Anti-Bullying Week: These YouTubers Are Totally Owning Bullies
Some vlog inspo for Anti-Bullying Week
This week is Anti-Bullying Week, a week where we discuss bullying as a nation and ask questions like why bullies exist, who are the victims of bullying, and what can we do to help?
But instead of listening to us go on and on about bullying, we thought why not turn to some of YouTube’s most popular vloggers? Believe it or not, plenty of the amazing internet sensations we all know and love were also once victims of bullying.
In this video, Phil Lester (aka Amazing Phil) admitted to a hair dye disaster that made him look like a florescent orange ‘highlighter’ at the beginning of high school, and fessed up that his attempts to sell the hamsters he had been breeding to other classmates immediately gave him the nickname “hamster boy”. He said that bullies would shout “hamster” at him, accompanied by hamster noises. Now, though, with 3.1 million subscribers to his channel and his own radio show on Radio 1, we reckon that Amazing Phil is a much better nickname.
Joey Graceffa's channel has pulled in a staggering 5.3 million subscribers, and in this vid he describes painful experiences like never having a partner in class activities, being laughed at in the cafeteria, and being publically humiliated when no one wanted to “save Joey” in a class CPR demonstration.
He also recalls how three girls used to sing “It’s Raining Men” at him, but with different lyrics – “it’s raining Joey’s guts, hallelujah". Although Joey was bullied throughout 5th grade, he received his first camcorder that same year. This kicked off his passion for film-making and, despite the bullying, ultimately led to his fantastic YouTube career. Hurray!
Writer, impressionist and comedian Shane Dawson, whose channel has a whopping 5.7 million subscribers, made this video in 2010 detailing his experience of bullying. He tells his viewers that he understands their various anxieties because he has been through it all – drugs, abuse, alcoholism, self-harm, and even homelessness.
Shane remembers how middle school was his “personal hell” because he was “picked on every day”, by students and even by teachers. His advice? Find your outlet! Shane encourages his viewers to find something that they are passionate about, because that will give them their purpose in life. His outlet was writing skits and creating characters, and look where it got him!
Emma Blackery may be a strong and opinionated YouTuber now, but in this video she says that she was a “doormat” back at school. Emma, whose channel has over a million subscribers, gave her viewers some controversial advice about bullying from her own personal experience and says that teachers are wrong to say you should ignore bullies and get outside help, but that you should stand up for yourself instead because what’s the worst that bullies can do? She says she wishes she could go back in time and face up to her tormentors. but she does also say that becoming confident is a process that develops gradually over time.
Ryan Higa posted this video to his 15.5 million followers last year. He describes how he was pranked, shoved and pushed to the floor almost every day until he felt he couldn’t bear it any longer. Using “comedy as a defence”, Ryan began actively taking part in the humour and taking credit for the jokes made about him. Not only did the bullies stop once he was no longer a fun victim to target, but he realised his passion for comedy and went on to make a career out of it! Ryan encourages viewers to figure out their own unique situation and find what solution would work best for them.
Of course, YouTubers don’t have to have been bullied at school to know what it’s like. Internet trolls are pretty much part of the package when you rocket to internet fame, and many YouTubers have commented on their experiences of cyber-bullying since their channels have taken off.
Zoella (who was named ‘Britain’s most influential YouTuber’ in 2013 by The Telegraph and who now has more than 9.4 million subscribers) admitted that cyber-bullying has knocked her confidence in the past.
Earlier this year, at BBC Radio 1’s ‘Anti-Social Media Live’ conference where vloggers like Louise Pentland, Jim Chapman and Jack Howard chatted about cyber-bullying, beauty vlogger Patricia Bright said that she doesn’t reply to negative comments by internet trolls because it merely ‘fuels the fire’.
As Ryan Higa points out in the above video, maybe we can’t stop bullies from existing, but we certainly can beat them. These YouTube sensations have proved that finding your passion can help you find your feet, that anything can be achieved despite being a victim of bullying and even that being bullied can help you on your way to a high-flying career.