23 Oct 2014

Is Zoella a good role model for young girls- or is she too Disney?

My response to Chloe Hamilton's article in the Independent
"Her eyes are enormous. She looks like a startled bird; albeit a bird with the gorgeous, flowing locks of Rapunzel, the high-pitched giggle of Tinkerbell, and a name so irritatingly Disney-fied it makes my stomach churn: Zoella."

Yesterday I stumbled upon Chloe's article in the Independent, which wasn't surprising because lately the world can't get enough of YouTube star Zoella, but this was the first negative article I've read. 
Chloe accuses Zoe of being a bad role model for young girls and not being feminist enough, which is an interesting accusation as I don't recall Zoe ever claiming to become an ambassador for feminism? 
I won't explain who Zoella is; because with more Youtube subscribers than Beyonce if you don't know who Zoella is you're probably new to the internet. 
"It’s maddening that a girl who has made it her business to tell teenagers how to put make up on, or get their hair just right, now feels she’s in a position to admonish them for “fretting” about their appearance."

I disagree with a lot of the article-  It's OK to worry about your appearance and if learning to apply my make-up makes me feel more confident then that's fine.  I think feminism is about choice- and if we choose to wear make-up and care about our appearance then so be it. But at the same time Zoe is right:

“When you’re younger you worry about so many things that you don’t need to worry about like image, appearance,”- Zoella 

You don't need to worry about your appearance- but if you want to watch a make-up tutorial that's fine too. 

"Why, if she feels so strongly about the pandemic of insecurity raging through the tweenage generation, doesn’t she vlog about going to school without make-up, or encourage kids to spend their pocket money on books or days out with friends, rather than on the latest liquid eyeliner to hit Boots’ shelves?"

I think it's unfair to expect Zoe to completely mould young girls lives and tell them what to read and to go to school without make-up. But what she does do is film vlogs without make-up, showing that it's ok, and you don't need to wear make-up all the time. She also references books such as Harry Potter. But, maybe her positive influence isn't as obvious as Chloe would like. 
Why I think the article is wrong about Zoella:
  1. Taking pride in your appearance does not exclude you from feminism.
  2. Zoe often appears on camera make-up free
  3. Zoe has helped lots of young girls with their anxiety and panic attacks- surely this is empowering?
Zoella is a young vlogger turned business woman that's made a name for herself doing something she clearly loves- whether you hate or love her is she's not a positive role model I'm not sure who is.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion but it's a shame people feel the need to insult people in such a public forum. Zoella might not be everyones cup of tea but insulting her name and voice is unnecessary. 


  1. Brilliant blog post. I didn't know who Zoella was previously but suddenly she is everywhere - can not wait to read her first novel Girl Online!

    I love how British her accent is - I have been in England all my life and certainly do not speak like that <3

  2. I completely agree with you. Why can't she just be HER without fitting into a special mold?

  3. I completely agree with you. Amazing blog post xx