Thursday, 11 December 2014

Girl Online: Zoella's Defence

I wanted to write this because I hate sitting here watching everyone attack someone and not being able to do anything. I feel like Zoe needs more people to defend her because writing abuse seems to be the current bandwagon that everyone wants to join.

If you haven't heard the story then I'm not sure where you've been! It's even made the BBC News which is truly ridiculous. Basically, Zoe aka Zoella released a book called Girl Online which she first announced in this video, in which she made it very clear that a) Penguin had approached her and asked if she wanted to write a book with them and b) she was going to have help with it but the ideas and characters were all her own.

Suddenly almost two weeks after it's release, there is now huge accusations that Girl Online was ghost-written. In the acknowledgements Zoe mentioned two people: Amy and Siobhan, who had been with her 'every step of the way'. This is the only thing I am slightly critical of, I think as Zoe was so open  about having help when it was announced, which is perfectly OK and not a rare thing in publishing, then she should credit these people who helped her in the authors name or make it clearer in the acknowledgements. However, some people have started to make her out to be someone who is fame and money hungry which is such a strong accusation to make about someone you probably only heard of about a week ago when this 'scandal' came to light.

Zoe is someone I have watched on YouTube right from the start, I always felt like I had some kind of connection with her and then when she started talking about her anxiety, which I have struggled with in the past, it just made me bond with her, or her channel I suppose, even more. Knowing how she feels, being a sufferer of anxiety, makes me so upset, I can just imagine how horrible this is added with her struggle with keeping a clear mind.

She, and her boyfriend, made the decision to take a few days away from the internet which I think is a good move as the 'haters' are the sort that will not actually listen to what she says with an open mind, they are just so pleased that they now have something to criticize about her. I honestly believe that is what this is all about. Over the last year Zoe has taken the first tenuous steps from YouTube into mainstream media but I think that has just been setting her up for a fall. She has been painted as this role model of perfection, so you can bet there have been thousands of people waiting to pounce as soon as she slips up.

My personal view of Girl Online is that it is a good thing, I personally am not running to Waterstones to buy it because I think it is aimed at people younger than me, but the book sold 78,000 copies in it's first week breaking all kinds of records, I think this is such a positive thing for literature. 78,000 young people, almost certainly a good percentage of those do not read regularly, are reading now! This should be what is focused on and not who wrote it and her reasons behind it. This is her first book ever so we can let her off for not doing it all herself when she has such a high demand and expectation to meet. Her publishers know it will sell whatever is in it, so they want to make it actually something good which they cannot guarantee for her first ever attempt.

My general message is to lay off her. Perhaps yes she should have been more transparent about the writer, but it's not as if she has thrown some money at someone and left them to get on with it, she has been a part of the story and is clearly very passionate about it. I hope I have come across as someone who isn't just another Zoella fangirl, I am looking at this from an unbiased perspective, just to see someone showered in hate just because people finally have a reason to is just upsetting and embarrassing. Think about what you are saying before you type it out and make sure you have taken into account the full story.

So what do you think? I would love a good discussion about this in the comments so be sure to tell me your take on the whole ghostwriter 'scandal'.

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