The Troubled Legitimation of Beauty YouTube
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In this thesis I present an analysis of Facebook comments discussing the feud between beauty YouTubers James Charles and Tati Westbrook. These Facebook comments allowed me to conduct an analysis of the discourses which focus specifically on beauty YouTuber James Charles. Within this thesis YouTube is considered a new and more technologically advanced form of television. This technologically advanced aspect of YouTube makes YouTube as a new form of television more eligible for easier legitimation of the medium. However, through the analysis of the Facebook comments I find that denigrating discourses that have surrounded television for decades, also appear to be persistent in this new form of television as well. After in-depth analysis I find that this is mainly due to Charles’ assumed audience of teenage girls, as well as Charles’ content being compared to genres of television that are considered to belong to low culture, such as reality television. I argue that the delegitimation of Charles and his content is strongly intertwined with ideas surrounding gendered culture and what kind of culture is considered to be ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Charles’ content is considered ‘bad’, and to commenters this also means that the young audience that Charles is assumed to attract needs to be protected from the negative influence that the commentators Charles consider to be. I argue that although Charles’ content is viewed by millions of people, the discourses around his channel and his audience delegitimate it for reasons similar to the reasons people have delegitimated broadcast television for decades.