Shane Dawson

I Hate Myselfie

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I Hate Myselfie Summary

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I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays (2015) is a young adult memoir by YouTuber, Shane Dawson describing his experiences of growing up an introvert and being bullied. Dawson has more than twelve million YouTube subscribers, and I Hate Myselfie was well received by readers, subscribers, and critics. The book was a 2015 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for the Humor category, and it made Dawson a New York Times bestselling author. As well as vlogging, Dawson is a musician, director, actor, and comedian known for being raw and honest.

I Hate Myselfie is a collection of Dawson’s eighteen most inspiring life stories. He hasn’t always been confident, comical, and loud—he used to be the opposite. As a young child, Dawson’s only friends are his two siblings, Jerid and Jacob; they’re all bullied for being poor. His father is an abusive alcoholic, and Dawson has many hurtful memories of him. The abuse he suffers at the hands of his father contributes to his excessive weight gain. He has since been diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

At the start of each chapter, is a picture drawn by one of Dawson’s fans. He gave a selection of fans small excerpts from each chapter and asked them to draw a representation of it. He actively encourages creativity and enjoys engaging with his fans, which is evident in the book. Dawson’s eighteen essays aim to teach fans and readers a moral lesson in an accessible way.

Dawson describes why he hates his online persona. He knows it’s not who he really is, and it’s about time that the vlogging community gets to know him. Dawson makes fun of his own anecdotes, excessive picture taking, and Twitter posts. He hopes that people will read the book and take comfort from knowing his life is far from perfect and it’s possible to make it through the toughest challenges.

However, some of the subject matter Dawson tackles is also meant to be theatrical and exaggerated, which appeals to his vlogger fandom. For example, in the opening essay, “My Destinee,” he goes to great lengths to describe a terrible haircut he receives from a stylist called Destinee, and how he’s terrified to show his parents how short his hair is now. He’s very aware of what everyone thinks of him, and he’s always wondering how to improve people’s perceptions of him.

Dawson is honest about his difficulties in making friends and getting dates growing up. He doesn’t try to pretend he had a glamorous or easy childhood. In “Prom,” he talks about going to the senior prom with his best friend who happens to be a lesbian because neither of them has anyone else to go with. He loves being with his best friend, and they have a great prom night together, showing his fans the power of friendship.

Dawson also talks about what it was like to once be mistaken for his heterosexual mother’s lesbian lover because of how he looks; it’s times like these which give him complexes over how other people perceive him. He loses a substantial amount of weight after high school, which boosts his confidence, but it doesn’t make up for how lonely and unattractive he feels as a teenager. He develops a big personality to cover up his lifelong insecurities. However, some reviewers comment that his discussions about weight and appearance verge on “fat-shaming.”

Dawson doesn’t shy away from talking honestly about his parents and what it was like to grow up with an alcoholic father who later abandons them. He never feels good enough and spends a lot of his childhood on edge and uneasy. However, some of his essays focus on rebuilding his life in his late teens and rediscovering his sense of worth. This includes becoming a vlogger and using the skills he has to his advantage.

Though Dawson can be critical of his mother, ultimately, she’s one of his closest friends. She is his confidant while growing up; he’s thankful he has her to rely on. His relationships with his brothers also help him through difficult times, such as when his parents’ divorce and his beloved grandmother passes away. The experiences he has as a child teach him valuable life lessons, which he, in turn, tries to offer readers.

It’s clear that Dawson wrestles with self-loathing and, even now, hasn’t completely recovered from this. He struggles with anxiety, often questioning his own worth—issues that many people can relate to. In I Hate Myselfie, there’s a sense that one can never truly understand what’s going on in someone else’s life, that what one sees on the surface can be completely different from the truth.