For the latest confirmation of the porous boundaries that separate YouTube stars and their devoted fans, look no further than the latest trend on Twitter. Though it’s not what you might think at first glance.
The Twitter hashtag #YouTubersIWantToBang has been trending since earlier Friday. As you’d expect, it’s popped the lid off the YouTube id, giving fans and video creators alike an excuse to shamelessly overshare their YouTube-celebrity fantasies:
#YoutubersIWantToBang Jai, Beau, James, luke, Daniel, O2L, Sam pepper, mazzi maz. Ok that's all.
— kelly af (@nobodybutjai) August 15, 2014
Surprisingly, though—at least if you’re not in tune with YouTube fandom—the resulting salacious tsunami was mostly not the work of men lusting after perceived video hotties.
Quite the opposite, in fact. The tag’s feed is mainly populated by YouTube’s ardent community of teen-girl fans, whose relationships with their favorite male webstars resembles that of groupies fawning over the latest boy band.
— alaska young (@LaraGilek) August 15, 2014
Some YouTube stars got into the act themselves:
Most YouTube celebrities are known for cultivating extremely close relationships with their audiences. They nurture that feeling of Internet-closeness through social media oversaturation, in-person meet-and-greets, and videos that showcase stars’ homes, friends, and families.
— rachel (@stitchedwound) August 15, 2014
— lily (@Lil_Adair) August 15, 2014
Given just how close—even incestuous—that relationship can grow, it was probably only a matter of time before something like #YouTubersIWantToBang, um, burst onto the scene.
At the same time, the relationship is increasingly tinged with a sense of untouchability. That’s particularly true these days, since YouTube is working hard to make mainstream stars out of its top celebrities—so far with mixed results.
As YouTube stars grow in fame and mainstream appeal, they inevitably become less accessible to their fans. So a kind of counterreaction may also be setting in—one that makes it easier for some fans to see YouTubers less as people and more like ordinary, unattainable celebrities.
Which makes it that much easier for some fans to view modern vloggers as objects onto which they can project their inner desires. As YouTuber Hank Green of vlogbrothers fame lamented:
The #YouTubersIWantToBang hashtag makes me feel very weird. Remember when we all thought about each other as people?
— Hank Green (@hankgreen) August 15, 2014
Image of YouTubers Jack and Finn Harries by Gage Skidmore