Six Feminist YouTubers You Should Be Watching If You Want to Write YA Novels
I’ve talked before about why we need diverse books and why it’s important to do research when writing diverse books. A book can’t be respectful and inclusive without being intersectionally feminist. (If you are unsure of what inclusion and intersectional feminism mean, check out this great Everyday Feminism article.)
A poorly researched, trope-filled, anti-feminist book will alienate readers (not to mention publishers!), plus it runs the risk of perpetuating harmful stereotypes. (If you don’t believe that poorly researched media that leans heavily on stereotypes is harmful, then explore the channels of some of the folks below for some thoughtful commentary.)
I’d argue that most people aren’t setting out to write books that alienate or harm their readership. But it takes plenty of education, research, and listening to be aware of potential microaggressions and to make sure that your work is inclusive and feminist.
For those of us who didn’t major in gender studies, luckily there are tons of free, high-quality resources online. YouTube is an especially great place to find content from a variety of voices about intersectional feminism.
Here are six awesome feminist YouTubers who offer really smart, thoughtful analysis of intersectional feminist, queer, and social justice topics, in a format that’s easy to digest. Anyone who wants to write YA would benefit from watching their channels. (Content note: There should be trigger warnings when appropriate, but be aware that there may be some NSFW language and/or images in some of these videos.)
For a queer, feminist, nerdy look at pop culture (especially books, film, and TV) and more:
Some more videos to check out: Why Are There No Gay Characters in Kid's Films?, Witches & Women // Something Wicked Pt. 1, Bury Your Gays: Why Do LGBT Characters Always Have To Die?, Dear Hollywood: I'm Sick of Straight People, Top 16 Female Characters on TV, The Male Lead Song (Star Wars Llama Song Parody)
For upbeat videos about serious topics relating to the media, intersectional feminism, gender, sexual orientation, and social justice:
Some more videos to check out: Can We Stop Killing Queer Characters?, Is Queercoding Villains Harmful?, There's more than one trans story, Why Are Characters White by Default?, What Is The "Friend Zone"?
For really smart videos with gorgeous graphics, ranging from representation in media (especially of trans, queer, and black characters), history, and social justice:
For scripted and unscripted videos covering feminism, race, mental health, media (TV, books, and film), and more:
Some more videos to check out: Is The New Twilight Feminist?, "Mediocre Dude Saves the World" Trope, 12 Things Not to Say to Depressed People, What Is the Patriarchy?, Me and Earl and The Manic Pixie Dying Girl, 6 Things Not To Say To a Mixed Person, What's the Difference Between Sex and Gender?, What Is Cultural Appropriation?
For accessible yet in-depth looks at weighty intersectional feminist topics:
Some more videos to check out: SEXISM 101: Internalized misogyny, slut-shaming, girl-hate etc., Ways that Men Tone Police Women Who Discuss Feminism/Sexism, Gaslighting as a Gendered Phenomenon, How Racism Shows Up As the Dismissal of POC'S Real, How Norms of Femininity Act as a Prison, The Birdcage Analogy for Oppression
For well-researched, high production value scripted videos analyzing media and pop culture and calling out common problematic tropes and themes:
Some more videos to check out: The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Tropes vs. Women), Women in Refrigerators (Tropes vs. Women), LEGO Friends - LEGO & Gender, Damsel in Distress: Part 1 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games, Women as Reward - Tropes vs Women in Video Games
Who are your favorite feminist YouTubers? What resources do you use to learn about writing, media analysis, and feminism? Let us know in the comments!