Influencers Uncensored: with Artie Carden
We have said goodbye to our popular Bloggers Uncensored series to make room for the new and improved Influencers Uncensored! You're probably wondering what the difference between the two is outside of changing the name slightly and how it's "new and improved". Well, in this new series we've expanded it beyond just the blogging community to involve all social media influencers and youtubers! We'll also be diving deeper into the life of an influencer, racism, mental health, feminism, LGBTQ+ and so much more! Have you ever wondered what your favourite influencers really think about the topics that matter? Well now you'll find out in this raw and uncensored interview series!
Excited? Good! Because it's time to introduce today's Influencer...
"I'm Artie, a queer nonbinary (they/them pronouns) disabled and chronically ill person. I write and create other content such as YouTube videos based around these topics and try to support others like me and help those who are not like me to understand living life as a disabled person part of the LGBT+ community."
Life as an Influencer...
What initially made you get into content creating?
I've always been a creative person, I've been in and out of a variety of clubs as I grew up from art, to performing, to singing, and writing. I've always enjoyed doing these things for fun and really the dream is being able to do what I love for a career. Since I graduated my BA in 2018, my health has changed a lot and the idea of working an office 9-5 or anything on my feet all day is now genuinely impossible, so now more than ever I want to make this work.
What is your experience of societies perception about pursuing writing as a career path?
I'm mostly met with good responses because I surround myself with mostly creative people, and everyone know I'm a realist when it comes to this. I know it's not easy, I know it's not likely, but it's something I care about and I feel I have a lot to say.
What are the pros and cons to being an Influencer in 2020?
I think now it's harder to be noticed as it can get lost in the algorithms. Rather than just enjoying making your content, you have to learn a lot of new things. SEO based stuff has always eluded me and I've only just started to understand how it works. I'm not a tech person and get quite overwhelmed with it all. I think the pros are just more opportunities are coming, especially for people in marginalised communities. Most of the time it's us making those opportunities ourselves but it is slowly seeping into mainstream too, which is good to see.
What difficulties have you faced during your time as a content creator?
I think I can get bogged down with numbers sometimes. I'll see people I know just start something up and get ten times the views I get on my YouTube channel or blog. I'm happy for them and their success but it does suck when you put in all this work and effort and not really reap the rewards equal to the effort. Also, I struggle with body image and putting myself on camera every week for YouTube or Instagram can be really difficult.
The Influencer community is huge, who are your favourites to follow right now?
I enjoy following a range of people but I've been delving more into the Body Positive movement and following a lot of disabled people. On Instagram: scarrednotscared, crutches_and_spice, curvynyome (who blew up recently and was in the news papers), bodyposipanda, there are many more.
Let's get deep...
Recently the Black Lives Matter movement got the world's attention. Racism is finally being talked about openly, and white privilege is being acknowledged. What is your opinion on the BLM movement?
Well this is quite an extensive issue so I'll try to summarize, but I stand with Black people on this issue. As someone who is oppressed for things I can't change about myself I have some understanding, but I know I have the privilege of being white and couldn't possibly fully comprehend what BIPOC go through. I actually wrote a very long collaborative post with 8 other people talking about the different ways we benefit from white privilege from tattoos to medical care. My friend Cyrene (diaryofacrohine_ on Instagram) has been making amazing weekly posts called Wake Up Wednesday and been answering loads of people's questions on the topic of racism so I recommend people check it out. I'm just trying my best to be an ally to the movement and Black people in general and hope we can make some lasting change.
Although the protests have mostly stopped for the time being, what can we do to make sure the movement and black lives continue to be supported?
Have they stopped though? I don't think they have stopped but we aren't seeing them anymore. I believe in America they have had protests every single day since George Floyd was murdered. If your timeline has gone 'back to normal' then you're not following the right people. But to answer your question, continued support of Black people is essential, replacing who you buy from is really important, so many people rely on big industries like Amazon to buy things and the Billionaires who own these companies could easily drop some cash and help everyone in need but they don't. Do you want to support that? There's a lot to think about past signing petitions.
What does the word "Feminist" mean to you?
Equity and equality for all.
In 2020, how important do you think the feminist movement is?
It's really important because it interlinks with other issues happening right now. Trans women being vilified is a feminist issue. Black and Indigenous women disappearing is a feminist issue. Sex trafficking is a feminist issue. Disability rights is a feminist issue. If your feminism isn't intersectional, then your feminism isn't equal.
There has always been such a stigma surrounding mental health, how do you feel mental illness is being portrayed in today's society?
It's really hard at the moment because people use mental illness as an excuse for bad actions or a reason to villinise you. One example is Marina (Diamandis) tweeted that you have to be mentally ill to want to be a cop, which is gross for a start. Mentally ill people are more likely to be victims of police violence or abuse in general rather than being a perpetrator of violent offences. Then there are people calling Donald Trump mentally ill for his actions and mocking him. Mental illness isn't an excuse for bigotry. I have a mental illness that lots of people stigmatise and there are a lot of harmful stereotypes surrounding it, I have Borderline Personality Disorder. Someone actually tweeted me to try to defend Marina's tweet by saying "cluster B personality disorders are dangerous and do bad things" without realising I am one of these people they made a very large assumption about. Turns out they wanted to help people with personality disorders but had this awful point of view on people who have them. This is what our mental health system is full of already, people who don't even try to actively understand the mental illnesses of people they are caring for and it leaks out into society.
What can we, the government and society do to progress mental health services and end the stigma surrounding it?
For a start, they need more funding and better training. We need to stop allowing these awful stories that are either entirely incorrect or just a one off from being published and put into uneducated hands.
As an Influencer you have to spend a lot of time on social media. Do you get affected by online trolling; whether it be directly or indirectly?
I'm lucky at the moment I don't really face trolling, but I do see so much ignorance on posts about issues relating to marginalised people.
Someone on TikTok called me a liberal lesbian and I get called a communist all the time like it's a bad thing...just because I speak out against oppression. People truly baffle me.
Do you think social networks are doing enough to combat online trolling? If not, what can they do?
No, they're doing more of the trolling themselves by constantly removing pictures and videos of marginalised people and bodies. Plus, reporting anything as hate speech just leads to them saying it's not against guidelines.
Misgendering someone is hate speech and transphobic but you can do as much of that as you like on Facebook.
How much acceptance do the LGBTQ+ community receive in your country?
In the U.K. it's a very surface level acceptance. I don't disclose I'm nonbinary or queer to doctors because it is a worry of mine that they won't treat me the same. Conversion therapy is still legal here. Transphobic hate is allowed and encouraged. Work spaces aren't safe for LGBT+ people a lot of the time either. We aren't as bad as other places, but it's not good here either.
Are we, as a society, making enough progress with LGBTQ+?
No, I think we have stunted growth after Marriage became legal between same gender couples. Not much else has happened since then.
In your opinion, why in 2020 do you think some people, cultures and countries still have a strong dislike or disdain towards the LGBTQ+ community?
White people colonising their countries is basically where it all stems from. Many other cultures in other countries had a great acceptance and love for LGBT+ people. Native American's actually really looked up to LGBT+ members, in India they were thought of as lucky, there was just more acceptance until white people colonised their lands and forced them to think of things the same way they did. None of these things are unrelated, we need to dismantle racism, to dismantle homophobia and transphobia, and to dismantle ableism... it goes on. They're all so deeply interlinked it's naive to think they are separate issues.
In your opinion, what is the biggest issue we as a world are facing?
See previous answer haha. It's all so deeply interlinked.
What does freedom mean to you?
Not feeling scared when I leave my home. Not feeling scared to put my life in someone else's hands. Not worrying about what the government or the world is gonna do next.
What else do you feel passionate about?
I'm deeply passionate about dismantling ableism. It's something often missed from many topics of conversation. People will talk about race, religion, sexuality, gender, class, but ableism and disability tend to slip a lot of people's minds.
Let's end this with some fun 'This or That' questions:
Tea or coffee?
Text or call?
Text, I hate phone calls.
Summer or winter?
Summer, I can feel my limbs.
Love or money?
Book or movie?
Hard to choose, I love both so much!
Sex or pizza?
If I could eat pizza with normal cheese on without getting seriously ill, then pizza anyday!
Meat or veggies?
I'm a pescatarian so, veg.
Tiktok or youtube?
Fame or quiet life?
I quite like the idea of fame because I have a lot to say and would like to have that kind of influence for change.
Night in or night out?
I mean, I miss night out but I'm too disabled to really to go out. Clubs aren't disability friendly. But I'd take a night at the pub right now.
. . .
There's a new Influencer every Monday and Sunday at 6pm GMT, see you there!
If you're a blogger, influencer, youtuber or content creator and would like to be interviewed for the Influencers Uncensored series then please email me at - email@example.com or DM me on Instagram.
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