Thursday, 16 April 2009

YouTube, nationalism and the battle of the babes

From it's early days YouTube has been a hotbed of competing nationalisms. It's always people insulting or parodying other countries, how they talk, the beauty of their women or making videos promoting the virtues of their country. An interesting phenomenon on YouTube is the babe slideshow video. They're slightly different from the "sexy Arab/Persian girls dancing" home-made webcam videos of teenage girls dancing to either American hip-hop or their native country's pop music (which even have blogs devoted to capturing the most recent clips).

Usually a gallery with Ken Burns effect transitions and title slides of pictures of actresses, pop stars, ex-patriate babes from the diaspora, girls who've had their photos swiped from their MySpace and Bebo pages. Here's a typical slideshow of Iranian women which features in, yes, a playlist of slideshows about Iranian women. It's an interesting take on the "we're the strongest/have the biggest bombs/drive the fastest cars..." to spin it as "we've got the hottest babes!" Some of the videos even try to make Muslims turn away from Islam or promote an anti-war message.

There's probably an interesting dissertation to be written about all of these. It's an interesting, Web 2.0 complement to the "babe theory of revolution".

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