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Fuck You Pay Me

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Other than the New York Times amusing continued unwillingness to write the swear words that dominate American life, this is actually a really important story having to do with the future of work in America.

Six years ago, Lindsey Lee Lugrin, a budding social media creator and model, was given the chance to be featured in a Marc by Marc Jacobs ad campaign. She was paid $1,000.

Ms. Lugrin was thrilled. But after seeing her face plastered on billboards and in ads across the internet, she realized she had undervalued herself.

As she spoke with more influencers, who create social media posts for brands in exchange for payment or a cut of advertising fees, Ms. Lugrin became aware of other pay disparities. Male creators earned an average of $476 per post and women $348, according to an analysis last year by Klear, an influencer marketing platform.

Ms. Lugrin, now 30, was determined to change that. So in June, she and Isha Mehra, 25, a former Facebook data scientist, introduced an app with an unprintable name: F*** You Pay Me. It functions as a kind of Glassdoor for influencers, where creators can leave reviews of brands they have worked with, share ad rates, and give and get other crucial information for negotiating sponsored content deals. The aim: to have creators be paid more equitably.

The in-your-face name was deliberate, Ms. Lugrin said. “I didn’t want there to be any doubt from the creator side of things who this is for,” she said. “The name is an ode to the frustration I experienced myself many times over as a creator.”

FYPM, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., is one of several companies now aiming to bring pay transparency to influencers, whose field is one of the fastest growing among small businesses in the United States. It’s part of a shift where creators are increasingly trying to assert themselves in their business dealings with brands and gain a more level playing field.

“I went on TikTok and was like, ‘Brands, you need to stop doing this,’” she said. But “I got death threats. I got people messaging me, ‘Sit down and shut up’ and ‘You entitled insert-terrible-word here.’”

Many creators are women and people of color, Ms. Dunlap added, so brands are taking advantage of these broader communities.

“We all have to talk to each other and say, ‘This brand reached out to me — what did they offer you?’” she said.

Ms. Lugrin said she hoped FYPM would help make life as a creator more profitable for everyone, including those without millions of followers or money to fall back on.

This “is about the future of work,” she said.

This is obviously a long way from a union, but you have to meet people where they are at. I am glad she phrased it with the term “the future of work.” There are so many jobs today that are outside of traditional work norms and thus no one knows what to charge. Add to that Americans’ reluctance to actually state how much money they make as if this is some secret that must be kept at all costs. It all creates a society ripe for exploitation. Actually sharing this information, finding out which brands rip people off, etc., these are steps toward a culture of solidarity to make work more equal. Good for them. Now to work on the Times’ thinking it is still 1957.

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