For a while now, I’ve been interested in writing about YouTube personalities that may have an impact on LGBT youth of color. The gravity of these personalities varies, ranging from high impact to very minimal impact; however, the impact is certainly there. Last post I discussed my views on BrotherHoodTV, inquiring about their whereabouts since they haven’t produced any more videos since 2012.
Well, it seems there’s another YouTuber who hasn’t posted in a while**, although you may find more of his recent work posted under his Twitter and Instagram accounts. This character is interesting because his intentions of showcasing exercises which focus on sculpting a person’s posterior, and I must add, quite an impressive posterior he has himself, his hard work is overshadowed by his need to be masked while doing these exercises.
Now, you wouldn’t think that showcasing exercises to build strong, meaty, perky glutes would be a big deal. I mean, you have a lot of celebrities and fitness gurus jumping on the booty workout train, male or female. So, when it comes to this particular young, black, and fit YouTuber, why does he hide behind a mask? Is it because he is a male who likes doing exercises to make his butt high and tight? He goes by the name Calem West, and I feel that maybe his mask and male machismo go hand in hand.
Calem West started showing up around various websites sometime last year. Honestly, I caught wind of Mr. West through sites that usually promote more sexually explicit content, such as MyVidster or the freakier side of Tumblr. So, for those reasons, I can understand wanting to hide behind a mask; however, his content from what I can tell, originates from YouTube, where his first vids show him masked.
So from what I gather, he went into this situation with enough uneasiness, perhaps, not to be open. Whatever his reason for being masked is his reason, and his reason only. The focus is on the fact that he may feel he needs to wear one to protect his masculinity.
It makes me wonder how firm a grip masculinity holds on us as men when we can’t even be proud to work out every part of our body without feeling a certain kind of way as to how we are perceived. If Calem were to have a YouTube channel that only focused on building strong arms, a firm chest, and a tight core, would he still be masked?
Could it be that it is too emasculating for a male to enjoy building a perfect butt? This is just my opinion, but maybe producing videos about his butt workouts is not manly enough, which warrants him a mask, and honestly, the mask is not even that great. It was pointed out to me that Calem’s particular type of mask is often worn by NBA players as a form of protection, but does Calem need that much face protection if he’s only doing squats? He’s protecting more than his face, it seems.
To wrap this thing up, I feel that Calem West is doing great work; you can see that in the comments viewers leave. Yes, he has his lecherous, thirsty followers that idolize his ass, but for the most part, men and women respect the dude for illustrating great exercises.
I can’t speak for Mr. West and his comfort level, but at the end of the day, if this is what it takes for him to help others, more power to him. Unfortunately, I feel that the way we view masculinity in today’s society has possibly affected Calem’s ability to be more open in helping people without the need to be masked.
There’s no need to mask what you may feel isn’t masculine, if that’s how you feel. You’re doing a great job, dude. A lot people look up to you, Calem. Again, these are just my thoughts and opinions.
**Update: As of now, Calem no longer has a YouTube Channel or Twitter Account. This was confirmed some months after this was posted, but recently checked as of 01/18/15***
**At the time I wrote this piece, Calem hadn’t uploaded a vid in 3 months. After checking his page, it shows that he has uploaded a new vid as of 6/25/14**