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At Vidcon 2015, we sat down with Hank Green, Laci Green, and Julia Nunes to talk about the power dynamics between fans and creators on YouTube.

THIS WEEK'S CALL TO ACTION: What do creators do that makes you feel empowered and respected?

Engage by Uplift tackles the difficult issues surrounding sexual abuse that the YouTube and online communities face. We're starting real talk for real change.

Each week, our host Kat Lazo discusses abuse and how it manifests in virtual spaces. Watch and collaborate with us through weekly calls to action, and join in with some of your favorite YouTubers as they consider the issues in round table discussions.

Panelists:
Hank Green: https://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers
Laci Green: https://www.youtube.com/user/lacigreen
Julia Nunes: https://www.youtube.com/user/jaaaaaaa

Hosted by Kat Lazo: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheeKatsMeoww

Directed by Kelly Kend: http://kellykend.com/

Discussion questions by Grace Miller: http://twitter.com/grace_a_miller



Real talk for Real Change. #EngageUplift
Subscribe to our channel to get updates!

Follow Uplift- Online Communities Against Sexual Violence:
Website: http://uplifttogether.org
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Kat: Hi everyone I'm Kat Lazo also known as TheeKatsMeoww and welcome to another episode of Engage by Uplift. I'm here with Hank Green, Laci Green, and Julia Nunes. OK, today we're gonna be tackling power dynamics. Are there any personal rules that you have when interacting one-on-one with fans?

Hank: We'll I'm an old married dude so my strategy is to pretend like I'm their teacher.

Laci: Yeah I think I take on a little bit of a teacher capacity, but I'm also a little younger than you, and I teach sex ed, so for me I gotta like draw really clear boundaries about questions about me personally.

Julia: My rules have to do with myself. Like anything that makes me feel a little uncomfortable I try to put the box on.

Hank: This is very interesting to me because I immediately approached this question has like me being exploitative or negatively influencing my the people in my audience and I didn't even think for a moment about the power dynamic where they would have more power than me like I would be afraid of them.

Laci: Yeah, that's real.

Julia: That's some male privilege.

Kat: Do you feel that there is a responsibility to your fans to interact with them?

Hank: I don't think there's a responsibility I think that is an advantage to doing it, like it's going to have a social media presence it helps your creations and so like that conversation helps build a community around it.

Kat: Do you all feel like a responsibility to recognize your own power in these relationships that you have - in these interactions rather?

Laci: Yeah, absolutely. You have to be respectful to them in respect respect that dynamic and make sure that you're not crossing any boundaries.

Hank: It's very difficult to understand the power that you have or the perceived power that you have as a creator, and so a lot of times I feel like I'm attacked with more force because they see me as being very powerful. And so it's like a lot, of course, is required to penetrate my armor and that's true really a lot of what, you know, sort of skeezy anger of the Internet is about, is feeling very weak and wanting to change things and seeing other people as very powerful. The big problem is when you see yourself as weak and someone else as powerful but in fact you have a great deal of power over them.

Julia: That kind of goes back to what you were saying about rules, when that kind of stuff happens, where like someone is throwing a tantrum, and they have no idea how terribly they're affecting you. One of my rules is to not reward that kind of tantrum.

Kat: As someone who is not receiving this type of attention - tantrum? - can you expand on that?

Julia: People can research into your personal life, it's pretty easy, and people can terrorize portions of your life that you aren't trying to share. People looked up my father and threatened his life. and that is not cool.

Kat: What change do you want to see in the fan and creator dynamic?

Laci: It depends on the type of creator and the type of fans. Like some audiences I think have more relational issues than others. Specifically I'm thinking about the cute boy YouTubers, with all the very young female fans. Maybe those boys don't have rules for themselves.

Julia: Like, I'm really into Vine, and I loved Vine, and there were these boys who were so cute and funny, and they were holding these conferences, and meeting all of their cute girl fans, and they started kissing the scars of girls who had cutting themselves. And these girls started cutting themselves to get kissed on the arm. And that's just a small piece of dynamic. I think the power is really off balance. And I would love for fans to value themselves much more than the person they're a fan of and I don't think that that's always true.

Hank: I think that we are really good at teaching young women that they're not important and that young men are, and that's the reason why there's not hoards of young men following like, you know, a couple dozen adorable young women on Vine.

Kat: I wanna leave on a semi- positive note. So is there something that you all are doing individually to make this change?

Laci: For me, a lot of it is talking about consent - that's a big part of what I do is talking about what actually is giving really tangible practical ways to implement good consent into your life I talk mostly about sexual consent but talking about it across contexts as well and emphasizing the importance of respect in all of your relationships and everything that you're doing.

Kat: I want to thank you all three for lending your voice because I think we need more examples of creators picking up against against sexual violence against these really dangerous dynamics that happened. right that's it for this week thank you so much for watching don't forget to answer our call to action using the hashtag engage uplift on social media or in the comments down below and while you're at it why not subscribe thanks again I'm Kat Lazo of TheeKatsMeoww till next time.