An old concern has a new, unlikely champion—and it’s rocketing her from YouTube stardom to mainstream fame.
Inveighing against the mischief of youth is a time-tested technique for bolstering one’s notoriety, and Jenna Mourey, better known on YouTube as Jenna Marbles, is working the circuit with her anti-grinding campaign.
Grinding is the dance move where a man presses the front of his body against a woman’s backside. And people have been complaining about it for decades. But Marbles’ presence on both computer and TV screens is giving the cause—and her schtick—new currency.
Her press hits this week included a New York Times mention and an appearance on Good Morning America. (We could be grateful, I suppose that the morning news wasn’t associating online-video sites with cyberbullying or some wacky new Internet craze.)
Tubefilter, a news site devoted to YouTube, has even proclaimed this week “Jenna Marbles Week.”
The “No Grinding” or “No Freak Dancing” movement was started by concerned parents appalled by their children’s dancing antics at school functions, and bolstered by ladies who find this type of club dancing “horribly embarassing.” NYT dubbed Marbles the “leader of this anti-grinder movement.”
The Good Morning America segment also aired Marbles’ video “How To Avoid Talking To People You Don't Want To Talk To,” where Marbles labels grinding “dance rape.”
A favorite of YouTubers, Marbles also has a large fan base on social news site Reddit, where she conducted an interview last month.
By the numbers, she’s certainly doing well on her home base: According to Tubefilter, “Marbles gained more subscribers this past month than any other YouTube channel.” And her videos have been viewed more than 107 million times.
Yet YouTube hasn’t latched on to the “No Grinding” movement, despite its leader coming from the video community's ranks.
Take, for example, adamXantium’s rambling, arguably comedic response video. adamXantium pointed out this “new forbidden move” is “far from new, way off,” adding “grinding has been everywhere since longer than most of us have been alive”.
Indeed, the New York Times wrote about the anti-grinding movement in 2006. And when Jezebel wrote about “freak dancing” in 2007, the writer cited her own experiences stretching back to 1992. That all adds credence to adamXantium’s complaint that this is an old issue.
We’re not as sure about adamXantium’s claim that in foreign countries, grinding is “traditional” and the ban of this move makes “the United States look like tight-asses that don’t understand anything.”
But it’s all a valuable lesson in how to work a hot YouTube video: Latch onto the media’s swaying backside and grind away.