It all started when a man uploaded a video on his booktube channel entitled, "Last Week on Booktube" discussing what has been about on booktube for the last week. He started off with discussing about all the BEA/Bookcon vlogs and hauls have dominated the booktube world, and criticising them and also popular booktubers who posts BEA/bookcon vlogs just having fun there with other booktuber friends "who have the same amount of subscribers" as he pointed out in his video and worse, claiming that they are not 'real readers'.
So I am here to discuss about these things. Please take note that I am in my honest opinion, and other opinions are also much welcomed and appreciated. I am to no offense to anyone and if I do get anyone offended, I am utterly sorry for that.
The topic of feminism and sexism was brought up to this issue as the man slowly hinting in that video by saying "...sitting in front of their cameras and lights, wearing blush...." which indirectly means that girls who wear makeup or look pretty can't be real readers hence the hashtag #fakereadergirls.
This statement is outrageous. The fact that people has this mentality that girls can't have both beauty and brains. The book community is dominantly filled with the gender roles of women, and it is hard to separate makeup and books. Being a girl, it is normal for us to like or wear makeup because we would want to look nice. And does that make us any less a reader? Of course not. It's unbelievably funny if you think it is and it doesn't make any sense at all.
I sometimes got comments like these too referring to my appearances of wearing long hijabs and to them, apparently us, who wear long hijabs or niqabs can't read novels. They expect us to always be pious, and read Islamic books. It's mentality people. Mentality. Same applies to other stuff as well like, we can't pursue science, we can't be an engineer, we just have to be Ustazahs. It's annoying to say the least.
In the point of view of sexism, people always view girls as girlish and weak. We can't be in the spotlight, we can't fight, we can't be ninjas because all we care about is clothes and lipstick. You're wrong people.
"They are popular - well groomed, well lit, well edited booktubers to intentionally have made themselves into an unpaid publicity hacks."
Just because someone's video are well-edited and well-done, and have a chunk number of views per video, that doesn't make them less of a reader. I am speaking on behalf of the booktube community, that the reason we do booktube videos are because of the fact that we enjoy talking about books. And also because sometimes, the people around us doesn't want to hear us talk about books. So we got a camera and babble all stuff books because apparently we're loners. And lame. Famous booktubers have done really well-edited and really good quality of videos which gains the outrageous amount of views because they enjoy doing that, not because to get attention but it's their passion. This just shows us that how committed they are in doing what they are passionate about. And not just booktubers here but same goes to book bloggers and bookstagrammers who have such awesome feed and posts have the same reasoning as we do as well. We show our passion towards books through these platforms, not because we care about the followers, subscribers but we want to express ourselves - and share our love for books.
"These popular booktubers getting on planes, coming from all parts of the world just to wait in line to meet the same author, and they came to the end of the line, and meet the author and that's it. They don't even have connection whatsoever. You don't have to go to Chicago to get ARCs. No publishers in the world would have turned you down if you have over 5k viewers."
It is not only the ARCs that matter at this point. It is the experience. If you're a reader who loves books, you know the feeling of wanting yourself to be surrounded by books and things related to books. It has a different feeling to it. Meeting authors, there was always an excitement in meeting them - as if you're meeting a celebrity. In fact, they are celebrities - at least to us readers they are. And also, surrounded by people who you know share the same passion as you do gives you a really good vibe. It just does.
"These booktubers are just making these videos about hanging out with their equally subscriber count friends, standing in long lines and 'needing these ARCs in their lives'. And I am really good at sensing real readers from a good distance, and these people do not read."
Having to say this with experience, I know how it feels like to get to know and meet someone who has the same interests as you do. And with book events like these it unites us all as readers who have the same passion for books together. These booktubers make videos because they want to document their happiest times in meeting people who they've initially known through internet and books. Some of them are even meeting for the first time and they are so happy. I know how it feels because I've been there. Also, the reason they do these kinda vlogs and videos to be uploaded on their channel isbecause they want to share their happiness with us fellow readers from all over the world who didn't get to go to BEA/Bookcon, like for example, me. With these videos, at least I feel like I'm there with them, having fun as well. It also made me really happy to see some of my favourite bookish people meeting my other favourite bookish people. It cheers me up somehow.
How can you sense real readers, old man? How do you say these people do not read while they have tons of book reviews up on their channel and authors sending them arcs and even have a full shelf of books? Why do they even have so many books if not because they want to read them? Because as far as I know, according to Google, a reader is:
And with that, I rest my case.