I also live in the United States.
For ME, though:
1. the power that someone advocating for the status quo does
2. the money to advocate against the structure someone it is okay with does
Second, that the power dynamic between my "brand" and my audience is completely different than a corporate one.
To lifestyle market is to make sure there is both a mode of consumption and a product to consume - then emphasizing this repeatedly.
It is an absurd proposition for a creator to intentionally be everywhere. If it was financially possible, it would look desperate, but it isn't.
And if you do, it is because you have been led to believe that is "just what fans do" or you are obsessed with me - and not because I have done the requisite marketing to get my claws in you.
I do everything I can to avoid what I call "cultivating identity." I address people as people rather than fans, I do not tell them what to do, I frame the calls to action as "value extraction" and it is explicitly noted as benefiting me.
And is it *possible* for me to take advantage of people even though I am not backed by capital? YES!
I am building social capital (regardless of intentions) and there might be a point I could groom people as if I had hard capital... but I love having that conversation. That is the conversation I live for!
As I get power in whatever media structure I am accruing it in, I can tell you with confidence that I won't use it to "own" people.
But that is me. I can't speak for everyone.
This means that I depend on people who simply want my content to exist rather than people who want to make money from it.
I do ongoing freelance work and even if I made 15k a month on patreon I still would to get out of debt.
Does it depend on my social capital? YES.
Is it a bit unethical? YES, but so is every other action you take when you consider the real context of it and blaming yourself for that is counterproductive.
Because it takes labor, which takes time. Most of what I do takes extremely large amounts of labor/time.
I easily work more time than a full time worker on VID between shooting and editing. Let alone the research.
Which directs a person away from "fun" labor, because it is not canonized (made official) as "useful" or as "work."
Can it become dicey? Sure. But we have to observe the actual behavior to make that judgement.
And to try to invalidate my asking for support is to say "I don't think you should make content."
I don't, but I do think people need to start understanding the material reality of where leftist content comes from.