Lately, something important has happened. It is something I never expected to happen. At first, it might not look like this is the most important case in the world. I do, however, think it is one of the most important moments in the discussions about social justice, feminism vs. anti-feminism and egalitarianism.
The YouTuber called Laci Green has been known to be a very prominent feminist and social justice warrior, has opened up to a wider community of opinions. To find out what is exactly the ground-breaking point here, one only has to look as far as to people that were thought of being on “her side” of the conversation has to say about her now. The words and insults thrown her way seem like being taken out of an extra wild South Park episode.
Here is one of many such comments, this one being taken from her Facebook page.
Fuck you, hun. <3 Fuck you and all your transphobic garbage. You used to mean so much to all of us. You used to provide so much education and empowerment. Now you’re all about enabling our abusers and trying to beat us down. I don’t even recognize you any more.
The question is; where does all this hate come from? It would seem to be logical that what one would consider to be her fans and followers should at least support her doing what she felt was right. It would also be safe to assume that people that adhere to an ideology of feminism and empowerment to females thinking for themselves would support Laci in talking about different perspectives on the case.
Alas, that is not the case at all. This is also a lot of where the problem lies in the current communities on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Especially in such polarised fields as feminism and social justice, as one has seen from the past weeks, the need for people to engage in both sides of the conversation seems to be sorely needed.
Laci Green has become a beacon of hope for many that dislike the strong polarisation and lack of communication between the camps of feminism and anti-feminism. To see the comment fields on YouTube be flooded over with either “Deus Vult” and “God emperor Trump” from the right-leaning side of the political spectrum, to seeing a myriad of comments calling everything “racist” and “alt-right” from the left-leaning side is funny to look at for ten minutes. After that, the joke gets rather stale.
Identifying the political spectrums as “leaning” has lately almost become a joke in itself when one is only able to see the two polarised camps being at each other’s throat. Thus, I believe that it is vitally important that such conversations take place.
It seems, however, that not everyone is happy that such conversations take place.
Steve Shives, a prominent YouTuber that is famous for blocking people that he does not agree with, is not particular found of this conversation to say the least. In a recent video on YouTube, Steve Shives expresses particular dismay over Laci Green’s choice to include more people from diverse backgrounds in the conversation.
On Steve Shives YouTube videos “You Had to Ask #242: 5/26/2017” and “You Had to Ask #241: 5/19/2017”, he states that even interacting with people of a different opinion may legitimise their points of view. It is not only at the political spectrum of Steve Shives where a lot of ridiculous comments and verbal acid refluxes comes from. After sifting through comment fields on YouTube, a lot of people were critical and even in disbelief to her “betrayal”.
The comment “Fuck you hun <3” from another, presumably, feminist should have been surprising to me, but it was not. Sadly, I expected those kinds of people to be really visible in this scenario.
Laci Green and Sargon of Akkad, a prominent anti-feminist YouTuber, also squared up during Vidcon, which was totally unexpected for me as for many others. Sargon of Akkad, has been very critical to Laci Green’s views and have thus made several videos criticising her opinions. Tears and happiness were reported and it only shows that one may be sorry for causing someone discomfort, while still being critical of someone work or opinions.
In the long run, interactions and open-minded discussions like these can support a wide field of opinions as well as pushing the focus from identity politics and ad hominem arguments to focus objectively and solely on the opinions presented.
The point I think we should all take from this is that we should talk with each other, and not at each other. There is nothing more counterproductive than to hold grudges and holding one’s own opinion so tightly that one is blind from anyone else’s opinion, or worse, growing as a person. While this may seem like a glass of ice water in Hell for some, I truly believe that this is the start of something good. Going forward, I hope similar stories will emerge where we realise that we are all in this together; not against each other.