THE TRY GUYS

TRY WOMANHOOD

Produced by Kelly Pearce from October 2018 to December 2018

Introduction

      The Try Guys are an internet-savvy team made up of four men who have risen from interns at Buzzfeed Video to running their own production company in four years. I have always followed their content on YouTube and have always paid attention to their videos concerned with the female representation.

 

      Though someone might assume only men might watch content from four fellow males, in my experience this hasn’t been the case. How women consume and digest The Try Guys videos might influence gender representation more than we think, especially with a following as big as theirs.

      The Try Guys have been featured on YouTube channels of Allure, Glamour and WIRED and have been growing their current 4.2 million subscriber base at a high rate. Their tremendous influence on younger generations that have grown up watching their video content impacts how these audiences consume media at a crucial stage. 

      This study examined a female-focused selection of The Try Guys’ videos that center on the female experience/specific females, and/or activities of primarily females-identified people.

      This selection includes 29 videos of varying lengths that were coded according to featured women in the video, their relationship to The Try Guys, their point of view, video subject and how the men respond to the videos. Through this coding, common narratives expressed through the four men will be found and analyzed to see if they cover a diverse range of female stories.

“The Try Guys” YouTube promotional banner. Photos by Mandee Johnson.

      Using feminist theory, content analysis, and critical discourse analysis as theory and methods, it answers the question “how are female narratives constructed and used in female-focused videos of The Try Guys channel?”

About

Why the Try Guys?

      In a world where visual technology reigns over print media, it’s more important than ever to be vigilant about the effects of digital content we consume. One YouTube channel has made their claim to fame with featured male voices telling and testing the female experience for years. The Try Guys have been utilizing this diverse internet platform to their advance their digital media careers while trying on sexy girl Halloween costumes, going out in high heels and failing horribly at makeup tutorials. 

      The Try Guys, a quartet of former Buzzfeed Video employees, create videos about trying anything from edible lingerie to dog sledding in Alaska. Their first video, Guys Try on Ladies Underwear for the First Time, sparked a trend of testing stereotypical female activities heavy with humor and satire. Their most successful video, The Try Guys Try Labor Simulation – Motherhood Part 4, focuses on a female-only experience and currently has over 32 million views on YouTube.

 

      Every month, 1.9 billion registered users log on to explore the content in 80 optional languages in 91 countries (YouTube.com). In order to reach a wide audience, companies, influencers, clubs and any personality can create a channel with content that brings like-minded people to them. This type of freedom enables YouTube users like The Try Guys to express opinion, gender, and ideals in a wide environment, but may aid in discriminating against certain groups of people.

 

      If even one person with a large online influence voices an opinion that is judgemental or attacking a marginalized group, their voice carries farther than one might think. In a Pew Research Center study, Smith and Anderson found that YouTube is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds (2018, para. 4). This means what we allow on YouTube really matters when it comes to the public digesting media.

      Eugene Lee Yang, Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, and Zach Kornfeld continue to produce, star in, edit and market their own content since they began making videos with each other in 2014. 

      Other Try Guys videos of theirs deal with LGBTQ topics, sports, entertainment and food, but this study looks only at the ones focused on female identities. Specifically how the four create female narratives by what they cover, how they act when testing and what they say. 

The Try Guys (Eugene Lee Yang, Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger and Zack Kornfeld) pose with their YouTube gold play button via the Try Guys twitter account. The button celebrates their channel gaining more than one million subscribers in July, 2018.

      With credibility from three years together at Buzzfeed Video and the accessibility of YouTube, The Try Guys have used their popularity to develop a strong online presence. As their audience grew, the four established their own exaggerated online personas based on their real-life personalities, almost acting as characters in each video.

 

      Each character responds to feminine activities differently. This comedic and stereotypical approach to feminine activities has garnered praise, but also skepticism from fans, journalists and other entertainment groups.

Getting Started

A 2016 banner for Buzzfeed’s “The Try Guys” channel and the Try Guys 2018 website banner.

Domain: 

      In 2018, The Try Guys launched their own production company, 2nd Try LLC, to continue making videos independently. According to Buzzfeed, The Try Guys’ agreed that while they assumed rights to the brand and social media accounts, Buzzfeed can still act as a sales and advertising representative. For all intensive purposes, they are considered their own brand and company.

 

      All 174 videos (53 from their own company, 121 from their Buzzfeed Video days) from 2014 to November 2018 were examined to create the female-focused selection. The Try Guys also had a short series on YouTube Red through Buzzfeed called Squad Wars. These episodes were not included in the total Try Guys videos because they are not easily accessible to the public, require a payment subscription and are a separate branch of YouTube. I wanted the videos of this selection to be ones that their fans from Buzzfeed were able to easily access. 

Methodology: 

      Selecting a video meant it met the criteria of centering on specific women, events and issues that are related to only females, or comment on the actions of only women. The result of the selection was a total of 29 videos from 2014-2018 that are at the shortest 2.5 minutes and at the longest 22 minutes. The average video length is a range of 4-8 minutes. The best way I found to analyze the videos was first doing a content analysis of each video using several categories I had created after reading on female representation in technology. 

      In order to better describe the larger narratives that the men tell by trying to replicate a female’s experience, I coded for the following categories: how many women were shown, the video subject, commentary from the men, the occupation of women, and their relationship with the Try Guys.The work of Tucker-McLaughlin and Duffy on the role of women in technilogy made me curious to not only see how women are being referenced in videos, but if actual women even appear.

 

      The issue of gender representation in media can be as much about who is doing the talking rather than what they’re talking about. So, I made sure to count how often different women appear in the selected videos and what they contributed. 

Theoretical approach and analysis:

  • Feminist theory as a foundational approach to look at the use of female narratives in media and how they relate to larger issues in society, politics, and economy. Feminist theory can be utilized to look at types of representation of females in media as well as underrepresentation, but for my own purposes I wanted to look at how not if women were given a role in The Try Guys videos.

  • Critical discourse analysis is a method I use in analyzing the satirical and/or ironic language within the videos. This analysis is to determine what types of themes toward womanhood and femininity by categorizing specific commentary made by The Try Guys.

Literature Review

      I used feminist theory to analyze the portrayal of female narratives though The Try Guys YouTube channel. Feminist theory highlights the issue of gender representation, or misrepresentation, in this study. Unlike past definitions of the 1970s, I wanted to use the same outline as Bell in her paper critiquing the theory, that she got from Janelle Reinelt: “Feminism is a commitment to three things: to women’s issues, to a way of life, to an intellectual critique” (Bell, 2010, p.97). This worked into my study better than generalizing feminism as commenting on the misrepresentation of women.

 

      Instead, Bell’s borrowed definition from Reinelt looks at broad themes of female representation instead of highlighting only the negative media. 

Connecting my study of women within The Try Guys YouTube channel to the larger issue of gender inequality, gender in media, and how male voices impacts the telling of female stories were relevant in using a new feminist definition. The use of men’s voices in feminism impact not just women, but whole communities and audiences around the world.

From The Try Guys Get Photoshopped like Women

      Unfortunately, the narration we hear from men is not usually committed to broadening the understanding of the female identity, but narrowing it. This is when Birthisel and Martin’s article on satirical televised programs came in handy. I used their definition of satire, and the impacts of using it to critique programs, to connect the Try Guy’s narration to their effectiveness of commenting on sexism or objectification. 

 

      This issue is further articulated in the articles of women’s experiences online by Bellafante, Chakravorti, Hess, and Roy and Kimmel. Each work describes misogynistic attitudes toward women and the cherry-picking of female voices that are accepted by audiences. Bellafante refers to internet sexism, while Hess comments on violence experienced by women online. Chakravorti explains how closing the gender gap in the internet specifically is the solution to the issues mentioned, and Roy and Kimmel discuss the important of gender equity as an economic and cultural force.

 

      Using their articles, I formed the category of narration within my content analysis in order to see how often language is used to support or critique women and their behaviors.

      It’s important to note that feminist theory should also serve as a fair and balanced way to analyze gendered content, which suited this study because it dealt with four cisgendered men speaking on the behalf of others. Instead of believing that female identities and narratives found online are inherently negative, “feminist theory is well suited to push back on claims of the the destructive nature of technologies” (Shaw, 2013, p. 274).

 

      Shaw uses feminist theory to highlight how different venues of the internet, from gaming to comment sections, could all benefit from using a lens of feminist theory. She claims “quality feminist analysis does not assume tools are inherently bad or good, and always examines technologies in the content of their production and consumption” (Shaw, 2013, 274).

      Shaw uses feminist theory to highlight how different venues of the internet, from gaming to comment sections, could all benefit from using a lens of feminist theory. She claims “quality feminist analysis does not assume tools are inherently bad or good, and always examines technologies in the content of their production and consumption” (Shaw, 2013, 274).

      And speaking of production, this study asserts that YouTube as a popular internet platform must also be scrutinized. YouTube houses many different branches of content where gender is expressed differently, and sometimes aggressively to the detriment of women. In a study on early YouTube vlogs, Molyneaux found that more men than women vlogged about public and technology related topics, and more women created vlogs that interacted with the YouTube community (Molyneaux, 2008, p.8), and this has shaped how females using YouTube are perceived as more friendly, outgoing, and willing to communicate online, but about less advanced topics than male counterparts. This way, YouTube is influenced by who feels comfortable expressing their gender on the site, and how. 

      The Try Guys themselves have over four million subscribers on YouTube and their fanbase from Buzzfeed and the popularity of YouTube gives them a large, accessible audience. Pew Research Center found that in 2018 YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds. Stokel-Walker examines how because of its popularity, YouTubers are becoming strained to put out content that appeals to the masses, which affects the type of content they produce.

 

      As The Try Guys went on, their production value went up while at Buzzfeed due to their popularity. With this came more opportunities for including female sources that were outside their own lives, such as experts in medical, athletic, fashion or tech fields.

 

      I wanted my study to include information on women telling their own stories, and the kinds of stories that emerge because of this. Bailey’s (2013) study found the following after examining the similarities of girls online profiles:

“More broadly, widespread dissemination of diverse and multiple narratives about girls’ lives written by girls themselves might begin to trouble dominant, stereotypical definitions of “girl” and gender-based constraints that inhibit the achievement of social equality (Bailey, 2013, p. 93).”

 

From “The Try Guys React to their First Videos – 2 Year Anniversary” 

      In The Try Guys case, usually having a women appear to speak more about her own or women’s experiences allowed for more diverse accounts of womanhood.

 

      This supports Bailey’s above claim that this could begin to topple common misconceptions of females. Other studies that look into the presence of women in telling their narratives online were Tucker-McLaughlin’s look at the most-viewed section of YouTube videos and Duffy’s comments on the production of social media. Both try to find where gender and technology intersect, and how women’s role on and creating the internet has always differed from men.

Findings

      The content analysis created the data set I used in my study to look at how and why females were utilized in The Try Guys videos. While some of the findings weren’t surprising, like the overwhelming use of satire, humor, and bit-jokes in every video, other numbers stood out. For instance, while there are 37 separate distinct women featured in the 29 videos, only three of them are repeated in more than one video.

 

     The trend of the findings is that while The Try Guys seem to show a lot of women and attempt to include some diverse stories, it seems like it’s by accident. Or, that the most nonstereotypical stories of women are so obviously glossed over with humor that they fall flat in really contributing sometime positive to the female narratives on the internet.   

Relationships

 

      Looking at the relationship of the women showed a significant statistic, that nearly two thirds of them showed no previous relationship to the men. Showing women who do not have personal connections to the men could imply that a range of stories and identities are being shown overall.

      Most of these no-relationship women were interviewed in groups and only appeared to give context for what the activity was, not their own personal stories. Try Guys try Roller DerbyThe Try Guys Try Coding with Girls Who Code, and The Try Guys get Makeovers from Highschool Girls are examples where groups of women appear, and then are not repeated in another video. Three of the total 37 women appear in more than one video, two doctors and Ned Fulmer’s wife, Ariel.

Identities

      For each of the 37 women, I looked at how their personal perspective was utilized in the video. Depending on the reasons they were interviewed, how they were titled, and their comments, I coded them in the above categories.

 

      In some of the cases, I double coded. For example, OB/GYN Yvonne Bohn appears in four of the 29 videos and is interviewed by The Try Guys for both her medical knowledge and her personal opinion as a mother, so she is coded as Doctor and Mother. As is shown below, stylists/artists and mother points of view occur most often in the featured women, followed by students. The student perspectives occur in three videos, The Try Guys Try Coding with Girls Who CodeThe Try Guys get Makeovers from Highschool Girls  and The Try Guys try Ballet

      Though the nine women are all featured for being students, it’s vital to keep in mind the subject of the videos. An example is the nine total students who were featured. For the highschool makeovers, beauty and fashion, not education or academics, is the primary focus.

Video Subject

      Simply featuring women with occupations and professional knowledge does not guarantee diverse female narratives. “The greater visual representation of women on the internet, for example, is not necessarily a sign of progress for women, as greater representation could mean greater exclusion.” (Molyneaux, 2008, p.3) Even though there are 37 different women in 29 videos, the subject matter of the selection shows a more limited approach to what womanhood is all about. 

Presence

      Not every women made a direct appearance in a video, especially in the earlier videos from 2014-2015 where The Try Guys usually appeared completely by themselves and spoke to the audience as if they were the women. Only around 58% of the female-focused videos had at least one living, breathing woman.

      Of the 17 videos that had in-person female appearances, 37 different women were featured. Featured in this study simply means the women was shown in person with The Try Guys, their name or title was given, and they also had more than one line of speech.

Narration

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      What cinched together the content analysis together was noting how many videos included specific narration from The Try Guys. It’s taken into consideration that these videos are the livelihood of these YouTubers, and for them must bring in high audience rates to sustain the channel. Try Guy Zack Kornfeld gave the example of having to choose two options between maintain sanity, make a lot of videos or make good videos. He, as The Try Guys agree, believes in making a lot of good videos (Stokel-Walker, 2018). 

      Whatever the reasons for The Try Guys using satire, exaggerated bit jokes and irony in videos, the language they use is still a vital and important part of their popularity and online presence. Satire today is loosely defined as “humor that mocks human folly and vice and that challenges or ridicules part of a culture in order to critique it” (Birthisel & Martin, 2013, p.67), yet this critique falls flat if it’s used differently.

 

      In this case, instead of overindulging in satire to point out the obvious objectification and consequences of inequality for females, The Try Guys seem to add to it. Since satire’s effect on individual audience members will vary according to their background, belief system and personality (Birthisel & Martin, 2013, p.67), it’s hard to say how serious their fans might take them during a video.

      While these bit jokes reigned supreme, the rest of the results were surprising. They mix together contrasting language about the video subjects and womanhood, such as admiration and confusion .

Video Language

Poking fun/Bit jokes:

Confusion toward activity: 

  • “Dr. Yvonne says you can eat sushi, mommy-blog-whatever says no, sushi is bad. There’s so much contrary information about what you can or can’t eat.” said by Keith Habersberger in The Try Guys try Dieting like Pregnant Women

Admiration toward women or activity:

  • “Ballerinas are superhuman. They make it look so graceful and they are masking so much pain. If you meet a ballerina just start bowing to them.” said by Zack Kornfeld in  The Try Guys try Ballet

Guilt about their viewpoints/treatment:

Womanhood is painful:

  • “I wanted to take my stiletto off and stab myself repeatedly in the brain” said by Eugene Lee Yang in The Try Guys try High Heels

Womanhood is difficult:

  • “It’s hard to not feel really shitty right now. I have to stop, I just can’t play this sport” said by Zack Kornfeld in The Try Guys try Roller Derby

Reluctance:

Negativity toward sexism:

  • “This does speak a lot of things women experience in fashion and culture. It was very eye opening to feel impeded by something so small” said by Eugene Lee Yang in Try Guys try Nail Extensions

Discussion

“The Try Guys” logo from their YouTube channel.

      During an episode of the podcast Not Too Deep hosted by YouTuber Grace Helbig, Try Guy Keith Habersberger explained that “in general, any kind of content that is men understanding something that women know all too well is good content.” (35:28) Another Try Guy, Ned Fulmer, added “especially if it involves pain for the men.” The Try Guys are one of many male voices commenting on female narratives and creating their own to spur on their own content creation and subscriber count.

 

      This is not an issue only if the narratives they present incorporate realistic, thorough, and diverse accounts of what is really is like to be a women. Though the group is comprised of four cisgendered men, with only one LGBTQ member, feminist theory is accessible as a way to analyze their actions. 

“Being Woman Hard”: Narratives

of the difficulty of womanhood

 

 

From The Try Guys Try the Weirdest Beauty Trends of 2016

      To quote Try Guy Keith Habersberger during The Try Guys Try the Weirdest Beauty Trends of 2016, “Being woman hard! Being woman hard!”. This bit-joke humor in the videos typically shows the four men confused and defeated at the hands of a common womanly activity, like their multiple makeup related challenges.

 

      The theme of womanhood being an Everest-like obstacle is perpetuated in 22 of the 29 videos, with 11 of those 22 also citing how painful the activities are. As the four progress through makeup tutorials, boob weights and corsets the emphasis is on how incredibly painful the activities are, and the strength of women in overcoming these feminine hardships. Women are often featured in these videos, which is helpful to show a range of perspectives, but again they usually revolve around the intensity of the pain they experience. While this could be an attempt to empathize with female-identifying people, this obsession with pain and strife only emphasizes how being a woman might be ‘lesser’ or wholly different way of life.

      According to Shaw, feminist theory “offers technology studies a critique of knowledge production even when women using technology is not the object of study” (2014, p.273). Analyzing The Try Guys female-focused content has just as much to do with female representation as looking at female-run channels would. Men’s channels and men’s voices are gendered and thus have a connection to feminism (Shaw, 2014, p.274). 

 

      The Try Guys seem to rely on base narratives, stereotypical subject content and their own experiences to construct what it truly means to be a women. Having the featured women in the videos to discuss activity is beneficial in making their content more realistic, but are also not the main focus of each video.

 

      As characters in their own channel they are unable to opt out of featuring in videos to give women more room to speak, yet they do not address this imbalance of voices.

 

      These characters they act as do not remain neutral during filming, as each usually responds to the video content in different ways. Their language is often exaggerated, dramatic and incredibly passionate, and does not present a diverse image of womanhood. This affirms Duffy’s argument that “digital media sites tend to reproduce—rather than challenge— problematic gender relations” (2015, p.710). 

      In one video, The Try Guys try on Boob Weights, the four men wear weights on their chest all day and go about their lives with the simulation of having large breasts. They interview two women, who are named, but the reason they were chosen is unclear aside from “has boobs” underneath their name. 

      From “The Try Guys Try Boob Weights”

 

      So, their identities are reduced to suit the need of the particular video, and to add humor. The questions The Try Guys ask concern the physical pain and how bras don’t function properly, and the answers shock and dismay the men to add humor. Toward the end of the video, the women are able to interject that their breasts can also be a positive part of their sexuality and they appreciate their bodies. They try to show a complex and realistic point of view, but The Try Guys pull focus back to the pain and disbelief by the end of the video.

Mother Supreme: Narratives

of family and motherhood

      I nicknamed this narrative Mother Supreme because while it highlighted a large group of women that become mothers, it focused so narrowly on the same two aspects of it: pain and the first child.

      The Try Guys reached their highest ever view count on a video that falls into this study’s female-focused selection. The Try Guys try Labor Pain Simulation: Motherhood Part 4 currently holds over 32 million views since it was published in 2015, and ended their first Motherhood series where they tried pregnancy bellies, raising robot children, and changing a diaper. The Motherhood series was their first venture into several videos spanning over one subject, and the format became incredibly popular on their channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From The Try Guys try Pregnancy Bellies: Motherhood Part 1 

 

      They even repeated a second Motherhood based series in 2018 with the focus being on Try Guy Ned Fulmer’s wife, Ariel. In comparison to other subjects, moms, motherhood and the struggles of parenting are given a lot of attention. While it might be true that men relating to motherhood is a popular idea, it portrays moms are being one of the most important types of women with one of the hardest jobs.

      The constant confusion of the four men as they navigate pseudo-pregnancy, and the exasperation they feel at the work, feeds into the idea of mothering being the peak of a woman’s journey through life. That all in all, nothing a women does can ever be as painful, as difficult or as special as creating a child. While they express admiration for mother’s (“Your mom is the toughest person in the universe. I don’t care who you are, your mom is tougher than you.” Zack Kornfeld said in The Try Guys try Labor Pain Simulation: Motherhood Part 4), it’s usually directed to their own moms or young women who do not have a child yet. 

      The mother character that The Try Guys create in these videos aligns with the identity of entrepreneurial women that Duffy found were successful online. They “enjoy a relatively privileged position; they tend to be white, middle class, well-educated, and typify conventional beauty standards” (Duffy, 2015, 711), which is what the commonly shown women in a Try Guys woman tend to be. Not always confined to the same gender or occupation, but they have assumed access to healthcare, faithful partners, money for beauty products, and do not struggle with anything past a shallow base level.

 

      Experiences of motherhood that are excluded from the videos are miscarriages, raising the child, being a single mother, working with a partner, or already having children while pregnant. The videos highlight the mothers, but only talk about the pains and joys of a newly pregnant woman with a relatively middle class privilege.

My Wife: Narratives of using women

as tools for men gaining knowledge 

      One of The Try Guys, Ned Fulmer, bases his online persona of being the “white married guy” in his group. His anecdotes in a video often begin with “my wife…” followed by a story about their marriage, or her as a woman going through a specific struggle. Stories about her trials as a woman are referenced in many videos but she isn’t featured in a female-focused video of theirs until 2017 in The Try Guys wear High Heels for a Night where she was simply along for the ride.

 

      In this video, she is named, given a title, but is only there to give her opinion on the types of heels the men are trying out. We’re only given information about her career, appearance and personality through Ned and his opinions on whatever video he is currently shooting. We only see her being given a larger role in the channel once she becomes a soon-to-be mother and gets to tell her own stories. Using her image more once she’s a mother reinforces the previous motherhood narrative since Ariel too is a white, younger woman with an average income and seemingly upper middle class life. 

      This women-as-tools narrative concerns the wife being a lens through which Ned looks through to truly understand the plight of women. His anecdotes on her are often silly, like in The Try Guys try Makeup Tutorials where he chose a Michelle Phan wedding makeup look because “on my wedding day my wife spent like hours doing her hair and makeup”. So, our opinion of Ariel is that she spent a long time on her looks. He rounds off his segment in the video by saying “Do I look beautiful? Yes. Did my wife look better on our wedding day? Absolutely.”

 

      Again, all we know of Ariel now is centered around Ned’s opinion of her looks, which he uses to guide his experience in the video. 

Wrapping it Up

      Tucker-McLaughlin’s (2013) study of gender in YouTube videos states that “without a robust and equitable dialogue in these spaces, the imbalance of power in communication spaces like YouTube’s most-viewed videos section will continue to misrepresent women” (p. 47). The female narratives within The Try Guys videos are important because they tell a larger story about how women are observed, described and objectified in a global and historical context. The narratives and themes we see in The Try Guys are ones reflected in politics, technology and American culture. 

      In these spaces, men’s voices are needs more than ever to raise awareness of the inequality of female representation. Chakravorti found that “every percentage in growth of digital uptake over the period 2008-2011 leads to a positive growth rate of gender digital inclusion over the period 2011-15 by about 2.3%” (2017, para. 10). Men’s support for inclusive environments in society could positively impact workplace happiness, poverty rates of single mothers, and the global economy (Roy & Kimmel, 2018).

 

      Yet female narratives still presented in media, like The Try Guys, are making slow progress in advancing the perception and acceptance of a diverse range of women. When females are shown, as they are in the videos of this study, the identities and stories are limited to young women and stereotypical experiences. 

      This is common in media outside of YouTube. Women speaking out about gender inequality, gender wage gap, and negative female experiences are weighed against each other and their legitimacy is questioned. Bellafante’s (2018) article on the different reactions within the #MeToo movement says this practice:

“Ultimately reveals a strain of internet sexism that we are all complicit in perpetuating and barely address — the bestowing of outsize rewards, measured in publicity, for certain female narratives over others, for stories that invite judgments and counter judgments, nearly always about sex and domestic complexity” (Bellafante, 2018, para. 8).

 

Collage of “The Try Guys” video thumbnails from YouTube. Images from The Try Guys.      

      Narratives of women online don’t only form opinion of those women, but how women interact with the internet in general. Hess writes about the threats experienced by women over the internet and that solutions aren’t catered toward making it safer for women, but covering up the issue of misogynistic and aggressive personalities. She writes in her (2014) article “we use our devices to find supportive communities, make a living, and construct safety nets”(Hess, para. 26) . It isn’t up to women to guard against others by logging off, but on men and authorities to support women in media. 

      Stories and narratives centered on beauty, motherhood and anecdotes about a man’s wife perpetuate set ideals about what a women does and what a woman is. The four men are incapable of truly identifying with any woman, but this does not excuse the narrowed or shallow views of women portrayed in the majority of their satirical videos.

 

      Though many women are featured in the female-focused Try Guys content, their presence in videos depict limited female narratives based on their occupation, the videos they’re used in and how the men react to their stories.

Reference List

Bailey, J., Steeves, V., Burkell, J., & Regan, P. (2013). Negotiating with gender stereotypes on social networking sites: From “Bicycle Face” to Facebook. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 37(2), 91–112.

 

Bell, E. (2010). Operationalizing feminism: two challenges for feminist research. Women & Language, 33(1), 97-102.

 

Bellafante, G. (2018). #MeToo and the marketing of the female narrative. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com

 

Birthisel, J. & Martin, J. (2013). “That’s what she said”: Gender, satire and the American workplace on the sitcom The Office. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 37(1), 64.

 

Chakravorti, B. (2017). There’s a gender gap in internet usage. Closing it would open up opportunities for everyone. Harvard Business Review.Retrieved from https://hbr.org

 

Duffy, B. E. (2015). Gendering the labor of social media production. Feminist Media Studies, 15(4), 710–714.

 

Helbig, G. (2018, April 21). Try Guys’ Ned and Keith (Ned Fulmer and Keith Habersberger. Not too deep. Podcast retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb_oLAJDgUI

Hess, A. (2014). Why women aren’t welcome on the internet. Pacific Standard. Retrieved from https://psmag.com

 

Molyneaux, H. (2008). Exploring the gender divide on YouTube: An analysis of the creation and reception of vlogs. American Communication Journal, 10(1), 8-8.

 

Roy, K. & Kimmel, M. & Johnson, S. (2018). The importance of male voices in gender equity. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/#3e1b9cfd2254

 

Shaw, A. (2014) The internet is full of jerks, because the world is full of jerks: what feminist theory teaches us about the internet. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 10(3), 273-277

 

Smith, A. & Anderson, M. (2018) Social media use in 2018. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org

 

Stokel-Walker, C. (2018) Why youtubers are feeling the burn. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us

 

Tucker-McLaughlin, M. (2013). YouTube’s most-viewed videos: Where the girls aren’t. Women & Language, 36(1), 43–49.

© 2020 By Kelly Pearce.

kellannpearce@gmail.com    360-901-1064

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