His Makeup is Always #OnPoint:
YouTube as A Public Space for Activism.
The YouTube beauty community can be considered the fastest-growing segment of the online entrepreneurial world. Reports have shown that “beauty vlogging” in the form of makeup tutorials and beauty product hauls are among the most viewed videos on YouTube. The people who make these videos are often referred to as content creators, primarily females who encompass the 18–25 age range. Most, if not all of these YouTubers have used their acquired fame and success in this beauty platform as a means to kick-start lucrative careers in the beauty industry. Some of the most famous beauty enthusiasts include teenager Bethany Mota and professional makeup artists such as Michelle Phan and Kandee Johnson to name a few.
It has become apparent that the YouTube beauty community has been gaining momentum in the last few years. As hundreds of new beauty creators are popping up seemingly every single day. This public space is often illustrated as being an open forum for creativity and exposure. Many female “gurus” have expressed their gratitude for the platform stating that they see it as a great opportunity for reaching out to people and sharing their knowledge and love of makeup. Even though this community is open to everyone it is apparent that the vast majority of its members are females. The main reason would be because females are the only ones that are expected and encouraged to wear makeup in our society. Judith Butler author of “Bodies That Matter”, would say that we are expected to perform according to our prescribed gender, a concept she names gender performativity. For Butler, gender is nothing more than an act that we engage in on a daily basis. Therefore, putting on makeup is an acceptable way for females to perform their gender BUT NOT MEN!
Well, that is certainly not the case if you ask talented beauty gurus such as MannyMUA and PatrickStarrr.
Self proclaimed beauty enthusiasts PatrickStarrr and MannyMUA represent the few males who broadcast makeup and beauty videos on YouTube. Together, Manny and Patrick have about 1,600,000 subscribers on their beauty channels (on par with other famous female content creators). In my opinion what makes these YouTubers so unique and brave is the fact that they are using YouTube as a platform for protest against what society deems “appropriate” given their perceived ‘’gender’’.
Manny Gutierrez, 24, and Patrick Simondac,25, use their platform on social media to both educate people about beauty as well as spreading the message that makeup is for everyone and that it should by no means be restricted to females. Even though Manny and Patrick broadcast beauty-related videos via Youtube, it is important to note that they represent two different styles. For example, Manny looks like a typical guy who wears jeans, t-shirts and converse with the exception of doning a full face of makeup. While Patrick chooses to dress in full drag complete with dresses and high heels.
In an interview with Examiner.com Manny is asked why he chooses to wear makeup and he responds by stating the following:
“ I think, for me, it’s more of a freedom of expression. I was never the most creative kid, but once I started to play with makeup, my creative outlet really opened up, and it became easier for me. It’s to show people that I am creative and artistic, but you have to have the guts to do it. It’s the beauty of being able to exemplify your strength.”
Essentially, these male makeup artists are revolutionizing the beauty community on YouTube by simply doing what they love in front of thousands of people around the world. Their platform reaches people in numerous countries and I believe that they can use this to their advantage. I also think that Manny and Patrick’s current situation mirrors Marsha “Pay It no Mind” Johnson’s life. Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transwoman who became an important face to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in New York City. She was recognized by being herself and fearing no judgment of the harassment and ridicule of dressing and living as a woman, while having the masculine features of a man. I feel that Patrick and Manny embody Marsha P. Johnson’s determination regarding the opposition and challenging of gender boundaries.
Moreover, as a female I believe that what these men are doing is very brave and admirable. I cannot say that I fully understand the personal hardships that they face on a daily basis but I seriously admire them for staying true to themselves. Advocating for the right to live ones life as one pleases without constantly worrying about offending other people who might not share or support a particular lifestyle is not an easy thing to do.