If you’re in the beauty community or YouTube scene, at some point you must have heard a sliver of the ongoing meltdown involing Tati Westbrook, Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star, and James Charles, colloquially known as Dramageddon. Because of the fact that there has been more than one instance of Dramageddon, I’ve added the year to clarify which instance I’m referring to.
But I’m not here to discuss what’s already been mentioned many times over by countless people in and out of the beauty community. I’m here to point out an ugly truth about the whole situation that does not seem to be brought up in the flow of commentaries: the fact that the beauty community isn’t so much a niche as it is perceived to be – it’s really just another branch in the Drama Tree.
When I used to go on YouTube or subreddits dedicated to beauty communities, it used to be that I would come across thumbnails of new releases. Of course, there were the occasional drama channels that were dedicated to the drama that swirled in the beauty scene, but they were niche in nature compared to now – it was something that you had to actively look for (and engage in to be continuously in the know). But slowly, videos became less about the product and more about the gossip – who shaded who, who got receipts on who, etc. After all, it’s hard to do an anti-haul video on something that’s proven to be addicting to the human curiosity and the slow burn of better-them-than-me (or holier-than-thou).
Which brings us to Dramageddon 2020 – sure, the parties involved have their own share of problematic histories, but what made this time different? What made the drama so palatable to people outside the beauty community that others were willing to jump in and throw their commentary on the bare bones of what is consistently known on the people involved? Is drama proving to be more bankable than selling an actual item? Is it a type of bile fascination at watching people tear each other apart to save themselves from the fire pit? Is it because the drama offers some sort of reprieve from the constant of current events involving the coronavirus, social injustices, rising unemployment, the abrupt decrease in buying power for most of the populace…
Even as I type this, the pitchforks and torches are prepped and readied for Shane Dawson (primarily because of the fact that the Smith family has put a public spotlight on him), Jeffree Star (he’ll most likely be shunned into a niche area until things have cooled down for him to pop right back in), and Tati Westbrook (same as Jeffree). I don’t care much for them and their shenanigans, but the lack of accountability for their actions is what’s got me watching this whole thing with a tub of popcorn, binoculars, and a beach chair from a safe distance.
Whatever the case is, drama has proven to be the new money maker when it comes to online commerce. It wouldn’t surprise me when the focus in the beauty community is no longer on physical materials (which, in a way is a good swing towards decreasing consumption), but primarily on how deeply and quickly a person can be (arguably justifiably) trashed for.