What YouTuber Dream's face reveal tells the internet about online privacy and beauty expectations
Popular Minecraft YouTuber Dream, who rose to stardom creating speed run content and challenge videos with his friends in 2020, reappeared in the public eye a number of months ago with an elaborate publicity campaign in order to reveal a significant part of himself to the public: His face.
In October, a video called “Hi, I’m Dream” was uploaded to his main Youtube channel, followed by a vlog his friend and co-worker Georgenotfound created called “I Met Dream In Real Life.” Curating a significant amount of attention back to the popular creators, with both videos combined gaining roughly 39 million views, with Dream’s video holding number two on the Youtube Trending board as of 6/10/2022. His publicity stunt involved many of his YouTube friends, taking a video of themselves calling Dream, reacting to his face, with the phone turned away from the camera, which was then posted to Twitter and YouTube.
This however, is not the first time Dream had lead his fans into believing he was leaking his face. He first hinted at a possible reveal at the end of 2020, in his friend, Mr Beast’s video “YouTube Rewind 2020, Thank God It’s over.” Where he had posted photos of himself with his iconic doodle smile in-front of his face, with fans only to be met with a hyper-realistic mask of his smile icon underneath, created by artist Undauntedhaunted. “My goal was to just start doing things.” Dream states in his video, “Get out, meet creators…be an actual creator, be a person.”
As an older fan of Dream and his co-workers, seeing the resurgence of older fans talking about the latest news regarding the “Dream Team” brings back an old sense of nostalgia, and interest in his content once again. At this point, all I can see on my own social media feed are updates from fellow fans about the creator’s latest found freedom in what he posts, most significantly, his lifestyle and new found freedom in his home, in Florida.
However, while I have been interested in the positive reactions to Dream’s face reveal and the different kinds of content he and his friends have been publishing over the past couple of months, what is more intriguing, are the hate responses and distasteful response that has been birthed from the release of Dream’s face reveal and the factors behind that response.
Beauty expectations of internet creators and influencers
In 2019, Insider documented a survey of 3,000 kids over three countries, China, US, and UK, on what children wanted to be when they grew up. Over 30% of children in the UK wanted to be Vloggers/Youtubers, which was followed by 29% of US children wanting the same career. With the strong desire to be popular on social media becoming a more viable and accessible career for younger generations, it’s no surprise that popular culture’s beauty standards and expectations would soon follow.
The Twitter hashtag #PutTheMaskBackOn soon became trending after his face reveal went public. If you take a look through some of Dream’s friends Instagrams, fan edits, or twitter hashtags, you are bound to find fans calling any one of them attractive, using social media to emulate a para-social attraction to social media stars. When Dream did not meet his fans or social media users expectations of beauty, was when hate began to appear online. This factor, along with the anonymity social media provides, slowly creates a tidal wave of similar content and hatred directed at a singular person, purely based on appearance.
The lack of content creator privacy
One crucial component of Dream’s face reveal video was him stating that “I’ve been bunkered up…the people trying to leak my face, trying to find out what I look like.” He states “There’s too many…just a tiny, tiny bit too much.” Doxxing, and leaking of private information is nothing new in online spaces, however creators who purposefully choose to hide their identity provide a new challenge for fans and haters alike.
For example, when Dream would find himself amidst an online controversy, users would try and leak private information, such as his home address, families faces and contact details, and naturally, his own identity.
Many of Dream’s co-workers, such as Ranboo and Corpse Husband, who have also decided to remain faceless on the internet, could possibly take this backlash, and marketing success, as a sign to reveal themselves or hide further within their masked identity. As the sub-genre of “Faceless You-tubers” somewhat relies on the eventual face reveal once the creator is popular enough.
With Dream’s identity being a component of himself that has been stressed by his friends as something “they hadn’t even seen” adds further interest. Due to the fairly new position in career, and tendency to be a freelance paying job, content creation and privacy is a component of creator’s life that is entirely up to them. However, with this career growing in popularity and notoriety, many creators now have a payed team or PR manager behind them to control these types of leaks and scandals from tarnishing a creator’s reputation.
Dream’s face reveal has reiterated the impact of Influencer’s control of media and popular culture, being a component of the new age of technology and careers. This investigation leads me to believe that this experience for some would shape or diminish a creator’s identity and self-esteem, and provides a learning lesson for future creators, and exactly how much they should share of themselves on the internet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, SCARLETT:
I have just complet Year 12 and love studying all things cultural and sociological. What drove me to become a part of the Safe on Social team was contributing to fostering a more equal and safe online world and the opportunity to educate Australians to promote a healthy relationship with the internet. My skills regarding managing cyber/creative burnout and acknowledging and responding to online criticism and hate will positively impact readers and the community.