Minnesota native shows how YouTube is more than just a place where you can watch videos that will make you laugh.
When people think of YouTube, thoughts of bizarre challenges and cat videos come to mind. YouTube personality Ashley Mardell, however, continuously proves that it is much more than just a hub for ridiculous viral videos.
Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ashley Mardell runs a successful YouTube channel where she uses her platform to educate her nearly 200,000 subscribers on issues that she is passionate about, such as feminism, mental health, and, most prominently, LGBTQ issues, using a unique and fun editing style that matches her welcoming and excited personality.
The most notable aspect of Mardell’s channel is her “ABC’s of LGBT” series, where she discusses the less well known identities within the LGBTQ community. In the first video of the series, she informs her audience about different sexualities, labels, and types of attraction that many people are unaware of.
Her second and third installments of the series focus on gender, and the different genders outside of the gender binary of men and women. These videos are extremely important, as these genders are hardly ever discussed in mainstream media, and a majority of people do not even know that they exist.
In addition to the importance of the content itself, the fact that Mardell acknowledges her privilege as a cisgender woman and brings other people who can speak from their own experiences with gender identity is extremely critical. She uses her success to give these people a voice, when usually they are silenced and underrepresented.
Again, aware of her privilege, Mardell is always willing to learn and accept any mistakes that she may make when producing her content. With all of her videos, she encourages conversation within the comments section so that she can look at the topics she is discussing from other people’s perspectives and learn from any errors she may have made in her videos. In fact, she released an “ABC’s of LGBT ‘Oops’ edition” in which she addressed any mistakes she made and any critiques she received throughout the series.
Mardell also runs a second channel called “One Take Ashley” where she talks directly to her audience in a more raw and unedited setting, and conversation is even more heavily encouraged.
Ashley Mardell and her content are not only important because of their educational value, but because she acts as a support system and a faraway friend for people coming to terms with their identities who may not have this information and comfort readily available to them where they live. Not only is she active on YouTube, but also on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, where she continues the conversations that start on her channels. She produces videos that make people feel validated and that they can identify with, and that is more important than the majority of the other content found on YouTube.