The Queen of Clickbait
Photo from Trisha Paytas’ Youtube Channel
Youtube has been one of this era’s most influential and defining platforms. Youtube’s content creators — known as Youtubers — have played a significant role in the development of social media and pop culture. Today, you can find any type of video on Youtube, ranging from makeup tutorials to funny skits to educational videos. However, not all Youtube videos and Youtubers are honest with their marketing or video content.
One of these YouTubers is the busty, blonde and bubbly 31-year-old creator known as Trisha Paytas.
Throughout the years, Paytas has amassed a large following of nearly 5 million subscribers. The cheerful blonde’s content consists of outrageously, unfiltered videos that consistently acquire millions of views. Paytas’ videos are known to be wildly hilarious due to their unpredictable nature, but more often than not, her content is considered clickbait. In one of her most recent videos titled “I AM TRANSGENDER (FEMALE TO MALE),” Paytas came out as a transgender male. In the video, Paytas states how she has never felt “comfortable” in her own skin and, despite being born as a female, has always identified with the opposite sex due to her “dick-envy.”
The video quickly went viral — it has accumulated over 3 million views since it was posted — but fans and viewers everywhere were not happy. The LGBTQ+ community was quick to lash out at Paytas, stating how she was using gender identity as clickbait, a topic that should not be taken lightly. Paytas was accused of being a hypocrite because of her statements that she is uncomfortable “labeling” herself but, at the same time, considers herself a “gay man who likes men.” One fan commented on the video, “[y]ou’re not trans, you’re just insane,” while another commented, “I don’t think she understands the concept of transgender.” The video was met with such backlash that Paytas posted a 19-minute long apology video the next day. In the apology, Trisha states that she was “overwhelmed” by the backlash, and “in no way did I think I would get so much backlash and hate.”
Despite the very apparent and enormous wave of backlash that Paytas faced within moments of uploading her transgender video, there were also comments from fans defending Paytas’s feelings. One fan commented on the video that, because of Trisha’s video, “numerous people have been trying to mock and invalidate actual dysphoric transgender people because they think we are like her” and that “[we fans] are just looking out for her.”
Paytas was recently a guest in the H3H3 podcast to defend herself after the humongous backlash to her coming out video. In the podcast, host Ethan Klein grilled Paytas on the validity of her video and her claim to be a “gay transgender man.” Paytas dodged Klein’s questions with vague answers or, at times, responded with contradicting answers like, “I get it, I understand it, I don’t really get it, it’s not like whatever.” However, Klein had one question for Paytas that she could not dodge. After pressing Paytas again and again whether or not her coming out video was monetized, Klein finally had Paytas download an app that revealed she did in fact made revenue from her transgender reveal video. “She made $8,000 from that video?!” Klein exclaimed as he looked at the analytics of Paytas’ video. Paytas, clearly flustered, continually denied that the video was monetized saying, “The ads still go up there, so I don’t know what else to say.” After Klein clearly exposed that Paytas did not demonetize the video and made a whopping $8,000 from it, Paytas quickly responded with “Wait, you have to cut that.”
Paytas may receive a lot of backlash for her videos more often than not, but it’s no doubt that she is a successful Youtuber. According to the celebrity net worth website Comparalist, it is speculated that Paytas makes $700,000 a year from Youtube alone.
Although I disagree with the concept of clickbait as a means to gain views, I’ve come to the conclusion that clickbait is inevitable. Paytas is not the only Youtuber that has gotten rich from outrageously titled videos. Many other YouTubers, such as the infamous Jake Paul, employ the same tactic to gain views and grow their audience. Is it immoral? Or, in Paytas’s case, unethical? Very much so. However, all these Youtubers have one thing in common: when we, the audience, make them go viral, they’re raking in the bucks and cashing in fat checks.
Although Paytas’ feelings could very well be valid to herself and her potential desire to reach out and be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, her delivery showed that she did not quite understand all the facets of the LGBTQ+ community. I can see how Paytas’ actions stirred up feelings of disapproval, anger, and hate. Yet, all of this emotion and all of this backlash has only been sent by people who are protected by the anonymity of their screens and keyboards. Yes, people may be annoyed at the fact that they may have become victims to clickbaiting, but it’s also important to consider that, maybe, the person on the receiving end can feel the weight of the internet’s words. Paytas looked distraught and ultimately cried in her “apology” video, showing her concern and care about overstepping boundaries with her audience and the LGBTQ+ community.
However, as I watched Trisha’s sappy apology video, I couldn’t help but think, “Was this all planned?” Paytas released the apology only a day after she posted about the transgender video and I can’t help but feel that if Paytas had the ability to create and post a video about a topic as serious as that of coming out as transgender, how hard could it be for her to have created another video shortly after to do damage control? The timing seems uncanny. In fact, prior to her recent claim of being transgender, Trisha created clickbait videos such as “early pregnant acne” and “OFFICIAL WEDDING VIDEO” with misleading thumbnails that have led me to dub her as the “Queen of Clickbait.”
I could spend all day making assumptions about Paytas and the “genuineness” of her content, but I’d be wasting too much time. One thing I do know for a fact is this: Trisha Paytas is making money every time someone clicks, comments or shares her video. So, I offer an easy solution to angry viewers everywhere who get easily offended by such outrageous content, don’t watch her videos!
If you know a Youtuber, someone like Trisha Paytas perhaps, is known for posting lies and fake news on the internet, don’t focus on their content! At the end of the day, we as an audience have become overly sensitive to and easily agitated by the gross content posted on the internet. But, like my mom has always told me, “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump off too?” If your answer is, hopefully, “no,” then consider the next time you hover your mouse over another one of Paytas’ videos. Try asking yourself, “Is this bait really worth the click?”
Ariel Chen is a third-year Psychological Sciences and History Major, you can reach her at email@example.com