A Case For YouTube Candle — And Makeup And Hair And Room Redo— Videos

Eyeshadow tutorial? Why not?

Eyeshadow tutorial? Why not?

Last week I had a bit of a meltdown. It was not a good time. Luckily, I was able to calm myself down with one of the most beautiful pastimes to have been born out of the Internet.

I watched some candle reviews on YouTube. Such as this:

If you’ve yet to have the blessed experience of viewing a candle review, let me break it down for you: A lady (usually mid-thirties, almost always Southern) spends 15 minutes smelling candles in front of you.  She will use vague words to describe each scent to you, perhaps “woodsy” or “fresh.” You will wonder why you are finding it so enjoyable.  You will learn that cilantro is a pretty big deal right now.

It may sound boring. That’s because it is. Almost as boring as a room tour, but certainly less exciting than a “Get Ready With Me.” That’s the one where you watch people put their makeup on to elevator music.

There is something so comforting, even fascinating, about watching videos like these. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. The audience for this stuff is huge, and it’s comprised of mostly — you guessed it! — ladies.

A lot of traditional femininity has to do with presenting a product without revealing any of the process involved. Be it a full face of makeup, a put-together home, or a nice looking outfit, the world is not that interested in how women get there, just that they got there somehow.  

But we know it doesn’t quite work like that. There’s a process to gender performance, and it can be pretty involved. Curating furniture takes time and money, and so does putting on “your face” in the morning. That part of performing womanhood is really boring. Nobody cares about that part of being a lady — except some people totally do. Ladies do.

Ladies like watching other ladies do Lady Stuff. We connect when we see each other going through the same mundane motions that we all go through everyday. There’s something really profound about watching someone show you all of the shams they just bought at IKEA.

It’s not that cool Look-Up-At-The-Stars-And-Realize-We-Are-All-Children-Of-The-Universe type of connection. It’s more of a “Hey! I have that same Urban Decay eyeliner!  The color payoff is so great” kind of connection. Sometimes that’s the kind of connection we need. That’s the kind of connection I need when my Internet disconnects in the middle of submitting three papers and I can’t find my paycheck. I just need to watch someone’s mom smell a damn candle.  

And I smelled that pear and cilantro candle from Anthropologie the other day. Everyone was right — it’s awesome. Totally gonna buy it.

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