Since we last checking in with The Brain Scoop, the fantastically gross dissection channel has taken off. Host Emily Graslie has relocated from Missoula to Chicago, where she is the ‘Chief Curiosity Correspondent’ at The Field Museum and spends her days sharing all sorts of animal innards with her 179,000 subscribers.
For one of her latest videos, however, Graslie has stepped outside of the museum to deliver an important message that needs sharing. She delivered a sermon about the state of the female YouTube community, indicting shallow and sexist commenters as a major problem that cannot simply be brushed off.
Like a true scientist, Graslie is working with a central question: Why are there so few popular STEM creators on YouTube? She notes that many of her fans are only familiar with her and Vihart, and she hypothesizes that commenters who reduce her to a pretty face are the cause of this problem:
“[Female STEM creators on YouTube] have a fear of the feedback from our subscribers and commenters because we’re afraid that our audience is more focused on our appearance than the quality of our content. Even more than that, we’re not convinced that the content has to be good or factual because we’re not convinced that people are watching for the content in the first place.”
Graslie goes on to talk about collaborations, which she claims are fraught with awkwardness because commenters are after romantic subtext. She also explains how women on YouTube must be “the whole package,” possessing both good looks and big brains. The whole thing is punctuated by specific hateful comments, where are delivered by a deadpan Michael Aranda.
Seriously, if you watch one video today, make it this one. It’s easy to ignore YouTube commenters just because trolls will be trolls, but as Graslie explains, ignoring the issue is a passive way to condone Internet bullying. Spreading this message is a good way to encourage more smart, driven women to create interesting YouTube channels, and if the fascinating content on The Brain Scoop is any indicator, that would be a very welcome development.