Being pregnant and having a baby is a “thing” on the internet. Everywhere on YouTube and Instagram you see women holding belly’s, proudly smiling. This trend is waiting to explode. Here’s why that concerns me.There was a time when I didn’t have any classes at university due to a course I didn’t pass (MCO/S which you must know). All of a sudden I had so much time to spare. I got on YouTube and discovered this world of “influencers” that vlog their daily lives. An influencer is a person who can reach a large amount of people through one or various social media. Because they have a big group of followers, they are useful for companies to advertise products. For example on YouTube a YouTuber can make a video out of sponsored content, and – depending on their reach and engagement of subscribers – , make good money out of it. No wonder lots of kids nowadays days list “vlogger” or “influencer” as their dream jobs when they grow up.
The one that caught my attention most was Monica Geuze, because I used to know one of her ex boyfriends (no, not the dutch rapper Lil Kleine!). What a remarkable phenomenon: In three years this girl has made it from zero to hero. She has more than 500.000 subscribers on YouTube and is still counting. Recently, Monica who is only 23 years old had her first child which made her channel explode. Her birth video got over a million views, and her subscribers significantly went up after announcing her pregnancy. It triggered me to do a little research. As it turns out: almost every female Youtuber with a significant amount of subscribers is pregnant or just had a baby. Josh Veldhuizen, Ik vrouw van jou, Sanny zoekt Geluk, Saar Koningsberger, Bibi Breijman, just to name a few. And somehow, they all seem to use the same (sponsored) baby products like the Co-sleeper, the Sleepyhead and baby carriers of luxury brand Artipoppe. It doesn’t take a scientific research to figure out that’s not a coincidence. Money is being made out of these baby’s.
No wonder lots of kids nowadays days list “vlogger” or “influencer” as their dream jobs when they grow up
Crossing an ethical line
I’m wondering if an ethic line is being crossed here. Is pregnancy a conscious life choice or is it part of a business plan? Whether they want it or not, a lot of these baby’s get a leading role in the vlog: from sonograms to birth videos and daily life activities like feeding and playing time. Their faces are full on the screen and every step is followed. They get a certain camera-awareness. I wonder how healthy this is at such a young age.
Is it okay to make money out of (unborn) baby’s? Is it right to make online profiles of baby’s, on YouTube or Instagram? Shouldn’t there be an informed consent before sharing a sonogram? And, considering the target audience of YouTube is pretty young and Youtubers are the idols of this time, shouldn’t we worry young people will be influenced and get inspired to having a baby, because it all seems so perfect? I hear my nieces of age 13 and 16 talk about Monica’s “perfect baby”. At the end of the day, we have to realize a vlog of 10 minutes is not a realistic view on parenting. I try to make this clear to them and even to myself. Because even I – even though I know how advertisement works – get influenced by all these videos. After doing my research YouTube seems to think I’m interested in having a baby, so the algorithm is set to trigger my maternal needs as a woman and there’s no escaping. How can you not get influenced? The cuteness is infectious, the happiness is real. The seed is planted, I must say. I should get off the internet. For heavens’ sake.
Cover:/ Final editor: Loïs Marcus