We Are Not Gatekeepers of Our Interests: A Rant

Original Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzgVn5ZIpMU

In his video “Last Week in Booktube”, Steve Donoghue follows up on BookCon and Book Expo America, where he openly bashes on other BookTubers for posting videos related to the conventions. He calls these booktubers, “unpaid publicity hacks” and questions why booktubers attend these conventions when publishing companies can send them advanced copies for free.

First of all, that’s called passion Steve. It’s not just about getting a free copy of a novel, it’s about the experience. I think it’s extremely unfair for him to bash on these conventions considering that perhaps it’s not his demographic. He is an older male who probably doesn’t turn to young adult novels as his go to genre for reading, which is a focal point for the conventions.

“I’m very good at sensing real readers, even from a great distance and these people do not read. They don’t feel at all the same thing about books that a normal reader feels.” is an actual quote from this video. I mean this just oozes with arrogance and superiority – wrongfully so in my opinion.

As you can probably imagine, Steve got quite a bit of backlash on his video, to which he replied in the comment section with: “I mean, do they strike you as readers? When you watch their well-lit, well-filmed videos, with them sitting there wearing blush in front of studio lights, can you honestly picture them hunkered down with a book, happily reading, oblivious to everything else? I certainly can’t picture that.” Oh Steve, you’ve done it this time.

There are many wrong and offensive things in his comment. It’s one that is misogynistic, arrogant, and doesn’t have any relevance to what Steve is arguing for. First of all, what does good filming equipment have to do with one’s ability to read? Some of these booktubers get paid for the content that they put up on their channels, and others take great pride in their work. Regardless, their video quality doesn’t dictate whether or not they are “real readers”, whatever that means.

No matter what other people argue, blush and makeup in general is predominantly tied to females. So to me, this goes back to the feminist issue of women not being able to be passionate about anything and being discredited because they care about the way they look. I really don’t understand how wearing makeup and caring about my appearance inhibits my passion for reading. You must have a pretty small imagination if you can’t picture someone wearing makeup while reading simultaneously.

We are not gatekeepers of our interests. We don’t get to tell others that they aren’t qualified to share these interests. Steve’s video felt like bashing rather than critiquing, which is something I don’t condone. It was very unfair for him to tell people what they should or should not be posting, and what they are or are not. Who gave him that right anyway? Not me, and certainly not the hundreds of people he offended with this video.

While Steve likes to believe that he is good at sensing “real readers”, I’d say I’m pretty good at sensing arrogant, sexist, small-minded, human beings. Oh look, I’m sensing one now.