Stop letting influencers make money off of being bad people

Written By Chandni Shah, Co-Opinions Editor

This past Easter, I accompanied my significant other to his family’s house for dinner. And as any holiday dinner goes, along with the tasty food, there were many hot topics brought to the table. One of these conversations was about influencer Rachel Hollis and her recent discrepancy with her followers and other TikTok users. 

Hollis made her big debut in the influencer and blogger sphere with her 2018 self-help book, “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be.” In her book, Hollis recounts past lies she has told herself and how she was able to overcome these negative thoughts. As a working mother and a Christian, Hollis attempts to motivate her readers with bible quotes and relatable anecdotes. It was the second most popular book on Amazon in 2018. 

Hollis is currently receiving backlash because of two videos. The first was a livestream, where she was talking in-depth about there being a woman who comes and cleans her toilets twice a week. The problem here is obvious. The woman is not a “toilet-cleaner” or personal “toilet-scrubber”—she is a housecleaner. For Hollis to refer to her as someone who comes by and cleans her toilet is a blatant sign of disrespect as well as misuse of privilege. I am not the only one to point out this flaw; many have commented on her posts and even unfollowed her. 

The second video that Hollis posted was the “apology” video, and as many of you may know, these apologies are hardly ever just that. They mostly consist of the person in question, defending why they would do whatever controversial thing they said or did. The “apology video” is usually started by a formal apology and then a “but.” In this particular video, which was posted to her TikTok and Instagram, Hollis responds to comments calling her privileged and unrelatable. 

Rather than just simply apologizing to the people she offended and her housecleaner, Hollis took it a step further. She accepted her privilege but accounted it to her being a hard worker. Yes Rachel Hollis, we understand that you perceive yourself as a hard worker, but I know plenty of people who probably work harder than you and clean their own houses and toilets. You are privileged. There is no “but.” 

She then went on to say, “what is it about me that made you think I want to be relatable?” I don’t know, maybe because you’re a writer and motivational speaker. It gets worse. In the caption, Hollis compared herself to other women she deemed as unrelatable. These women included Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Marie Curie, Oprah Winfrey, Amelia Earhert and others. Two issues here: first, some of these women are people of color, and second, I don’t think any of them would boast about having someone else clean their toilets. 

As the media goes, some will “cancel” her, while there are others who will commend her. 

Here I am, giving Rachel Hollis more media time than she deserves. But there is a lesson to be learned from all of this. Be careful who you are investing in for help, advice or entertainment. Every video you watch, t-shirt you buy or book you read, in some way, financially aids these influencers. I am guilty of purchasing merchandise from influencers and privileged people in the media. All I ask is that you hold these people accountable for their privilege, and when they step out of line, don’t hesitate to hit the unfollow button or call them out. We cannot keep letting these influencers misuse their voice and then paying them for it.