Getting Political on Youtube via Makeup, Contouring, and Comedy

You may or may not have heard of her, but I’ve recently developed a hearty admiration for Sailor J. Slightly newer to the scene and sitting at about 206k subscribers, Sailor J is the “beauty guru” / content creator we’ve only dreamt of until now. She’s witty, smart, funny, and incredibly adept at bringing political and social commentary to the YouTube medium.

Sailor J, or JJ Smith, makes lifestyle vignettes about everything from fandom to the astrology. I first stumbled upon her channel when GETTING A MAN 101 made its way into my inbox—but let’s pause right there, it’s not what you think. Usually guised as a makeup tutorial, Sailor J puts together a satirical manifesto as she openly mocks archaic views about women and ignites a conversation about intersectional feminism through an overly familiar format. “If it rubs off on anything…they’re going to know you’re a witch,” she exclaims to the viewer while buffing foundation across her cheeks.

But, she has something else to say.

The video, just under five minutes, takes you through the steps any beauty guru would. She glenty swipes a light champagne-colored eyeshadow across her lids, but she’s using the gesture to challenge the false perception that women wear makeup for some ulterior motive—to please or attract the opposite sex. In the same vein, How to have Bedroom Eyes takes us through a similar formula. She talks about shading and blending—but it’s more than just creating depth by smudging a dark shade of eyeshadow across the curve of your brow. Whether she’s talking about contouring or criticizing some women’s need to put down other women, Sailor J is combining satire and very real, relevant conversations on an often quiet side of the platform.

Beyond social commentary, tackling political conversations on Youtube can be just as difficult as in the classroom or at work and is something that we seldom see in the beauty and lifestyle corner of YouTube . She caught the attention of sources like Allure when she put out a video titled How To Do Thanksgiving Makeup That Has Nothing To Do With The 566 Federally Recognized Tribes. While writing #NODAPL across her cheeks and mocking Disney’s Pocahontas, Sailor J points out a disturbing trend in “native-inspired looks” that pollute Youtube and social media each holiday season, using makeup as a form of appropriation. “It’s all about your (the white, female content creator’s) convenience, not the wellbeing of a traumatized nation of people.” It’s a conversation that we’ve been been having, but her utilization of the same platform as a direct combatant to the conflict is ingenious. 

Sailor J says what we all want to say, what we need to say. She’s gritty, even giving this gamer’s salty vocabulary a run for its money, but she’s right. Content creators, regardless of medium, have the ability to use their platform to build on ideas. From her makeup tutorials to her book reviews, Sailor J is a refreshing light coming from a void where we need better representation and smarter conversations. Makeup can be makeup, there doesn’t need to be a deeper meaning behind which color you choose to blend into the crease of your eyelid, but seeing Sailor J utilize that not-so-basic gesture and turn it into critical commentary on society is something that we need more of. Even shown through the lens of satire, these faux-lifestyle guides and tutorials aren’t as jocular as they may seem, because, rather than mocking the genre, Sailor J is leading an attack on objectification and discrimination. While you might pull a spit-take or two at her jabs and jokes, she truly is, in her own way, guiding us to live a better lifestyle: one where we’re loud and counter the toxic perceptions that we face each day.

Indigo Boock
“Rock On!”

Thank Yous and Pre-Teen Aliens at the GeekGirlCon ’16 Closing Ceremony

The final moments of GeekGirlCon are always bittersweet. On the one hand, it is when it becomes very clear very fast just how near the end really is. On the other, it brings with it the Closing Ceremony, which is always such a magical way to conclude the other-worldly experience that is GeekGirlCon.

To start off, GeekGirlCon staff and board members thanked attendees for spending this weekend celebrating socially-conscious geekdom. They also took a moment to address the sheer amount of time and energy staff and Agents voluntarily and consistently dedicate to the mission of making GeekGirlCon a reality. They implored attendees to add their support to the pool as donors and volunteers. It was a moment of true gratitude all around and a real indication of just what sort of atmosphere GeekGirlCon cultivates. Here is a video compiled of scenes and feels from GeekGirlCon ’16.

After the last shoutout was given and the last round of genuinely heart-warming, congratulatory applause had trickled away, the main event was announced and actors from Jet City Improv took to the stage to debut their upcoming show: Periods in History.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

Hayden Black on Gen Zed, the First Animated Show with a Transgender Lead Character

Hayden Black is a writer, voiceover artist and the creator of Hulu’s Goodnight Burbank. He’s also the creator, writer and director of Gen Zed, an animated comedy about the adventures of four Millennial housemates. What’s notable about Gen Zed is that it is the first animated series with a transgender actress in the lead role—it’s about time! Here, he gives us a bit of background on his upcoming show and the importance of diversity in the media.

 

Tell us a little about Gen Zed.

It’s an anarchic comedy about growing up whilst immersed in tech. About finding out who we are whilst drowning in choices. It’s also about understanding and accepting each other no matter who we are. So buried in all that punk is a totally hippy vibe.

What are the main characters in the show like?

Real. The one thing I hope separates us from other animated series is that while we might have similar flights of fancy, the people here are real. They’re beautiful, they’re ugly, they’re spiteful, they’re loving, they’re pieces of shit, they’re wonderful. Just like you and me.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

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