TikTok Star Drew Afualo Responds To Criticism About Her Up-Front Attitude - Exclusive

TikTok star Drew Afualo is known for her witty, brash, and humorous response videos. She has over 7 million TikTok followers who enjoy watching her make jokes at the expense of misogynists on the app. In an exclusive interview with The List, Afualo explained how she started making these videos naturally. 

"I'm an incredibly confrontational person, and I always have been. Especially with disrespect, I do not do that. Whether it's in-person or virtual, I don't take kindly to that. I started responding because I thought it was funny, and [it] turned out a lot of other people did too," she said. In fact, so many people thought it was funny that making that content has become her full-time job, and she's branched out into making her podcast "The Comment Section" along with her TikTok videos.

Although her success is a testament to how many people love what she does, there are plenty of others who disapprove of her videos. During her interview, Afualo shared why she does what she does and how she responds to those who criticize her approach.

Drew Afualo gets mixed reactions to her TikTok videos

Although Drew Afualo's fans love the way she responds to misogyny on the app, others criticize her for being too mean. Though her critics may consider her a "bully," Afualo believes that comes from their "patriarchal value(s)." "That's a puritanical belief that women should always be quiet and gracious and patient." 

Afualo said those criticisms uphold the idea that "[women] should always be okay with whatever men say to them. Regardless if it hurts your feelings, if it's disrespectful, if it's bigoted, you should always take the high road. I want to know why that's expected of me. Why is that?"

In answer to her own question, Afualo said it's likely because she's a woman of color, so many expect her to stay quiet and in her place. "If I was a man, if I was small, a skinny white woman, would you have this visceral of a reaction to me, or would you respect me more?" Afualo asked. In response to anyone who might think she's too harsh, she recommended they examine their biases. "When you ask me that question, why don't you ask yourself that question first? Why are you coming after me?"

Why Afualo sees her videos as empowering

Although some may think she's too harsh in her take-down videos, Drew Afualo argued, "I use my powers for good only. I've only ever gone after men who say the most vile things on that app." She may make jokes and poke fun at people, but only those who have already shared mean-spirited and bigoted views on the app. Because she isn't afraid to push back against misogynists, Afualo said, "My platform is a place where people can feel empowered and feel strong and feel confident." She hopes her attitude shows women and others "that you can be as outspoken as I am about bigotry, about misogyny, in general."

And it seems that her approach has been working. Not only has Afualo accumulated a massive following, but many of her fans have reached out to tell her what her videos mean to them. She shared a recent interaction where a fan told her that watching her videos gave her the courage to leave an abusive relationship. "I get thousands of messages like that every single day and they inspire me. They pick me up when I feel like I don't want to do it anymore," Afualo said.

New episodes of "The Comment Section" podcast are available weekly on the "Past Your Bedtime" YouTube channel, as well as anywhere you get your podcasts.