YouTube Stars Changing International Perceptions Of Peace


YouTube has taken the world by storm since its creation in 2006. Users upload videos to the site, which can be viewed by millions worldwide. While many of the videos are meant to entertain audiences with comedy, other have an inspirational and serious message to convey.  An example of these inspirational videos comes from Indian actor Varun Pruthi. His channel has surpassed two hundred and fifty thousand subscribers and is rapidly growing. Many of his videos have gone viral and has garnered attention in India and internationally as well.

The most popular videos on Pruthi’s channels are social experiments that often try to highlight a particular positive message. A few of these social experiments underline the prevalent issue in India about harassment. One video shows a woman walking for ten hours on a crowded public street first wearing jeans and a t-shirt, then a traditional Indian outfit. While wearing western clothes, she received hundreds of stares and comments by almost all of the men present. Most people would believe that wearing a traditional, conservative outfit would reduce the amount of attention by men, however that was not the case in this experiment. It seemed that the woman wearing the Indian outfit received more comments than when she wore jeans. Pruthi’s message regarding the video is quite simple: it is not the clothing that women should change, but the mindset of men. The experiment only emphasizes the truth that men will continue to harass women, regardless of clothing, because they see them as objects rather than as human beings. In another video, a similar experimented was conducted, where two women, both actors sitting in a public square, were harassed by a male actor. The point of the experiment was to see whether anyone would intervene to help the women being harassed. Within the first few minutes, the two women are followed and harassed by the actor and not a single person offers to help. Some of the men sitting by even go so far as to laugh or smile. It is only at the end of the video that one man actually pulls the actor away from the girls to confront him. This behavior by men in India as demonstrated by these videos is appalling. The bottom line being revealed is that women are not respected.

In another experiment, Pruthi covers himself in fake blood on a busy street to see if people will help him. Throughout the entire video, Pruthi yells for help, clutching his fake wounds. Dozens of cars pass and Pruthi tries to get their attention, however the drivers pass him without a glance. Passersby line up along the street to witness the commotion, but no one offers a hand to the injured actor. Finally Pruthi pretends to fall to the ground and is assumed dead. After a few seconds, Pruthi gets up and is utterly speechless. No one had the decency to stop and take him to the hospital or even to call the police for help. Most passed by or stood to watch. The results of the experiment were heartbreaking. Pruthi concluded the video by saying that every person is equally responsible for a victim’s death when we do not help or intervene. Varun Pruthi’s social experiments are meant to raise awareness about issues that exist, not only in India, but all over the world. His videos are there to teach us important lessons, about what it truly means to be human.

Other YouTubers are also bringing awareness to important issues with their videos. One example is an American-Muslim Youtuber named Adam Saleh. His channel has over eight hundred and eighty thousand subscribers and he is undoubtedly one of the most popular Muslim-American YouTubers today. The young star intends to shed a positive light on Islam and Muslims worldwide. Through his videos and social media, he hopes that Muslims will be perceived as peaceful people, instead of the stereotypical “terrorist” label most people associate them with. He is a role model to many young Muslims around the world. Saleh isn’t afraid to share his personal experiences from his early life, including how he dealt with racism and discrimination during the September Eleventh attacks. In one of his videos, Saleh and a couple of other Muslim Youtbers pray on the streets of New York. Another YouTuber acted as the instigator, trying to belittle the Muslim for praying. Not a single bystander agreed with the harasser, instead encouraging Saleh and his friends to continue praying. The video shows two perspectives: many Muslims, in addition to being deeply religious, are peaceful people. The other perspective demonstrates that Americans are quite tolerant of other faiths. This particular experiment proves that it is possible for religion to co-exist in a modern society.

In this new age of technology, social media is the fastest and easiest way to communicate and spread awareness over particular issues. Whether a message is spread through Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, the impact can be felt worldwide. YouTubers like Varun Pruthi and Adam Saleh deserve to be stars. Their videos are not just heart warming, they send a vital message that we all should hear. Both are motivated to change the perceptions of certain groups of people and stereotypes. We should all take notice of what these messages dictate, because they all impact us, no matter what part of the world we live in.