in my video i talk about ashley aka bestdressed, fashion and sustainability, self image, and authenticity.
*update*
this is a really amazing video about manufactured authenticity:

let me know what y’all think 🙂

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36 COMMENTS

  1. timestamps!
    introduction 0:08
    sustainability and fashion 1:01
    self deprecation 3:26
    authenticity 4:33
    conclusion 6:33

  2. A thing that has particularly bothered me in the last year or so in her behaviour is her often inappropriately sexual humour. I've battled with my feelings about it because on the one hand I see the merit in destigmatising women's sexuality, however I often find her approach extremely over the top and outright inappropriate at times. In her "A Day In My Life In Quarantine" she includes in her thumbnail "I'm so lonely and h*rny ahh" which?? I don't know comes across affronting, especially for what is essentially an aesthetic lifestyle video. Now I'm not at all overly modest or sensitive to people being sexual, but to me it just seems bizarre to include something like that when her audience does skew towards a younger demographic of girls. As her channel has moved further away from fashion and towards lifestyle and vlogging more and more of this "too much information" about her sex life, kinks, and just sexual statements in general have crept in and honestly it just makes me uncomfortable to hear about.

    Like I get that she's trying to be relatable and obviously as humans we have those feelings, but when you subscribe to her channel for fashion and home decor inspo it can be so uncomfortable when suddenly you're hearing "jokes" or just tmi about her sex life completely unprompted. I dunno to me it just feel incredibly forced and tbh just unfunny, I just don't understand what kind of validation she's getting from saying such personal information to her predominantly young female audience as to me it feels performative.

    To me there definitely is a much better way of opening the discussion and destigmatising women's sexuality than Ashley attempts to do in her videos. Her videos where she discusses past relationships, sexual experiences and the like tend to be much better focused at doing this. Her weird jokes that she slips in during other videos just make me cringe. You can be sex positive and not lurid for the sake of attention!

    I've been subscribed to her since before she hit 100,000 subscribers and while I don't gel with portions of her personality I can tell she is an honest and earnest person who is just trying to succeed and do well for herself. The problem with this "I'm relatable" narrative is that the bigger and more successful you become, the more you lose that relatability with your audience. And that doesn't have to be a bad thing! I actually really appreciated her small deconstruction of her experience at NYFW (talking about not wanting to come across as elitist etc). The truth is for me, and I'm sure for a lot of her subscribers, we want to see her succeed. I want to her to take advantage of opportunities that come about from her channel, but as she does she needs to drop this "I'm just like you!" act because the truth is that she isn't. Not anymore. And I think a lot of the issues that people are finding with her in these videos stems from this. The vast majority of her following will never experience the lifestyle that she has, and her constant attempts at trying to still maintain this "girl next door" persona really starts to lose resonance the more successful she becomes. Which I want to reiterate, I'm completely supportive and proud of her for what she has achieved, but the longer she keeps up this act the more hypocritical and unreliable she becomes.

  3. I love that Asian Americans are coming out to address the problem with her falsifying her Asian American struggles to make a fake persona.

  4. This kinda makes me sad because Ashley was becoming one of my favourite youtubers, however you make really really fair points and so do all my fellow commenters. I still like Ashley and her channel but now that i'm aware of these issues, I can recognise them and kind of say this isn't quite right. Thanks for the video! 💜

  5. in the intro you mentioned that you like ashley's ability to casually talk about sex/relationships and i just wanted to make a point about that. while i do think it's refreshing for young women to be able to talk about issues surrounding sex and relationships in such an open way, free from judgment, i do also think the age of her audience means that she could be more careful with how she frames certain things. as someone the same age as ashley who seems to have a similar history in that area, i can personally recognise that not all of the casual choices i made were particularly healthy and they weren't all made while i was in a great mindset. ashley's behaviour appears to display a pattern of seeking validation from being with men, which i have also done (which is probably why i recognise it so easily), but i would be wary of promoting and possibly glamorising that if i had a young, impressionable audience like ashley does.
    it's a tough line to tread because it really requires a balance of three things:
    (i) allowing young women to be able to discuss sex/relationships openly
    (ii) not holding influencers ultimately responsible for educating their young audiences about healthy sex/relationships
    (iii) understanding that young people do listen to influencers, and therefore may follow their advice or examples in sex/relationships
    like ashley is still very young, but (as someone of a similar age and personal history) i do think she could be more careful in the way she portrays and possibly glamorises certain behaviours

    **sorry i've rambled on for so long, it's just a point i haven't seen raised in many discussions about ashley
    ***also this is the first video of yours i've seen and i'm not sure of your usual content, so i tried to make sure my comment was as non-explicit as possible!! apologies if this topic is completely irrelevant to the topics you're comfortable with or want to discuss here <3

  6. Thanks for this insightful review of several points that are currently being discussed about Ashley. I’ve followed her through the last 2 years and found her thrift videos so helpful, so it comes as disappointing how her channel quickly turned away from this. I follow other YouTubers as well, people who started small and have made it big by now and they are very humble still, always thanking their followers and engaging with them. With Ashley, the point that is most disappointing to me personally is how instead of hosting giveaways or gifting unused PR she’s selling on depop really expensive. This gives me an impression of her not being humble, not caring for her followers and focusing on profits instead of give back to her own community. I get that she’s not obliged to do that but… Still have hopes that she could address her critics and see where all the videos are coming from. Thanks again for your very respectful and informative video.

  7. I believe someone else has commented this already but a thing that doesn’t sit right with me is the fact that Ashley kinda paints herself as a femninist when she is constantly making jokes about how housewives have no purpose and live a really easy life. I personally don’t have a mom who is a housewife but I still think that housewives don’t deserve to be looked at as “less than”. Feminism is about empowering women and enabling women to choose their own careers and futures so if being a housewife makes you happy then that’s great!

    I also wanted to talk about her slight superiority complex regarding college. She (rightfully) prides herself in the fact that she juggled going to college full time and doing Youtube but everytime she talks about it she makes a comment about how she isn’t like other youtubers who dropped out of college to pursue YT. Even though I find her going to college impressive, it doesn’t sit right with me how she talks about other youtubers.

    Btw if my English is bad, i’m sorry it’s not my first language😬

  8. I don’t want to come off as hateful because I don’t hate Ashley I hate her fake “wokeness” over feminism one moment bashing housewife’s and then bragging about her work ethic. Being a feminist doesn’t mean bringing down other women who don’t fit your ideal of a feminist. And that’s only one example. She doesn’t sound like she really knows what she’s saying too but uses so many smart words when she’s giving her “feminist ideas” that you almost get fooled. Not not mention she uses the feminist title too much for even just something that is a HUMAN opinion.

  9. I made a more serious comment on a reply to someone's comment but I just have to say you sound so much like Dakota Johnson I cannot unhear it now lol

  10. hi! I usually never leave comments on videos but yours was so well made and i really liked the way you expressed yourself, I had to sub :). I agree with your points; I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Ashley to be sustainable in her fashion choices 100% or even 90% of the time. however, it’s one thing to purchase fast fashion items once in a while (whether knowingly or unknowingly), but it rubs me the wrong way that she promoted sites like Amazon. the worst of it imo is that along with this, the nastygal sponsorship, and reselling of PR, it has been brought to her attention but she hasn’t addressed it. I would love to hear her point of why she chooses to do these things that we would think she’s so against, but the way she ignores it makes it more of a “hmm….” for me. I like her personality and think she’s incredibly talented, but hopefully these issues don’t get in the way of the authenticity that so many of us watch her for.

  11. For authenticity… I don't think even Ashley knows what her true authentic self is (outside of school, a boyfriend, and youtube). I hope she takes a social media break and works on her mental health because she does not seem to be in a mentally stable enough place to address all the criticism right now.

  12. I like that you pointed out her self deprecation. It's almost toxic and she has so many young viewers. It's unhealthy

  13. oo i liked your video a lot! i have two main gripes with ashley:
    1. ashley assigns a false narrative to her entire life: the reason that people are able to sniff our her lies so easily is because her entire narrative is a lie. influencers are popular because they sell their authentic narratives, not the idea of who they are.
    2. ashley is guilty of monetising her suffering, which is part of why she's become a meme and persona of herself.
    i made a video going more in depth about this on my channel if anyone would like to watch!

  14. OK I have zero skin in this game, but I want to say you are so so articulate! The research you back up with is great. I have to check out that paper on authenticity

  15. Your voice somehow is really calming and I like the way that you stay calm and nice, instead of throwing around slurs 😂 I also really like Ashley's Videos and was a fan of her for a long time before I realised that she has done and still does some problematic things. It was interesting to hear your opinion about the topic. Thank you for the video!❤

    Edit: I clicked on your chanel to watch more videos and realised that I have already seen a video of yours. I really enjoyed it so I'm definitely subscribing❤

  16. Hey great video! I was hoping to see your take on how she just told her viewers her parents were “first generation immigrants” when answering a question about if her family was rich. From your appearance, I’m guessing maybe you’re a 1, 1.5, 2, or 3rd gen immigrant too like myself. My issue with her saying that was because it both implied that her parents went through the English-learning and minimum wage job work struggle that our Asian ancestors went through, and it implies all immigrants are poor. However people have dug up that her dad is an immigrant from Britain, and both her parents are professors (her dad is apparently a Dean at a university which is a VERY high paying position). That didn’t sit right with me. I wonder if she said it to appear “relatable” to her viewers since that’s part of her brand image, but it still bugged me. I am/was a big Ashley fan myself. If you see this let me know what you think!

  17. one thing that bothers me is when she talks about Asian representation. she strikes me as a very white washed Asian who only talks about being half Asian for the sake of it. As an Asian-American, when she talks about her parents being immigrants as though being a minority automatically means that you're poor i feel insulted if that makes sense? like she doesn't really care about Asian representation (or the representation of other minorities i.e. Latinx or African-Americans.) and of course she is a fashion channel so her main focus will be on fashion. but in her video on her best mess channel she said that she didn't grow up in a time with Crazy Rich Asians and i'm like sis no one did LOL that movie came out recently so unless you're a toddler then of course seeing a movie like that is new. especially since in her older videos she would talk about looking ethnically ambiguous as if it's a trendy aesthetic. my point is that she tends to insert being half-Asian to remind her audience that she's "struggled" and, again, as an Asian that bothers me. please feel free to disagree, i thought your video was really well made.

  18. You know, I actually take no issue with her working with brands like urban outfitters, nasty gal, etc (Amazon on the other hand, not so much). I never labeled her as the "Queen of Sustainability" in my mind, neither has she labeled herself as this. I understand people thought of her this way because a lot of people drew to her due to her claims of being passionate about being sustainable and it makes sense why these same people take issue. It's pretty much impossible to be 100% sustainable while being a fashion youtuber actively trying to grow her brand and obtain new opportunities in the fashion industry. It's hard to 100% match your actions to your morals in a world that constantly needs for you to contradict yourself in order to follow your dreams because of the system that has already been put in place long before we were even born. So, I don't have a problem and do not think that it is fair for her to limit where she can go in order to please us when it is her life not ours. However, even though she truly does not owe us an explanation, it would be thoughtful of her to address this and reiterate where she stands and remarket herself so that majority of her viewers aren't watching with the false assumption that she is trying to be the "Sustainability Queen". I think her actions are fine as long as there is transparency with her intentions because there are so many youtubers who manipulate and lie to their audience and nobody wants Ashley to be apart of that.
    Now with the things that she says, she has been making more and more comments in each video that just completely rubs me the wrong way. Even this past video just talking about tv shows, I couldn't believe that the sentence, "I would literally kill a small child for Phoebe Waller-Bridge" came out of her mouth and none of her viewers took issue with this. I think a lot of sayings like this just fly over her viewers head and her audience just does not seem to be aware of her problematic language. I won't touch on her contradictions with feminism, capitalism, talking down upon other beauty gurus, and talking down upon housewives because many people have already done a good job addressing this but I am truly disappointed with the things she has said and does not hold herself accountable for anything. All she does is delete comments and ignore anybody addressing it. She's so well loved that all of the comments calling her out have all been respectful and polite so for her to ignore and delete comments is shady and it is breaks that image of being authentic.
    In conclusion, I just think that she should take the initiative to address how she feels about sustainability while trying to have a career in fashion, address her controversial statements, and rebrand her image honestly. If she's not talking down upon herself then she's either making jokes about sex, capitalism, housewives, and whatever else she constantly talks about in her videos that's supposed to be "dry humor" . Thank you to anyone who actually read this lol.

  19. This is a really nice video and I agree that obviously no one is perfect and we shouldn't have too high standards for Ashley. It just bothers me a bit when she had ten thousand affiliate links in her instagram story for high end fast fashion brands, when she's trying to portray herself as super relatable with her tips for thrifting and affordability.

  20. like no one excepts her to be perfect, it's hard to avoid fast fashion completely and we understand brand deals is a way she pays the bills. it would just be nice if she would acknowledge this instead of deleting all evidence that it happened, and deleting comments that bring it up.

  21. I agree with you 100%. I genuinely enjoy a lot of her content, but some things she says just don’t sit right… like the constant bashing of housewives… in her last video, she talked about “oh I’m so overworked, sometimes I wish I was just a housewife but I’d go insane without having a purpose in life”. Like, being an influencer is not a super meaningful, important job either?

  22. i love this video, the points you made were very good! 😀 personally i do enjoy ashley’s content and i think that even if she isn’t as authentic as she seems we shouldn’t see her less good for it, youtube is a platform for entertainment and part of entertainment is keeping someone interested and entertained (i know lol i’m so smart) so of course sometimes creators have to choose to set aside the authentic side of themselves for a more entertaining side and honestly i don’t see a problem with that, unless it’s bringing mental problems to the creator. also i’ve noticed that you’ve started a couple of your videos with names, i wonder what that is for lol but i like it 🙂

  23. 1. thank you for your nuanced video!! your arguments are fair and clear and you seem like a very sweet person! i'm checking your other videos after 🙂

     2. i think the problem with sustainability is that Amazon is the epitome of unethical and non-sustainable practices. WHAT IT MEANS IN TERMS OF ETHICS: as you said, she can talk the talk, but when it comes to walk… for me this shows her omnipresent hypocrisy: she talks against capitalism but then sells free PR. she talks favourably of sustainability, but partners and promotes amazon. she talks favourably of feminism but then talks down housewives (she implied in her last video that housewives lack real purpose)

    3. IS IT FAIR? i suggest anyone to take a look at the estimation of the money she wins (https://socialblade.com/youtube/c/bestdressed/monthly). considering she is likely fairly well off (thanks to youtube + instagram + sponsorships on both platforms), i think it's quite fair. i think influencers have a responsibility. i suggest everyone to also listen to Tiffany Ferg's video " Are You A Good Influence? (Fast Fashion VS Sustainable Clothing)" which, very ironically, has Ashley in the thumbnail and features under the video many comments preaching Ashley 'sustainability'. people look up to her, so IMO it's fair to expect that of her. additionally, her thrifting or reformation inspired videos gained a lot of traction.

    4. thank you for talking about Amy Lee!!! I love her content so much and I think that she is a good example of what Ashley often tries but sadly fails to do (IMO of course): talking about sex in a safe and really mature way, destigmatizing sex, mental health and still achieving to be relatable. giving good advice and always modest, mature. 🙂

    5. you are asking very interesting questions about authenticity! i don't have an answer either. i don't think scripting videos is bad at all (i must say her video in the car creeped me out), although ultimately, youtubers are painting an 'accessible,' relatable version of themselves to appeal to viewers in order to make money. articulated this way, i have to admit i find it quite disingenuous (what troubles me the most is the desire to always making more and more and more money…)

    PS: What you didn't address really, really upsets me the most is Ashley's censorship. For me it's scary in any situation, because it really contributes to painting a perfect profile of someone, a single and unique point of view. She deletes comments on both youtube and instagram, she deleted her Amazon video without addressing anything, deleted the Depop account where she sold PR… There was even a moment where the first problematic video was unsearchable which was REALLY SHADY. (But this one is only speculation lol.) Thanks again for your video anyways :).

  24. Woww, such thought-provoking topics 😃 you seemed especially happy in this video, which made it even more engaging to watch! A suggestion for another video, I'd like to hear more about your opinion on authenticity and what that means in terms of how a person identifies, particularly race! Amazing job!! 😀😀😀

  25. i agree that people shouldn’t automatically label her as a perfect person and then be upset when she makes mistakes, however her subscribers can’t deny that she’s a little shady. many have said that she sells her free PR items on her depop for almost (and even more than) 3 times the original price, along with other items that she raises the cost on. it’s a bit confusing since she always jokes about capitalism yet is making almost an unethical? profit off of free things, or even items that were originally priced really cheap, as she thrifted them. she instead sells them at unreasonable prices, when she could just simply donate a majority of the items. she has also defended her choice to eat meat bc she said that veganism is oppressive to women, which doesn’t really make sense. ashley has stolen ideas from karenbritchicks’s ig tv video on what people in new york are wearing, and then was passive aggressive in her response (she didn’t give credit until after she was caught). not to mention the fact that the way she portrays her “upbringings” is pretty sketchy. from her videos, she has always portrayed herself to be the typical “broke college student” and even slightly bragged about how she had to work 4-5 jobs in high school in order to pay for things. now i’m not saying that it’s totally false that maybe her parents didn’t want to pay for her college funds and she had to pay for it herself, however she makes it seem as though she grew up dirt poor (not sure about the specific videos but i’m sure someone will comment about this as well). ashley grew up in one of the wealthiest suburbs in maryland and in the entire country, with both of her parents earning a PhD and earning more than the average american. she claims she has struggled for money, and when asked about it, she used the excuse that her father was an immigrant? which is a totally unfair argument to make, as he is and has been the DEAN of a university and makes well over $200k+ a year.
    i like ashley’s videos as well. i think she’s creative and talented, however i just wish she would bring attention to these things and address them instead of sweeping everything under the rug (she has deleted ALL of the comments on instagram where her fans have only politely asked if she will address these problems or not, and have even blocked some).

  26. I just discovered the videos calling her problematic. As I watch these videos I think you've all made fair points. I would love for her to address some of these issues, especially considering all of the critiques I've seen have been valid and respectful. But it seems like she's been going through and blocking a bunch of people/deleting comments so idk :/

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