Marta and Sara were on the sofa in their house three years ago when they learned that a seven-year-old boy had committed suicide because they called him "queer" at school. This couple of girls from Barcelona then considered what they could do to improve the situation of young homosexuals who felt alone and without references. They realized the opportunity that the Internet offered them. "We came to YouTube by chance. We want to create a community so that people who feel alone have a mirror to look at themselves, "says Marta. Today they are known in networks as Devermut and they have a channel on the platform with more than 285,000 subscribers in which they try to give visibility to the LGTBI collective. "How to know if I am gay" or "How to come out of the closet" are some of the titles of their videos.
Both women are going to participate together with others youtubers in the second edition of the Bell We are more, presented on Wednesday by Google in Madrid. The initiative has three objectives: to make the Internet a space free of hate, to prevent young people against radicalism and to sensitize them through creators of YouTube. Both Devermut and Aaron Escudero, Ande Asiul, Antón Lofer, Koko DC, RoEnLaRed, Tekendo Y Zahia HB They will use their channels to promote positive messages of integration, tolerance and respect, addressing issues such as violent radicalism, racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia.
The initiative has three objectives: to make the Internet a hate-free space, to prevent young people against radicalism and to sensitize them through creators of YouTube.
Some of these creators already use their channels to combat prejudices. This is the case of Aaron Escudero, who is a blogger, youtuber and influencer gypsy fashion It opened its channel in 2013 to serve as a reference for all people "who feel devalued because they are of a certain ethnic group". In his videos he talks about his daily life, he realizes challenges popular and shows the traditions of the gypsy culture. "People think that we do not have an education, that weddings last three days and that gypsies have many children and siblings, but that is not the case," says Escudero. He is currently studying an average marketing degree and has only one sister. In addition, he explains, "gypsy weddings last a day."
All these youtubers they agree that in order to combat prejudices, education is also necessary. Therefore, in addition to uploading videos to their channels with tolerance messages, workshops will be held in 250 schools to train and sensitize 30,000 adolescents from all over Spain from 15 to 17 years old. Google has also launched the challenge #DaleLaVuelta, whose goal is that users upload a selfie backwards to social networks to denounce the speech of intolerance on the Internet.
Hatred in the network
Like everything youtuber, all these young people deal daily with the comments of their haters. Zahia El Karkouri Bouissa is a native of Alhuceima (Morocco). He opened his channel on YouTube in 2016. His videos are about recipes and about the life of the Muslim community in Spain. Although he states that most of the comments he receives are positive, "there are some very bad ones": "Especially when there is an attack, even if you have nothing to do, they put you in the same bag".
Women, on many occasions, receive hate messages for their physique. For example, him body shaming It is a tendency in social networks that consists of embarrassing someone by their body. Rocío Romero is youtuber since 2012 and occasionally shares his physical change on his channel RoEnLaRed: "Most of the negative comments I receive about it come from women. In a society where there are already so many micromachisms, we should unite and be a pineapple instead of attacking us. "
While some creators of YouTube recommend to those who suffer harassment in the network to ignore the criticism, others argue that sometimes the key is to know how to laugh at themselves. This is the case of Koko DC, a youtuber Black who uploads videos to his channel with a humorous tone making Chileans, surfing the sea or reacting to racist memes. "When I record, sometimes I look so black that I do not see anything. If someone has to laugh at that, I'd rather be me, "he explains. From time to time he receives a racist attack in the comments of his videos: "In many occasions I do not have to say anything. My subscribers come out to defend me. "
Young people who consume Youtube videos, according to Romero, are becoming more open and less prejudiced. All these influencers they are aware that they are examples to follow for thousands of young people and the responsibility that this entails. "We are leaders of the Z generation and they are going to imitate us," states Tekendo, a youtuber that uploads videos of experiments and gameplays. Therefore, he tries to transmit values of effort and improvement. "We have an audience that are sponges. In my videos I propose challenges and even if I fail, in the end I get them. It's a way of saying: 'Do not give up, in the end you'll achieve anything.'