In Defense of Caroline Calloway: Why We Need to Respect Female Creators

As someone who spends a good portion of her day scrolling through Instagram and other platforms, I’ve noticed that people love to hate influencers. Caroline Calloway, an Instagramer who found her niche by writing long, story-like captions about her experiences at Cambridge using the hashtag #adventuregrams, is a perfect example of a female content creator that the public loves to hate. I personally started following her back in 2015 because I didn’t follow anyone else that created content or drew you into her story and life like she did. She was a sense of adventure and something exciting back in the day when the only people you followed on Instagram were the people you knew in real life.

Calloway changed her brand to an Instagram stories account in which she would exclusively post on her story rather than making a separate post and write a caption for a picture like she once had in the past. Then in January 2019, she announced that she was going on a creativity workshop tour across North America where she would talk about building her brand, among a variety of other topics that would relate to her experiences. Tickets sold for $165. After the first weekend of her tour in New York City (where Calloway is based out of) and Washington D.C., a Twitter thread exposing Calloway as a scam and claiming the workshops were a cash-grab went viral and brought Calloway to national media attention. In response, Calloway canceled the tour and refunded everyone who bought tickets.

In September, Calloway went viral again after her ex-friend, Natalie Beach, wrote an article for The Cut in which she detailed her failed friendship with Calloway. Beach said she was also a ghostwriter for Calloway’s Instagram captions and memoir that ended up falling through before moving to publication. Just like they had in January, the Internet came after Calloway in a very aggressive manner.

I was one of Calloway’s followers when she started creating content on her story exclusively. I was one of her followers that bought tickets to her workshop in Chicago and was refunded when she was bullied by the Internet to cancel. I was one of her followers when Natalie Beach’s article was published, turning Calloway into a clickbait name for a second time this year. I am one of Caroline Calloway’s followers because she makes unique content that is enjoyable.

It has been so easy for the Internet to hate Calloway because it’s easy to devalue content created by a female influencer. Why is it that we cannot appreciate the hard work that goes into being a female media creator? I think it’s time we start respecting female creators for putting their lives out there for their audience’s consumption and viewing pleasure. 

As a normal, everyday media user, it’s easy to take a step back and give yourself time away from Instagram, but as an influencer, you always have to be online and present. In Calloway’s case, she’s very candid with her life as she shares the highs and lows of her personal life. Hours before giving an interview on her side of Natalie Beach's story, Calloway detailed her father's death in realtime. Along every step afterwards, she provided updates on her mental health and showed the complexity of her grieving process. Why is this content called a “scam” when she is being as real as an influencer can be?

I may be biased as I have spent almost my entire time on Instagram as one of Calloway’s followers. I have seen her progression from high-edited Instagram captions that told the story Calloway wanted to tell to now, where Calloway posts whatever’s on her mind with spelling errors and all. Personally, I love her content more now and feel more connected to her as a person, rather than an influencer.

Female influencers are degraded and bullied online because their work is not seen as deserving of respect. It's time we change that attitude and give the respect to creators that they deserve.

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