The Fowler Sisters on How to Deal with Hate Online

/ Aug 29, 2014


Sisters Elle and Blair Fowler, both makeup, style, décor, etc. gurus on YouTube since 2008, fall within the “beauty vlogger” category of creators, a group that historically gets extra criticism on the online video platform. However, the Fowler sisters seem to get even more of it than most, so they talked about how to deal with the critics on this week’s “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”

Pondering why beauty vloggers reap some of the meanest internet comments (perhaps people wonder, “Who do you think you are, trying to teach us how to do our hair and makeup?” said Blair), the Fowler sisters came up with a single conclusion. As far as them winding up on the receiving end of ample internet hate, they figured, “We’re easy targets.” Plus, they created beauty vlogs before it became “a thing.” They pioneered the genre.

Sadly, it’s true that women, especially attractive women, especially attractive women who talk about looking attractive, get way more than the average share of online bullying from those who have engaged with their content. This unfortunately follows a loooong history of misogyny online and in real life. The Fowlers, in particular, decided to keep creating and remain strong in the face of mean comments because they both agree that making YouTube videos is “worth it.”

Elle and Blair Fowler felt that it was “worth it” even before they started making money from their videos. For the first year of their life on YouTube, the women didn’t “hear” a peep of criticism from viewers. However, 2009 brought a sudden onslaught of mean commententary. The Fowlers could not yet call YouTube a career, but their pure love for creating videos for the platform kept them going in spite of the hate.

Yet, Elle doesn’t want to call the commenters “haters.” She explained, “For the most part, I feel like a lot of mean comments on YouTube are people with different opinions who just have a mean way of saying that.” The women take a positive angle, here, suggesting that their meanest critics must also just be unhappy people.

Not all of the YouTubers’ criticism is mean. Some is constructive. For example, Elle appreciates when someone tells her, for example, a better technique for applying mascara. In these cases, other fans may call out the so-called critical perpetrator, but the Fowlers nod their heads at a genuine tip. Blair is the first to admit she’s not telling viewers that her way of putting on makeup is the way. In fact, she’s always been careful to say, “This is how we do it…we haven’t had any professional training on this.”

Overall, the mean comments have given Elle and Blair Fowler “thick skin,” in their words, over the years. For more on the sisters’ unconditional love of YouTube, tune into “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”

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