I was participating in the producers-only stream for RKG yesterday when an interesting thing happened. Somehow, Discord came up and a woman who participates heavily in the FB group said she didn’t feel comfortable in the Discord chatroom. Buncha dudes said you just had to jump in and blah, blah, blah. I told the first woman that I agreed with her, and a third woman chimed in to agree. Dudes kept insisting that the room was so welcoming and ignored what we three women were saying. When one woman tried to point out the cliquey nature, dudes were like, “But we became friends! But just join in!” without really getting what the women were trying to say. They took their experiences to be the standard and factual while dismissing our experiences or trying to excuse them away. It was a microcosm of privilege in a concrete setting, and I have rarely seen it so starkly.
I want to point out that I’m not saying they’re terrible guys or raging against the machine. They all seemed like nice dudes, and I say that sincerely. My point in this anecdote is how ingrained such behavior can be and how difficult it can be to make someone see privilege where they only see normality. I thought about bringing up the gender component, but didn’t. In the end, we dropped the conversation with no one being convinced that they were wrong.
And, I don’t think anyone was wrong. The dudes were right in that the Discord chat is inviting and welcoming IF you can fit into the culture. Which is very laddy. Which is not the same as bro culture, but it’s still off-putting. And we women were right that it’s not welcoming if you don’t fit into the culture.
Side note: It’s been weird that the two YouTube groups I like both left their big companies (IGN and Buzzfeed, respectively) to go private within six months of each other. As I noted in my last post on this subject, The Try Guys’ targeted demo is young women whereas RKG’s targeted demo is young men. The Try Guys have been away from Buzzfeed for roughly eight months, and I realized when they came back from their Christmas break that I don’t like them nearly as much now as I did when they were with Buzzfeed. I thought about why that was, and I realized there were a few reasons. One, they’ve become more of A BRAND and less of just four goofy guys trying interesting things that get them out of their comfort zone. They have merch now, and they push that merch in their videos. Yes, in a jocular way, but it’s still them hawking their merch. Two, they had a video in which they showed the stuff they did before Buzzfeed, and Eugene’s was disturbingly brilliant. It showed in stark relief how different the stuff he’s doing now is. I wasn’t the only one to notice, and he had to tweet out why he thought what he was doing now still aligned with his vision.