When you think female vlogger, you may immediately think of YouTube sensation Zoella. A young, vibrant English woman who has turned her love for fashion, beauty and makeup into a multi million dollar business and way of life. Beauty vloggers have a large audience and their own place in the world of YouTube and vlogging. In fact, ‘female vloggers participate in more vulnerable and personal types of engagements, promoting higher levels of intimacy’ (Smith, 2012). And it’s this intimate connections created through bedroom, makeup vlogs that generate community and a niche.
However, what about when the vlogging leaves the bedroom and women take to YouTube in the form of travel vlogging? An issue in my research that I’ve come across is regarding the gender imbalance of daily travel vloggers. To my knowledge, there are no female daily travel vloggers, at least on the scale and reach that their male counterparts have.
However, let’s talk about 2 amazing travel vloggers and YouTuber’s who are inspiring a new generation of travel vlogging.
Hey Nadine, is a young Canadian travel vlogger who uploads twice a week. She produces travel related content like travel hacks, advice, solo travel for women, group travel & travel beauty. She’s racked up 325 000 subscribers and travelled across the globe.
Raya Was Here uploads very infrequently, however is dating daily travel vlogger, Fun For Louis. With around 140 000 subscribers, she’s made a name for herself by posting, travel, lifestyle and motivational videos.
To examine the gender imbalance in travel vlogging, we must look back at the travel writing industry. It is said that ‘travel writing is a genre based on a masculine ideology and causes professional anxiety and constrains female travel writers’ (Alacovska, 2015). It also embodies the ‘Western ideology’ of travel (Alacovska, 2015) so we can make the assumption that the industry of travel writing and sharing travel experiences online, is skewed.
During the Enlightenment, travel was seen “as a means of critically investigating other societies, gaining knowledge and becoming a responsible, informed, and cosmopolitan citizen” but this was clearly only reserved for men. (Schlick, 2012)
Women often take the role of ‘companions’ (Alacovska, 2015) and this is strongly illustrated through travel and lifestyle vlogger Raya Was Here. Raya uploads infrequently, however is dating daily travel vlogger, Fun For Louis. With around 140 000 subscribers, she’s made a name for herself by posting, travel, lifestyle and motivational videos. However most of her travels are done in conjunction with her boyfriend Louis. And if she travels without him, it’s generally with a group of other travellers.
It’s difficult to compare their travels to the travels of their male counterparts. For example, male travel vloggers are more likely to travel solo to countries that may be viewed as ‘unsafe’ for women to travel to solo. It has been found that there is a ‘control and fear that continues to suggest that public (tourist) spaces are dangerous and inappropriate for solo women (Wilson & Little, 2008). That solo female travellers often experience ‘conspicuousness and anxiousness under a perceived male gaze in non-Western countries’ (Schlick, 2012).
Whilst Nadine and Raya are trying to smash the notion that travel is dangerous for female travellers, we can’t deny the heightened risk that female travellers experience whilst travelling, particularly alone.
Women are often used as clickbait, which highlights how women are often used and sexualised (Ratajczak, 2017). It is this stereotype which acts as a huge barrier to women being daily travel vloggers. If they don’t satisfy our preconceived ideas of what a female traveller looks like, then people won’t click on the video and females are further more discouraged from engaging in this type of content creation.
However, ending with some optimism, women on YouTube who are creating travel content are slowly chipping away at the stereotypes and expectations thrust upon them by society. It is becoming safer for women to travel solo (in fact, it’s kinda damn cool), and women are getting involved with travel vlogging. The next thing I want to see is a kick ass female daily travel vlogger!
Molyneaux, H O’Donnell, S Gibson, K Singer, J 2008, ‘Exploring the Gender Divide on YouTube: An Analysis of the Creation and Reception of Vlogs’, American Communication Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2
Ratajczak, K 2017, ‘To Girls Wearing “Cheeky” Bathing Suit Bottoms, Please Stop’, The Odyssey, Saginaw Valley State University, 28 March, viewed 8 May 2017, https://www.theodysseyonline.com/cheeky-bathing-suit-bottoms-trend-that-must-stop
Schlick, Y 2012, ‘Feminism and the Politics of Travel After the Enlightenment’, Bucknell University, pp. 1-223