Friday, August 22, 2008

Sex Vlog: Inappropriate for Minors?

Came across this vlog (video blog) and am still trying to form an opinion around it. For the most part, I'm inclined to like it. Made by 22-year-old Kicesie, it's of course about sex. Otherwise, why would I even mention it :-)? Some of her videos do seem to be educational, such as this one on STDs. It's pretty accurate information-wise, but she uses a lot of judgmental language -- "gross," "disgusting," -- which might alienate anyone who already has an STD, or had one in the past. But overall, she's cute, and delivers the facts in a very calm, approachable manner. And given the fact that most of her videos are getting several 100,000 views, at least people are listening.

But other examples within her 61-video collection make me think differently about her and her motives. Several of her videos simply ask her viewers questions. Like this one on oral sex. First of all, it starts off with a montage of her in cute and sexy poses, then cuts to her in a low-cut top, camera angled for maximum cleavage display. Is she really trying to be an educator or does she just want to show off her bod? Hard to say sometimes.

After some non-linear babble, looking all coy for the camera, she asks her male viewers what makes oral sex great for them, and encourages feedback. And 529 responded. What surprised me, honestly, was that for the most part the comments seemed sincere. I frankly was prepared for a bunch of immature, irrelevant, inappropriate comments (to Kicesie's credit, she may have deleted those or maybe YouTube did) -- but instead I got graphic, but thoughtful advice on how to give good head from a bunch of random dudes. Interesting.

Then there are times when she simply goes on an editorial rant. Here's where things start to break down for me. Wearing no makeup and filming in black-and-white (a huge contrast to her dolled-up look she tends to adopt for her question asking videos), she complains about the lack of parental monitoring of children when they go online. "Where are the Parents?" she laments. An old and tired question. What troubles me most about this particular post, however, is her blanketed inaccurate statements. She is clearly troubled by the fact that youth under 18 are watching her videos -- disclaimers abound about age appropriateness in her vlogs -- and she explicitly states that her content is not appropriate for minors in her monologues. However, in this particular post she states that if children are watching her videos they are "probably in chat rooms with people who are much older than them," and "they are probably open to predators. They have probably been exposed to explicit pornography." Hmmmm. I think she is better off sticking to topics she can research more effectively.

And then here come the judgment statements again: "How can you parents let that happen? There is no excuse, no excuse at all." The statement is strong, yet naive. Her accusations are harsh. She says YouTube should be more responsible for ensuring minors don't get to see her videos. She seems to want to blame someone for the fact that younger people are listening to her.

But is it so bad that younger people are tuning in to what she has to say (I'd say middle school is pushing it on the age level, but mature high schoolers should be fine...)? She talks about STD transmission, she emphasizes the importance of partner communication. Are these such bad messages to get across to her viewers, no matter their age? I think if Kicesie wants to be a celebrity (at least a minor internet one) she is going to have to deal with all aspects of it. And that means understanding that people she doesn't want seeing her videos tuning in. And possibly learning something.

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