by Katy Ma
If you’re in the feminist blogger community, chances are you’ve seen Taylor Adele Smith’s “Feminist Makeup Tutorial” video. And even if you’re not, with over half a million views (so far), you may have seen it floating around on different social networks. In this parody video, she uses satire to highlight common misconceptions and stereotypes about feminists. My two favorite lines were “Next we’re going to use a light foundation. Make sure you give every part of your face a fair equal representation, unlike the government and primetime network television.” and “Now set your foundation with the powdered ashes of Susan B. Anthony:
After watching the video, curious, I checked out Taylor’s channel and discovered that she has been on Youtube for over a year and has made many other funny videos! Some of my favorites include “Harlem Shake: Blogger Edition” and “5 Ways to Fake a Thigh Gap”. Also, fun fact: not only is she super funny, she’s an extremely talented artist (check out her “Draw My Life” video!). I had the opportunity and interview her to find out a bit more about her inspiration to make videos and her plans for the future:
Q: How did you get started with your Youtube channel?
I started as a way of confronting and overcoming my social anxiety. YouTube was a way for me to create an entirely new version of myself, someone who was confident and goofy, and who didn’t have the inhibitions that I normally experience.
I thought that by creating this online persona, the confidence I displayed online would start to trickle into my real life, allowing me to feel more comfortable in social situations. Although my social anxiety is certainly a long way from being fixed, I feel as though I’ve come a long way thanks to YouTube!
Q: What inspired you to make the “Feminist Makeup Tutorial”?
From what I’ve seen in the media and across the internet, people all too frequently misinterpret the concept of feminism: when they read the word feminism, they think of bra-burning, man-hating spinsters that rally in the streets calling for the destruction of the patriarchy – Straw Feminists, which are a gross, fictional misinterpretation of the feminist movement.
Recently, though, a new breed of feminist has developed – the Lipstick Feminist, which seeks to embrace the traditional concepts of femininity, such as makeup, skirts, etc. Unlike Straw Feminism, Lipstick Feminism is a real variety of the movement. However, because Lipstick Feminists are outwardly feminine and not burning their makeup in the fireplace, they are seen as being settled into their roles within society, and thus aren’t taken seriously.
I wanted to make a video that humorously mixed these two concepts of Lipstick and Straw Feminism together, forcing people to recognize not only the disparity between the two things, but also the ridiculousness of feminist stereotypes in the first place. And, by using comedy, I was able to get and hold onto their attention.
Q: With over half a million views, the video has certainly gained some notoriety. What was your reaction to all of this, and did you ever suspect that it would become so popular?
When I first saw that the post was going viral on tumblr, I’d been checking my phone on the way to the bathroom, and I remember I almost dropped it in the toilet out of shock! And as it started popping up on websites like Jezebel, Cosmo UK, and the New York Daily News, I ran downstairs and told my family. I got a sundae as a reward!
I never expected it to become this popular, or this notorious; I’d only expected my friends and family to see it. I’m so grateful though, because it’s provided a stepping stone into a new realm of career opportunities for me, and from what I’ve seen in the comments on YouTube, it’s provided a healthy forum for debate and education on the topic of feminism.
Q: How did you become a feminist?
I don’t think there’s ever been a point in my life when I haven’t been a feminist. My parents raised me to respect myself and others, and to not settle for less than I’m worth. If society isn’t valuing me or my fellow woman as much as we deserve, then why not fight?
Q: In your “Draw My Life” video, you shared that you had a lot of social anxiety in high school and going into college. Looking back, what would you tell yourself?
I would tell myself to stop putting walls up. While I still haven’t completely overcome my anxiety, I’ve certainly become more aware of the fact that it’s these emotional barriers that keep me from connecting with the rest of the world. To my past self: You have so much to offer the world, not just in what you create, but in who you are. So stop looking at your feet and start looking ahead.
Q: To wrap up, could you give us some hints about future videos or plans in the works?
There’s never a day where I’m not writing scripts or jotting down ideas for future videos! I have some future makeup tutorials in the works. Though they probably won’t be as controversial as the Feminist Makeup Tutorial, they’ll still be laden with comedy so that everyone will be able to enjoy them. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received so far, and I’m so excited to share my future works with the world!
Taylor’s Social Media: