Sushant’s ghost. In reality, he just took interviews of Sushant and distorted his voice to make it sound like a ghost. And since the audience was too emotional, he was able to make millions of views from this. Further, this trend also allowed copy-cats to make the same “paranormal conversation” that Steve had made to increase views. Then there were other YouTubers who were just making conspiracy theories or putting the deceased’s face as a thumbnail for their videos.

And don’t get me started on comedy. There was a time when The Filthy Frank Show was more funnier than most of Indian stand-up comedians, Instagram try-hard comedians, wannabe edgy roasters and ‘comedy skits’ because of how unconventional and innovative this art form is. When the show discontinued in 2017, comedy in YouTube became bland.

Nowadays, we have stand-up comedians who only make political statements instead of making people laugh, Instagram comedians who mostly copy everything Lilly Singh does but 10 times cringy, ‘edgy’ roasters who make terrible comments on women and people of the LGBTQIA+ community in the name of dark humour. These comedians make comedy skits on YouTube that are mostly money-hungry machines rather than genuine comedy videos. It’s disheartening to see the legacy of Filthy Frank being ruined by grave robbers just like EA ruined Star Wars Battlefront2’s (2005) legacy with a modern iteration. All it was was an online gambling machine to lure kids.

I think the reason why YouTubers are doing this and creating these problems is because of one thing — emotion. They know their audience is emotional and oversensitive so they decided to milk those emotions to get fame and bucks. That’s why whatever the audience, most are emotional and over-sensitive. And although it is okay to be emotional and sensitive, it can also be a destructive behaviour. That is why I believe that people shouldn’t be sensitive or emotional over anything and everything.

In the end, YouTube has become a place of time pass rather than entertainment and it is no longer a place where people can enjoy being themselves anymore. People make content for the sake of views and money rather than enjoying their profession and making their audience enjoy. The new policies are just making the platform look like George Orwell’s 1984, which is unfortunate. They’ve turned their backs on their roots, which is why in my opinion, YouTube is a shell of its former self.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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