Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Psychology and Sociology Behind Guru Gossip



Analyzing the Hate in Guru Gossip
Guru gossip is a forum for the sole purpose of “trashing gurus”. The exhaustive list of gurus to trash demonstrates how much time normal people put into criticizing YouTube beauty stars. There are even sections for lesser known gurus because no one should be allowed to escape their scrutiny. * Unfortunately, the forum doesn’t include other as prominent or equally popular sections such as politics, relationship or health that would give them the chance to focus on their own self-improvement and get feedback about their lives from other people. Even the forum Demand Studios Sucks offers sections that could help ardent Demand Studios critics find leads to other freelance jobs and break away from freelancing with the company they have gripes against.

The “rave a beauty guru” thread pales in comparison to the other endless hate threads and posts.  Therefore this site isn’t about balanced gossip, just negative bantering. Many of the posts resemble cyber bullying, consistent cyber bullying that lasts 24/7 with hundreds or even thousands attacking just one beauty guru with the intent to undermine and destroy YouTube careers. Ironically the gossipers don’t feel as if they are cyber bullying. Here is a small sampling of their posts, you can decide for yourself. *disclaimer: there is profanity *

1. AndreasChoice – “no wonder she is so stuck up and full of herself. Every comment is from people worshiping her and calling her "a goddess" and how "pretty" she is. She is so conceited. It's sad hundreds of thousands of little girls want to grow up to be a materialistic princess too now."

2. JuicyStar07 – “Ugh, just UGH, how can anybody watch and actually enjoy this fake little twit? Could some YouTube executive PLEASE come gather up these fake-as-h*ll little "beauty guru" sellouts and put them all in a spaceship headed for the moon? Honestly, this is getting sickening.”

3. MichellePhan – “1. She's a criminal. She should be thrown in jail for doing illegal IQQU business. 2. Arrogant and delusional. She thinks she's where she is now because she's soooo talented and amazing. B*tch. She got here because of lying, plagiarizing and cheating off innocent people. 3. Uneducated B*tch. It drives me insane how she steals quotes and ideas to sound smart. She tries to sound smart but ends up sounding like an idiot. 4. Ungrateful B*tch. She never says thank you or does giveaways for her subscribers. They're the main reason for her cash! Even the b*tch**st gurus like Holly do generous giveaways. 5. My ultimate reason is that she's SHAMELESS. HOW CAN SHE BE SO SHAMELESS AND CLAIMS TO BE INNOCENT AFTER WHAT SHE'S DONE?”
*note: Guru Gossip has change their domain name to gurugossiper.com . Therefore I've removed the links*

A third party assessment of guru gossip by pamlovsy2j:

Questions to think about
How come these ladies haven't started a forum targeting the real issue, male dominated corporations encouraging materialism or corrupt CEOs exploiting beauty standards?
How of most of these guru gossipers are attractive ladies? (the thread "post a picture of yourself" no longer exists, link has been removed)
How come these ladies have a site only targeting other ladies?
Why do they assume that they would "behave any better"?
Why do they feel better from lashing against YouTube beauty gurus?
....the main question....
Don't they have something better to do?

Anger at the little man (or in this case woman) for making the unscrupulous corporations appear more trustworthy and marketable
I can completely understand this sentiment. As we already know, corporations exploit the insecurities women hold about our looks since the beauty standards are so rigid yet very pervasive. They create standards that are almost impossible to achieve - everyone looks different, it’s hard to compete with women whose careers are to be beautiful (models & actresses) and it’s especially hard to compete with Photoshop - and then mass market this ideal to the public for their own profit and gain. Now these beauty gurus have created a direct avenue for the corporations to influence the impressionable, turning young girls into life time consumers. Instead of advertising being in impersonal magazines, these beauty gurus are gaining the trust of these girls and passing on this trust to corporations. Now there’s even more pressure to meet the beauty standard, because people are most likely to compare themselves to people closest to them. If these relatable girls on YouTube are beautiful, then I have to be attractive also! These beauty gurus are now selling a seemingly attainable yet desirable lifestyle through their makeup tutorials. Instead of just stating in a bland and unconvincing TV commercial that if you look beautiful you will feel better, girls are seeing their themselves that beauty = boyfriends (boyfriend tags are extremely popular) and a carefree lifestyle filled with glamour.

The message is clear, if you want to be like us you have to look like us. This is where you get the term sell-out from. You are selling out the heart of young ladies across the nation to earn your pieces of the corporate pie. You’re not doing this for fun, you are not even giving positive reviews about the best, you’re just giving positive reviews for the money.

One reason why they are spending so much time tearing down the gurus is because in a way they feel like Robin Hood. They feel like they are on a mission to do what’s best for young girls. They hope that instead of girls growing materialist and pulling out their wallets for the newest make up kit they run across the site and save their money (and self-esteem). They can’t get to the corporations and the men behind it all so it’s easier to just target the messengers. However what makes them so sure they wouldn’t behave the same way in a similar situation? They are already showing their capacity for callousness by the way they tear down others. Under the same circumstances they would be fully capable of applying this callousness to market corrupt corporations and misleading young girls.

Society (including women!) is not accustomed to shrewd, business minded women
Society is not accustomed to women actively trying to climb up the corporate ladder, especially the typical girly girl. Usually we expect girly girls to just marry rich or learn to depend on men for their advancement. But now we see this new generation of shrewd and almost calculating women such Kim Kardashian that will giggle like a little girl one moment to seem less intimidating and maintain her bubbly image yet behind closed doors is strategizing her next business venture. I looked up a couple of self-proclaimed CEO gossip sites and it was literally just positive and negative news and information about CEOS. Perhaps because society is more accepting of aggressive ( or even brutal?) practices men use to earn a profit. However with women there seems to be this huge issue with ambitious women who want to use YouTube as a stepping stone to other opportunities. This can also be seen in other areas of society just like teachers, a women dominated career, are always expected to contribute to society just for the fun of it. You’re never supposed to demand to be paid for your efforts. How dare these beauty gurus attempt to earn money and climb the corporate ladder!!! This topic is a reoccurring theme even the recent topic, "AndreasChoice just another guru getting filthy rich of YouTube" touches on this sentiment again. These gossipers seem almost insulted that the YouTube gurus want to expand their beauty careers by writing books, doing makeup for fashion shows, developing products and social networks, hosting celebrity events and appearing in music videos or movies.

We all know that Steve Jobs has been dishonest, he’s made mistakes, he’s allowed gadgets to be produced in exploitative sweatshops and he was quite secretive, making plans that he didn’t tell the general public about. His private life was also a bit sketchy (since the guru gossipers love to negatively dissect beauty gurus’ private lives). However Steve Jobs was generally revered and I don’t think there’s a hate site dedicated to top men in the tech field. I understand that beauty gurus’ accomplishments don’t necessarily compare however I’m showing how people are used to the shrewd, imperfect man but not the shrewd, imperfect woman. It’s almost like men are sooo much more important that they should be allowed to achieve their goals by any means necessary. I’m also involved a blogger community that is more male dominated (because of the niche I selected). It’s expected to earn money, prestige and expand your brand just from blogging. For example Problogger started off small and now they are a huge network. All of their articles aren’t perfect in fact now they mostly are guest posts and it costs money to join their forum. But you don’t see a bunch of ladies or men starting up a hate site against successful SEO bloggers.

A relic of primal behavior that Evolutionary Psychology explains? Women fighting for scarce resources
Women viciously fighting for scarce resources either by trying to tear down the person so that she will stop her efforts to succeed or harm herself and convince others to tear her down, is an understandable reaction to the sad state of society. I also believe that this trait is quite primal once you factor in the discrimination that women have endured for centuries which have destroyed their ability to earn a living independently. There are limited resources for women therefore we are taught to fight over the bits that men leave behind instead of just demanding more rights from the men. Instead of women sticking together for our rights, we’re too busy trying to identify our prime competition to tear down. It’s quite tragic but survival is survival. Women are often neglected in fact an anthropology study that I read about highlighted a tribe of women that were so deprived of protein (since the men got the first serving of men during famine) that they became cannibals which of course introduced a whole set of issues. What happens when a woman can’t make it? …well you have sexual exploitation or slaving away at an undesirable job. This inner fear of being at the bottom women have been implanted for centuries.


The life of ease is not realistic for most and the hardship women endure creates this constant anxiety of how to get ahead. One thread “Wouldn’t be Cool to be Them (Elle and Blair Fowler)”, they explicitly share how slightly envious many of these gossipers are of the financial and social security these gurus enjoy. “I would love to be a young woman living in L.A. in a beautiful apartment, with no real job or responsibility other than making videos online and getting sent free makeup products. Who wouldn't want that? Anyone who says they don't envy their lives is lying. They live such an easy, luxurious life. It's really unfair,” says one gossiper. Another shows the anxiety that many young women have “of course it would make life so much easier if i got paid 30 grand a month for doing a few videos 8-), this would make life so much easier for me - i wouldn't have to worry about not finding a job right after school (let's face it, it is actually really hard for a college graduate to find a job) and i could pay all my bills myself (i only pay 100 euros a month for my apartment, so the rest would probably be used for food or be put into a bank). i definitely wouldn't consider it my day job, that's just kind of ridiculous, although i do admire some youtubers who put up 10 or more videos a day and get money from that. that could be considered working since they actually work hard to please their subscribers”

Many of these guru gossipers have YouTube channels and are resentful of the stronghold, almost monopoly that these gurus have over the beauty audience. They can’t understand why these fallible ladies are so popular and they are not...because they (the guru gossipers) are clearly prettier, more knowledgeable and honest. This almost reminds me of Memoirs of a Geisha. The antagonist was so evil, picking on the protagonist even when she was an innocent child! Was the antagonist ugly? Nope. But the competition had a physical quality (blue eyes) and personality (goody two shoes) that the men seemed to love. That’s why gossipers like to undermine beauty by saying a guru is ugly or undermine personality by calling them fake. They were almost equal in talent but she just wasn’t “good enough”. Once the antagonist wasn’t as popular or in demand by the men, she was ruthlessly thrown out of the geisha house alone and defenseless. Then you realize that she was simply fighting for her survival. Due the patriarchal society we live in, there can only be a limited number of geishas. Those that can’t make it to the top have a horrible demise. Honestly the gossipers shouldn’t be that insulted, many of these gurus are popular because they were around before people even thought to do makeup tutorials. Now women have more power to create our own opportunities but the mind is still stuck on primal behavior.

Conclusion
I don’t agree with everything that beauty gurus do even though they are quite admirable. I get disappointed often by them however dedicating time just to bash them seems a bit extreme so I wanted to examine why others do. I mainly wrote this because I’m completely intrigued by human behavior. Obviously I couldn’t address all the questions or reasons because I didn’t want this post to be too long. I also stayed away from the usual jealousy analysis because I wanted to explore this concept using another angle. I’ll be writing several pieces similar to this in the future…so I hope you enjoyed ! I encourage you to check out Guru Gossip and tell me what you think.
* update: A commenter pointed out that Guru Gossip also contains sections such as  Fashion, Makeup & Beauty, etc.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

You contradicted yourself in the second paragraph.

By saying Gurugossip is for the 'sole purpose' of trashing Guru's in the opening argument you invalidated yourself by referencing the rave about a guru section in the follow up.

Dianne Heath said...

I'm sorry that you misunderstood what I said. What I'm trying to say is that the forum is only there to criticize beauty gurus( whether constructive or bullying). However the other sections such as rave a guru section are not authentic aspects of the forum. Gossipers don't go to the forum to give good gossip, therefore it's a farce. Almost like conducting illegal activities inside of a restaurant. Yes, the restaurant provides some income and a form of impression management, however it's the illegal activity that is sole provider and the true intention of the establishment.
In comparison users visit Demand Studios Sucks to mainly criticize Demand Studios, however that isn't the sole purpose. People visit for advice about freelancing also.

WhyNot said...

You contradicted yourself many times and the comments you used in response to GuruGossip were to prove what? That it's ok to call strangers **nts? I can't believe you even questioned the beauty of forum members.
Maybe you should write one about why people like you refer to a bunch of vacuous creatures, merely raving about sponsored products on YouTube, as "gurus".

Dianne Heath said...

1. I didn't call you all that, however I was showing the general attitude of people that oppose guru gossip by posting a very candid comment. I did remove the word that you found offensive, but I offered a disclaimer of profanity. I'm surprised at the sensitivity towards the word since the equivalent is used to describe the beauty gurus frequently.
2. I did not question the beauty of the gossipers. I tried to steer away from the basic jealously accusations by stating that the gossipers aren't necessarily less attractive. In fact one of your own stated "bahaha all the girls here are quite attractive..jealousy is not in our cards." Another comment that one of you stated "Wow you're not a Beauty guru because.....? You could put those bigger gurus to shame." Very true, in fact that is the conflict that the gossipers face is, why are these gurus successful...
3. The name of the forum is guru gossip. Also I don't necessarily agree with all that the "beauty gurus" do as I detailed in my first explanation.

KiwiFae said...

I read as far as the first line of the second paragraph. I didn't need to read any further. It's an article written to make you feel like you're taking the moral high ground. I am not an impressionable 14 year old girl who hangs onto the every word of the known scammer Kandee Johnson. I'm grown woman who frequents a forum that corrects the information given by people who's only beauty knowledge is self taught.
Would you stand in awe of the "beauty guru" who as a face full of caked makeup, muddy eyeshadow and lipstick on her teeth? Or would you rather go to a site that people have used the 'guru's' video has as a reference point then posted - "Look after your skin, use foundation sparingly, do not mix a lot of eyeshadow together, always check your lipstick before leaving the house?"

Dianne Heath said...

Due to your comment, it's obvious that you didn't read the commentary. Especially since you display the exact attitude that I referenced in the article. I love being on the moral high ground even if others go against me, therefore thanks for that observation. You say that your correct the information of "beauty gurus", well that is exact what I say the first paragraph. Many of the ladies on guru gossip feel that it's their duty to correct the gurus and reveal the scams. I'm not sure how you missed that paragraph. In the third paragraph I spoke about how you all felt that you have better skills. Once again you referenced that you are obviously a better and an actually trained makeup artist. I don't see the argument here because you doing exactly what I wrote about.

Sheena said...

You tell them Dianne Heath! GuruGossip is really just a site for haters who have nothing better to do. They need to join a sewing club or something.

Dianne Heath said...

@ Sheena,
lol, heck even I need to join to sewing club!!!

Shantae said...

Great article Diane. When I first found that website I was shocked. I don't knew how a person could have so much hate for someone they don't even know.

Ida said...

I enjoyed your post. If only more people felt this way.

It looks like you've attracted people from that site here in the comments!

The internet is a powerful tool, which is used in both positive and negative ways. It is pretty awful that people can say whatever they want online, but would never say these things in person.

Like what you said in your post, how women attack women - it's such a terrible thing. You'd think they'd stick together after everything.

The simple idea of "Don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to yourself" is something we've all learned in grade school. It's unfortunate that it didn't stick for so many.

Dianne Heath said...

@ Ida
Thank for making such a profound comment!
Yep, I definitely attracted some of them here. They track down anyone that make seemingly negative statements about them and then antagonize them. Ironically they don't like to be criticized.

The internet is a powerful tool. Gossip is also powerful, combine those and you've got something can make a serious impact. What causes me to be disappointed is that these young ladies could have made a hate site against domestic violence, sex trafficking, reproductive issues...but no these ladies have decided to put in energy to harm other women. Women have so many other issues that we need to focus on, why put in time for this? So yes I'm sad to see women use the internet, the freedom of the internet to attack each other instead of contribute to our own freedom. Perhaps if we lived by the simple idea you outlined, the world could be a much happier place.

Dianne Heath said...

@ Shantae
Same here!
I mulled over that question for a while... why are these gossipers so intent and passionate in trashing people they don't know. That's why I wrote this piece, there had to be some underlying reasons. Even now when I visit the site I'm still amazed.

Anonymous said...

people go to gurugossip to say what they don't like about the gurus because if they say it anywhere else they get berated.
People who like gurus go to the guru's facebook/youtube w/e where they can freely gush and crawl ever further up the guru's arse.

if you don't like gurugossip don't visit it, you fucking moron.

Anonymous said...

lol comment approval.
even more proof how against free speech you are. ^^

Dianne Heath said...

@ Anonymous
Most comments are approved except for spam comments. I also have to edit some comments because I'm not going to deal with abusive speech.

Dianne Heath said...

@ Anonymous
Why don't you take your advice and stop viewing the gurus that you don't like. Doesn't your behavior make you a moron too? This is why I wrote this commentary, because I needed to explore the obsession you all have with needing to talk about them constantly.

Anonymous said...

I found their website because someone posted it in post about Michelle Phan. After about an hour of reading some of the posts, I was shocked and just felt sad at how these girls can be so vicious at another human being. They put down EVERYTHING about Michelle. From her looks (I think she looks beautiful by the way) weight, grammar, make up skills. Everything! That forum is a testament to how catty women can be towards each other. You don't see a forum like this for the male Youtubers...

The thing that I don't understand is why they continue to watch her video if they dislike her so much. Some of them even subscribes to Michelle's MyGlam makeup sample subscription then later complain about it. Really?

It's like intentionally putting your hand on a burning stove and complaining that it's hot.

Gurugossip isn't a place to provide constructive critism. It's basically a hang out to cyber bully these Youtubers. Looks like they didn't get enough of bullying their peers in high school?

That's my rant for today.

You stay classy, gurugossipers!

Dianne Heath said...

@ Anonymous
I agree, the detailed scrutiny of beauty gurus is a bit appalling. The forum does give evidence to how women will put in significant amounts of effort to tear down the competition. I'm still waiting for a site that equally tears down domestic violence or sexual assault. What concerns me is the willingness to subscribe to MyGlam just to gain information to delegitimize her business. Unfortunately their hate could impact her emotional and financial stability. Obviously not all of them all "evil". I'm more focused on the primary intent of the site to "trash the gurus".

Anonymous said...

Nice post, and I agreed with most of it until you said said that the haters can't understand gurus because gurus are "clearly prettier, more knowledgeable, and honest."

Considering that some of the gurus on youtube have been caught in lies, your point is debatable.
Some gurus on youtube have no idea what is going on, and that's fine with me, everyone has to start somewhere. For an example, check Mariasbeautycorner to see a hot mess. While I love Maria's personality, I imagine the ladies on GG could dance makeup circles around her, negating your "more knowledgeable" assumption.
And lastly, prettier? You really had to go there? Pot, meet kettle.

Dianne Heath said...

At anonymous, you misread what I wrote. I said that you all, the guru gossipers believe that you are "clearly prettier, more knowledgeable and honest" and that is why most of you don't think that beauty gurus deserve their success.
Why would I blatantly state that someone is prettier when attractiveness is subjective? Also if you are so offended by what you thought I said, why do you all feel that it's acceptable to call beauty gurus ugly. Isn't that just as offensive?
I'm just amazed that 99% of you didn't read the article.
You also didn't read the beginning part of my article did you? Because I specifically stated you all feel the need to inform the public and expose lies. I implied this was a somewhat positive function of the forum.

Anonymous said...

Can you write a paper on the psychology behind writing a paper on the psychology of gurugossip? LOL.

Dianne Heath said...

@ Anonymous,
I explained several times, within this paper and in the comments why I wrote about guru gossip. I'm sure that I have the right to be curious about a site and to express how I feel about it.

Lauren said...

I'm glad someone wrote about this. I have looked at the website and sure there are some points that are valid when it came to some gurus and I think it's okay to say that a guru isn't sincere or has changed since becoming more well known but then I started seeing the most evil and hateful comments including people who researched guru's marriage licenses, finding out how much their house is and looking up outfits that they thought a guru "copied". They obviously have a lot of time on their hands. I'm just totally appalled at what these girls will write! It's amazing what goes through people's minds. I really believe some have a mental illness.

Looking at their pictures, most look as if they suffer from esteem issues with their looks or weight and I saw that many used pictures of lesser known models (so they can't be recognized) pretending to be them. If anyone tells them about their ways, they go on this rant saying they have degrees, make X amount of money and live a great life and blah blah and "don't have time to argue" yet they will spend countless hours bringing these guru's down.They even have a facebook and twitter account posting catty and nasty comments about gurus. They say they are just posting the truth but these hypocrites really need to look at their own lives but they will never admit that they have a problem.

Hang Lu said...

I've been lurking the site for quite a while but never bothered posting anything. I agree that a lot of comments come off as hateful and petty, and certainly those kind of extreme reactions can cause an equally extreme disgust at the entire group of people on the site, regardless of the fact I found the main contributors to be self-aware, intelligent and confident women. This sort of backlash at any novel, counterculture group based on outlying behaviors is unremarkable, and at some point a cheap pandering to the mass that is often beloved by the media and people-pleaser scholars. I disagree with the arguments that these "gossipers" think they are somewhat better than those so-called gurus, or the societal innate fear of girly women in power. Having actually followed the ascension of many of the corporate "messengers" you are attempting to defend while maintaining a certain objectivity, I feel much of the negative reactions towards them are based on their transformation and what many consider their slow corruption. At the beginning stage of their career, people could relate to them and trust them because what they did was in fact non-career oriented, a hobby. In the Guru Gossip comments, the majority of posters forgive their early inexperience precisely because the so-called gurus seemed honest and accessible. What is enraging is that they are still using this same facade of honesty and accessibility as new business women who are behaving as everything but. On the point they are detested because of their shrewdness, we agree. But in this case, I don't think it has as much to do with the fact they are women as it has to do because the posters once knew them as something opposite -loved them- and it's quite revolting to unfold their lies as they are constructed.

Now, these points may seem weak to a lot of people skimming the comment, so I'm going to make one final point I believe cannot be overlooked.

A lot of the backlash against Guru Gossip's criticism has been based on the easy idea that if you haven't got something nice to say, you shouldn't say it and move on. Now, I don't think this applies on a business perspective. In fact, the only way a capitalist society where everyone has decent access to resources (utopian, but bear with me) is by having industries fighting for customers and consequently lowering their price and improving the quality of their product/service. This of course comes with the premise that the customer, the consumer, is the main critic of whatever product companies, people are seller. In this information-focused digital age where people can get content for free, such as the tutorials so-called gurus produce, the consumer is anyone who has to go through the ads to get to the video. The consumer in fact pays with granting companies access to their subconscious in the form of watching ads. Because they have paid, I believe consumers are perfectly entitled to critic and scrutinize the gurus, who become through their videos "products" as much as celebrities are nowadays. I think having this sort of freedom is necessary, just like anyone is allowed to criticize a movie, a book, a song or a beauty product. I even think it is important to set up and encourage that kind of freedom (granted, it could be used in a less petty way sometimes) in this emergent industry that is Youtube.

- A prefrosh on vacation who tends to stay awake at wee hours, thus the misspells and the grammar mistakes.

Lola said...

Thank you for voicing your opinion on this matter. I have been a spectator/lurker on gurugossip since late 2010. Over the years, I've watched a people come to this site that try to defend youtube gurus who have been personally targeted and victimized by members (namely Michelle Phan). And when they are unable to get their message across, these individuals decided to quit i.e. ~Echanto, he actually tried to defend Michelle Phan in numerous occasions. But due to the vindictiveness of some gurugossipers, he decided to stop and finally left the site. I was actually upset, because I liked how he voiced a different opinion, only to be shot down by other members in the forum, solely because he didn’t maintain the majority’s perspective on the matter.

Sometimes I feel like this is site is progressively becoming worst, due to it’s increase of members and stalker behavior. But let’s be serious, people only like to hate on someone because if gives them the opportunity to talk trash about them to a group of people who would accept their opinion. On the other hand, there are actually a few good members that provide proper criticism in that site such as Trololol (her post are rather enjoyable to read). Unfortunately, others easily mistake one’s criticism for hate, and vice-versa. But I have to give kudos to gurugossip. Despite the fact that it’s filled with vapid, frustrated females, it entertains me. It has become a guilty pleasure of mine, hence why I will continue to visit that site ☺ Come on, it’s only natural for us females to enjoy reading gossip.

Anonymous said...

@Hang Lu--Your comment sums up my opinion exactly! If YouTube gurus are making money off of these videos or are being compensated (with money or free products/merchandise or in other ways) then they should be open to criticism the same way a company is. I don't understand why they are surprised about this. I frequently review the products and services I have purchased from many brands and companies and if these companies are advertising on YouTube (which is exactly what they are doing by giving out free products) then their affiliates (ie YouTube gurus) are as much open to critique as they are themselves as owners of a brand.

Liz said...

You make some valid points, but as a forum member of the site, your article is not completely accurate.

The truth:
It's not that we hate women being successful, it's how they become successful that the majority of posters have a problem with. Many gurus if not almost all are sponsored/ sent stuff for free and paid for a pleasant review of the product received from that company. YouTube was a great venture for beauty advertising, but with influence from corporations comes corruption. Gurus lose their integrity when the push a shoddy product for the sake of a couple bucks. 
The other issue is while others work their asses off for their paycheck, gurus get paid to sit behind a camera and just talk about a product or film a makeup tutorial. Something that comes off as incredibly lazy and not to mention pretentious.  I was shocked to see the figures of how much these girls actually make, considering what their job is. 
Younger girls certainly do look up to some of these gurus but they are too naive to understand that they are being scammed. When brought to attention on the YouTube video or Facebook, the comments are policed by the guru's which takes away the right of free speech. Leading to why GuruGossip can be great because these lies can be exploited without worrying that it will be policed by the guru. 
I will admit some of the girls take things too far, but the majority do not. 

It seems to me that you, like the majority of people who demonize GG, listen to the loudest voices. Not the majority of them.

Devlis Advocate said...

Ive only been reading/commenting the site as of the last 2 months, but heres what I have found in the 'recent' posts for a few of the Gurus I comment on. Contrary to common belief, some people who comment there actually have jobs/lives and are unable to read through pages upon pages of 'hate'.

The threads that Im involved with focus mainly on clear FTC violation and corruption. Gurus becoming fake and robotic since they have become popular, Gurus who basically turn their videos into infomercials for products without the proper FTC disclaimers, also discussion about few Gurus who now have their own products and how that effects their videos blogs, etc.

Its not ok for these Gurus to skirt around the law. Its just not. Grown women can see through these things, the target demographic (teenagers) can not. Plain and simple.

Some of the hotter topics involve Gurus freaking out or even deleting comments that arent the least bit mean and hateful, just a comment that goes against the grain. A few nameless bloggers are notorious for this. Any time a comment is left that isnt "omg i loveeeeee this", the Guru goes out of her way to blast the comment, even if its something non threatening, rather just an opposing view. Sure, "haters gonna hate", but what about the average reader who just doesnt agree with whats said? The saddest part is, the comments praising the Guru get no attention, while anything less that ILOVEYOUU gets mile long replies.

I think most of the pull of Guru Gossip (at least from what I have seen) is these women can talk freely among themselves about things that peeve them regarding Gurus. God forbid you present a well thought out and valid point going against a Guru and her followers.

Whats interesting to me is I see a lot of these comments that start out as "im a GG lurker" and follow up with "these women have no lives and are stalkers"....Think about what you just said? How does lurking a forum and lurking a Guru differ?

Whats also interesting is the amount of backlashers who pretend to be "above" gossiping about Gurus or just in general...like gossiping is such a sin. Women gossip, how is this a surprise? Furthermore, when you have a public blog regarding one of the most popular things that appeals to women, you cant honestly expect to see no backlash.

Anonymous said...

I'm also somewhat in agreement with Hang Lu. I'm also a visitor/infrequent participator at GuruGossip(er). I mostly frequent the Elle and Blair forums because I remember these girls videos when they first began. I love seeing them evolve and pretty much take the LA scene and the You Tube community by storm. I'm a business person and have a passion for marketing. So watching EB is like a lesson in "marketing". I do criticize them and do find that I let off steam by typing comments about various things they do or say. But I have also come to their defense numerous times. Capitalism is alive and well and these girls are totally indicative of that. They weren't "given" their fame, they went for it. They don't stand around waiting to be "discovered" they went after it and make people discover them, getting an agent and so forth. I'm sure they don't like some of the comments on GG, but they even admit they they read it. Some of the comments for Elle have taken a turn for the better. She has lots of fans on GG now. Blair's comments have taken a turn for the worse, because now all of her videos are sponsored.

People/viewers just want to be acknowledged as human beings. If a guru adknowledges their viewers then they are loved. If they ignore that humans are watching their videos, people call them out.

Criticism is one of human's main faculties. We do it everyday. Its usually considered "intellectual" fodder when we talk of politics and movies. But for some reason when we talk about you tube gurus we're being trashy and obnoxious. I do agree that the snooping and looking up marriage licenses and home addresses can get out of hand though. But criticism given on GG can simply be a different type of "intellectual fodder", one that revolves around pop culture instead of politics.

They girls set themselves up for the criticism as soon as they became "popular". Oprah gets it and she's a billionaire. CNN personalities get it and they're wealthy. Its inevitable that we're going to criticize them. However GG does offer a balance. And I hope I'm one of the balancers.

I don't quite know the point of my post. I'm am typing all of this as I think about this issue freely in my mind.

But basically, my final thought is this: People are going to talk. I've been talked about behind my back my whole life for one thing or another. But the lesson is that regardless of how much someone talks about you or don't like you it doesn't hurt your success. It only hinders the person talking about them especially if they choose not to accomplish things in their life because they think only the "chosen few" can have it. Looking at people like EB helps me to realize I CAN have it too. And to prepare myself for the criticism when I get there.

Camille said...

Very smart and informative commentary Diane, you ask the good questions and encourages us all to think about how the beauty industry works.

Sadly I think you're right to say that this forum is a hateful place where girls are being viciously petty to other girls who put themselves forward. I read some of the threads and it is full of sexist and racist insults.

I would definitely understand why big beauty gurus get criticism : after all, they're getting really famous so it's normal that they come across some people who do not like what they do. Also when they make that much money, it's normal than viewers feel like they can give their views on the work that is presented.

However, they do not give "constructive criticism" they personally insult them, and try t find personnal information about them just to undemrine them. In my book this is called harassment and cyber bullying. It's sad because i the forum really had been respectful it could have been interesting... but like you said they wait for every video because then they will unleach all the hate they have against the gurus.

I don't particularly like gurus - I do not know them personnaly - but I think the videos are reaaaaally materialistic and shallow and I don't spend much in make up.

But it does not mean I'm going to insult them ! I think the problem spreads on the whole internet, anyway. There are hatred comments anywhere on youtube, all kind of forums, etc. As soon as they are hidden behind a computer a lot of people behave like cavemen and cavewomen. They have no tolerance or respect and insult others because they feel like it.

It is sad but it will always exists as long as people can stay anonimous on the internet.

Anyway, I hope I did not make to many mistakes because English is not my native language, I'm French.

Thank you for your article it was a nice thing to read !

Gen said...

Honestly, I think that this article is definitely justified. However, I would like to make a few points in defense of Guru Gossip:
- you chose some of the most inflammatory and shallow comments from the website. Of course, it's bad enough that the website has an atmosphere which would lead a commenter to believe that this comment is welcome and appropriate. However, the majority of the comments on the site are mature, constructive criticism. They are more often than not legitimate, arguable claims and they usually have to do with the guru's lies, inflated ego, and deceit. The guru makes herself a target upon telling these lies or casually bragging about their accomplishments and posting their videos for the world to see.
-Yes, it is wrong to point out someone's flaws in a hurtful way. But do the ladies on this site do so? No. They are discussing opinions amongst themselves, not going out of their way to hurt the gurus that are the subject of their 'trashing.'
-There are lots of threads on the site that are NOT related to beauty gurus, despite the site's name. Some of GG's most popular threads are about books, movies, and everyday things like that.
I will admit some of the girls take things too far, but the majority do not.
Maybe there is a mean spirit to guru gossip, but 95% of the posts on there are justified, or not even hurtful.

Dianne Heath said...

@ Gen
I don't think that I choose the worst comments. I choose the most common statements made against "beauty gurus."
The site isn't as inflammatory as it used to be and it does serve a purpose for revealing corrupt behavior. However many of the claims are unfounded. I would argue that 95% of the posts are unjustified. Also, what's wrong with posting your accomplishments? When people post their accomplishment, it should be inspiring. It's sad that it causes you all to feel angry and mean spirited.
I don't understand how you all feel that it's okay to criticize these ladies. However when I wrote this article suddenly I should shut my mouth. Many people on guru gossip get angry at others that scrutinize them but for some reason they have the right to harshly scrutinize others. I guess only Guru Gossipers have freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

The only problem I have with this website is the way some of the mods treat the users.

Anonymous said...

I have been observing behavior on GG for nearly a year now. When making claims or speculating matters regarding human behavior, we have a tendency to go with intuition. Many of your hypotheses are what I had originally thought at first blush. I was also immersed in the Youtube community at least two years prior to my discovery of GG. In analyzing GG, it is important to understand Youtube culture. I think this hatred extends far beyond beauty gurus-- there simply isn't a "Vlogger Gossip" or "Comedy Artist Gossip" site that conveniently directs all hate to one site. I see that you said there would be future articles discussing this topic. Perhaps it would be useful for you to immerse yourself in youtube culture as well as read up on the literature regarding self esteem, bullying, etc. I'm not exactly sure what your credentials are, but with the proper resources, I think some exciting studies could be conducted regarding this matter. Right now, I fear that many of the psychologists (and perhaps even sociologists) studying these forms of online bullying lack experience with online media in the way todays teenagers experience it. Also, I think it is clear that sex discrimination permeates all facets of our lives, so that isn't really that interesting of a conclusion/speculation. Although this is necessary for our ultimate understanding of the subject, it is one small piece of a very large, complex puzzle.

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny how mad all of these haters are that you intelligently called them out for their sick infatuation with these women

Anonymous said...

What I can't stand is the fact that it's okay for them to b*tch about these people about their weight, personality, etc, but AS SOON as you start talking about the commentors, their like "what gives you the right to talk about this person??" That's just sick. They are so hypocritical and one sided. I imagine that alot of the users on there have some form of a mental illness, maybe untreated, and they are using GG as a way to vent and let out their anger. SOMETHING needs to be done about this site. With all the awareness out about cyberbullying (which oh, is another subject they standby) this site should be shut down.

Hera said...

I used to be a participant of Guru Gossip for a while. While I agree with the other posters that Gurus should be criticized, it seems like the majority of GG now just ridicule and make fun of gurus. Whenever I go to a forum to read thoughts and opinions on a certain guru, all I read is hatred and cattiness. Not only that, but if someone posted a differing yet well-written opinion, he or she always get attacked on. Hence the reason I finally quit.

I find it ironic that these gossipers believe if someone disagrees with their actions it must mean we are pretentious and carry a holier-than-thou attitude. Even the naive commenter, Devils Advocate, believes us "backlashers" that we pretend to be above gossiping. Why, of course, we pretend to be above you gossipers since we are against cyber bullying, sexim, racism, etc. Sorry honey, but we're not like that. If you really think that we carry a holier-than-thou attitude and believe we're "above" just because of the fact we call people out due to their hatred, sexism, racism, bigotry, etc., then you really need to step back and think.

Anonymous said...

Well written article! I have also visited the GG website and from what I have read the majority of the threads take things way too far! The posts are ridiculous; there are people who post youtubers addresses and marriage licenses etc. That is not constructive criticism and like some people have said it’s like these people are obsessed with the youtubers. If I don't like or enjoy someone's videos I don't subscribe to their channel nor do I watch any of their videos; it is really simple.

Anonymous said...

I will say that I've had some laughs at minor things about some of the gurus and there are a few decent people on the forum, but for the most part they're nasty, bitter hags. The way they tear these women apart and pick at them like carrion just gets sickening after awhile.

Who cares if the gurus get paid to do the videos? The videos take time to make and no one is forcing anyone to buy sponsored products. Hey, if you can do that for a living and earn a sustainable income, it sure beats sitting in a cube taking orders from some ego maniac boss.

Anyway, this article was very well-written. They just can't keep it light. 98% of them go for the jugular.

Anonymous said...

The people on gurugossiper are pretty pathetic. They obsess over the tiniest details and then concoct elaborate stories that couldn't be further from the truth. They're on the same level as conspiracy theorists. If you hate someone then don't watch. They actually go out of their way to watch videos of people they hate so they can keep posting nasty comments LOL. They may be unwilling to admit it, but they hate their lives. There's no reason why a healthy, well-adjusted human being would be compelled to watch videos of people they hate just to gather more ammo to bash them. They feed on hate. They need to get their shit together. Some act like they're doing the beauty world a favor by "exposing" the lies and deceit of the gurus. Why don't they spend more time exposing the lies and deceit of people in government and make a real difference in the world. Instead they feel that stopping someone from buying a particular eyeshadow or blending brush recommended by a hated guru is noble. Morons.

Anonymous said...

'There's no reason why a healthy, well-adjusted human being would be compelled to watch videos of people they hate just to gather more ammo to bash them'

My thoughts EXACTLY!
I've unsubbed from many youtubers. The thought of watching something I don't like would be torturefor me. What a complete waste of time!

Serene Deity said...

I don't understand what people get out of constantly bashing others. What is it doing for you? How is it improving you and your lifestyle? Sure, we all have our own opinions about people. But it's so much more simple to just tell yourself 'Oh, I don't like their videos or their 'Youtube' Personality' (Since that's all you're seeing since you don't know how they actually live outside of their youtube job) and move on to a video that you do want to watch. Put your energy into matters that really matter if you are so enthralled with injustice. To tear someone down is awful, because no one stops to think what if the roles were reversed? What if they were the ones receiving so much hate by people who assume they know who they are? I don't think this is a very healthy thing to do and can be very damaging to people who have low self esteems and see how cruel a lot of these people are. I ran into a thread earlier and these people were in a heated discussion about a couple who vlogs. They were discussing how much they despised their personalities and how they are fake. In the same shed of light, they were discussing how they've seen their vlog today and continue to bash and berate. I'm there thinking, "if you so despise these people, why are you continuing to subject yourself to their fake lives? I think people need to step back and really take a good look at their actions.

Anonymous said...

Be careful, these ladies will turn on a fellow "gossiper" in a heart beat. You give them an inch to go on and they will rip you to shred as well. A lot of gang like mentality really all rolled up into catty like 8th graders,

Joyce Enjoydotcom said...

I'm surprised and appalled a site like Gurugossip is even legal. Of course the youtube 'gurus' don't need to be treated like goddesses, but he pages and pages of filthy hate and slander worries me.
Like has already commented before me, I too have simply unsubscribed from channels that started to annoy me for whatever reason.
Would the GG-crowd also keep following people in real life if they didn't like or even hate them? Doubtful....

Anonymous said...

Oh just be serious. So these "gurus" can post whatever they want on YT, make a lot of money of it, be able to delete whatever comments they want to from their videos, and nobody should be able to criticize them freely on a forum!? Posting guru addresses is not tolerated and it's not cyber bullying. It's not bullying, it's exactly what the website's name says, GOSSIPING. Shouldn't we be allowed to gossip about guru's? Users don't go to those gurus to attack them directly, we just talk among ourselves. Celebrities are scrutinized to the bone and these guru's have put themselves in the spotlight and should expect criticism, even harsh criticism. Nobody is threatened or bullied, it's just a forum for talking about guru's.

Anonymous said...

Those dumb slutty youtube whores are fake and photoshop their videos and photos. THEY SLEEP AROUND TOO!!!! They think they are some hot shit and they think they are better than everyone else, when really, they live boring crappy lives because they sit in front of a camera talking about their crappy lives!!!! dumb whores :) They have no friends and no life at all!!! They want people to think they are "nice, down to earth, friendly people", when in reality, they are fake, arrogant, slutty, trashy whores!!! And haters, don't come saying some shit like "stfu ur jealous", no hater, you are mad because I am telling the truth and ur mad to hear the truth!!! Who is jealous of a hoe? not me :)

Anonymous said...

NOBODY on yt gets paid!!!! where is the proof that their lazy asses get paid? NONE!!!! Besides, it wouldn't be fair if people who post videos all day get paid for doing stupid crap like that and while everyone else in the economy is working their asses off (except for wwe divas and vs models cuz they sleep around and those are NOT professional jobs!!).

Anonymous said...

You certainly attracted those vindictive and hateful people to your blog. It just proves that despite hating and criticizing YouTube gurus, they themselves dislike receiving the same venom they spew onto others. Women are sometimes worse than men it comes to criticism. I saw a tumblr post where they posted the Facebook, Twitter and personal blog of a college student who kept attacking Michelle Phan and other gurus. I wonder how these GG lackeys would feel if their faces were plastered online and I created a website to publicize and humiliate them.

They always end up with the same excuse, "Public personalities should be open to criticism." There's a difference between criticism and saying someone is an ugly beeyatch who deserves to die. No one on Guru Gossip is intelligent. An intelligent person would do something more productive than attack YouTubers in their spare time.

Anonymous said...

I once attempted to start a thread in the Rave Section about my favorite guru, and even though they don't allow any support for the ones they trash in the trash threads, they sure do allow hate for the rave sections. You cannot say one positive thing about someone you might like and have a civil conversation in the rave sections. They all descend on it and it soon turns into just another hate thread that you only intended to be positive. Yup the rave sections are just lip service. They are not intended to be taken seriously. And omg, the mods there are fierce. they are worse than some of the posters. I mean they are right in there talking trash like the rest. So no one is really in charge and if you have a complaint good luck, you get warnings and then banned. they marinate in hatred and put down their torches and pitchforks only long enough to thoroughly slash someone to bits only to pick them up again to start all over the next day. Very sick.

Anonymous said...

I used to love reading GG but as of now I just can't anymore. I think some of them are way too involved with these gurus. It's like if you say one positive thing about someone they're quick to call you a "minion". Its pretty pathetic and sad.

Andrea said...

Even though no one has commented here in a month, I came here to discuss my personal experience with the GG website and further validate people's criticisms of the site and its members.

I was banned permanently yesterday literally for no reason but defending myself. Other posters were launching personal attacks against me because I did not agree with their opinion, including but not limited to bitchy remarks such as "Next time keep it in your My Little Pony diary" and "Why the FUCK would any of us give a shit about your opinion?"

Those kinds of words clearly are disrespectful to another poster. This site claims to have rules but I don't think they follow them at all. The #1 rule they claim to have on their site is "Respect other posters." What happened when I reported those posts to the mods? Were they the ones punished? Nope. I was. The person who was getting attacked by others was the one banned, not those making the attacks. How fucked up is that? The mod there is a bitch too. I PM'd her about the situation at first and she said "I am only a support mod so I don't have any authority over the rules but I will forward your message to the admin." Then after she bans me, she posts in the thread "Relax ladies, she's gone now." Um, hello, I thought you said you had no authority to do that kind of stuff? What a liar. She clearly never probably sent my message to any of the other staff and decided to stick with her buddies and ban me instead of punishing them. What a middle school girl mentality.

The main thing I cannot stand about that site, besides how vile and disgusting it actually is, is how hypocritical the members there really are. As someone said above, none of these people appear to have any intelligence at all. If you call them out on their BS they resort to childish attacks and keep asserting the same argument over and over again. I think many of them might have a mental or emotional illness, which would explain some of the sick behavior there, and I also don't think they have any kind of reading comprehension skills because you can tell them something and they won't understand it, they'll just keep making the same idiotic argument over and over again, even though they are wrong.

Andrea said...

Part 2

I love their excuses when people bash that site. The entire purpose of that site is to bash people, yet when people bash them, they have a hissy fit over it. They make up lame excuses like "If you don't like this site, then don't visit," well why are you watching YouTube videos of people you claim to hate so much? If you don't like them, then don't watch them or talk about them! It's the same freaking thing!

They also try to justify their bashing of gurus by saying "Well, they put themselves out there so they have to deal with criticism." Well, hello, this site and what the members post are also put out in public, therefore they are also subject to criticism. It's a 2 way street but none of them are intelligent enough to figure this out. They all have a very 1 track mind set that is very juvenile.

The only good thing I find about that site is that they expose scams and lies by these gurus so that other people don't get taken advantage of. That is the only decent purpose of that site. The rest of it and the way people treat each other there, member to member, staff to member, member to staff, is sick. They thrive on negativity. They revel in it. They claim they have lives but it's obvious they don't or they would be doing something much more productive with their lives. Some of them go to creepy levels of stalking these gurus, digging up old legal documents and such. There is even one member there that claims to have a connection with Kandee Johnson and started revealing private information about her. What kind of sicko does that? Only a sociopath. That site is a communal watering hole for sociopaths and creeps.

Their site in general is one big joke. Half the time it doesn't even work properly because they don't have a big enough server. I've seen some of the members speak downright rudely to the staff trying to run the site, calling them incompetent among other things. It's like a breeding ground for idiots who thrive on negativity. Also that same member that revealed things about Kandee went digging through my social media accounts to try to find proof that I was a Kandee fan, even though I had unsubscribed from her months ago. Creepy much? When I told her that was a plain creepy thing to do all she said was "That's me and I'm proud of it." So you're proud of being a creep? Wow.

The people there are just honestly plain sick and disturbed. They have no morals at all and don't know when enough is enough or where to draw the line of what is appropriate. If you dare speak your mind there and it doesn't conform with the majority opinion, prepare to get banned. They were even discussing why Kandee doesn't use birth control, as if that is anyone's business. They're plainly offensive idiots with nothing better to do with their time than go searching through people's private accounts and digging up information and rubbing their hands together with glee every time the next scoop comes along. It's hilarious, sad, and pathetic all at the same time.

I know years ago there was a petition to shut that site down but it never got enough signatures. I hope some day it really will get shut down because they deserve it. They contribute nothing positive to society other than exposing lies and scams. These are the exact type of people who should not be let loose near the Internet and a keyboard. It's sad that a website like that is allowed to exist. Hopefully one day that won't be the case anymore and these cackling witches will have to find somewhere else to spew their atrocious venom.

xbabyfacexo said...

http://xbabyfacexo.blogspot.ie/2015/11/hhgh-so-i-want-to-make-this-post-as.html?m=11 this is my experience with the site! I didn't know they allowed racist comments but not disability slurs! They are pigs x

Anonymous said...

Hi! I found this post after searching on google "who's behind gurugossiper".
I had the same experience with the site that some of you shared.
Late last year I created a profile because I wanted to comment on some things I really didn't like about some people on youtube, like for example how superficial and ignorant they are.

What I found on the GG forum though was different from what I expected: the majority of people there are tracing every step of their "favorite" youtuber, heavily trashing them for the smallest thing the youtuber might do, and so on and so forth.

I was accused first of being the youtuber themselves, then of being their management, then of being a minion... And the point is that I never defended any youtuber! I simply occasionally said stuff like "look guys, I think you're reading too much into this", or "while I agree that what the youtuber did is wrong, I don't like what you're saying either".

I had to cancel my account because it was getting too sick and not interesting anymore. Which is a pity, because there would be nothing wrong in commenting how certain moves of certain youtubers are pathetic and dishonest, but to go from there to saying these people should be incarcerated for "their terrible crimes", and to bash whoever tries to put some grain of salt into the discussion... It's just crazy.

allouette said...

While I'm not entirely onboard with you analysis I have to say the response was interesting. This article was really not that unfavorable at all but it really evoked some vitriol. Someone mentioned that men don't have a forum like this... Men have been conditioned, nay encouraged, to engage in direct confrontation. If men have a problem with a YTer they comment on the person's page. Women are taught to be nice and, failing that, to be passive aggressive -- hence GuruGossip's existence. Catty is a gendered insult against women to make them sound as of their criticisms aren't relevant. Men can be just as petty, it's just that they rarely need the support of an entire forum to feel justified.

Women also censor each other quite harshly if that line is crossed. Have you ever heard a man when commenting about his business say that
he wants it all to be about positivity? Short of a life coach or new aged evangelist, I doubt it. But women say it all the time, in all sorts of fields unrelated to self-help. They also tend to reinforce that idea with memes like "Women should support women!" So all dissension is relegated as being unfeminist in addition to "negativity."

Guru Gossip is a place that further reinforces the idea that women's criticisms about women are irrelevant. It's right there in the name: gossip. By lumping together all discussion as gossip they've fostered a nasty, anything goes atmosphere where reasonable criticism gets lost in the mire of tacky and superficial comments about how ugly someone's baby is.