It all began innocently enough, Laci Green finally broke her YouTube radio silence of a few months around May 11. At the same time, the former host of MTV’s Braless announced the following to her Twitter followers.
“my intentions: open a dialogue. learn a thing. evaluate popular anti/SJ arguments based on science, logic. explore the matrix. eat pocky.”
The dialogue she was planning to open was with anti-feminist and anti-SJW (social justice warrior) YouTube channels. The Matrix name drop was a sly reference to the world of so-called “red pilled” men’s rights activists. Not unlike former feminist Cassie Jaye, Laci found that certain members of the feminist community took great offense to the idea of even considering, much less attempting to “see how the other half lives.”
Laci Green may end up learning the hard way what Cassie explained in her speech to the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
“If you start to humanize your enemy, you in turn may be dehumanized.”
In Laci’s case, the seemingly sudden change of heart has inspired some suspicion on both sides. Skeptics amongst the “red pill” and anti-SJW crowd, as well as former allies in the feminist camp, have joined forces to lambaste Laci.
The social justice warrior movement, which seems to have peaked between 2013 with #Gamergate and 2016, seems to lose steam notably once it resorts to preposterous accusations of misogyny to explain why the Ghostbusters remake trailer became, at the time, one of the most “disliked” videos ever on the YouTube platform.
An August 2015 article from BBC quotes Jon Ronson, the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, as follows.
“There’s a despicable ruthlessness coming from the ‘outrage’ camp which is destroying people’s lives. For every little bit of good it does for social justice, it does a terrible amount of harm. Twitter is like the Stasi: a surveillance network which declares war on behaviour that is considered un-Stasi-like.”
In an interview with right-leaning libertarian, philosopher, and political commentator Stephan Molyneux, Cassie Jaye, The Red Pill documentary filmmaker, weighs in on the inherent dangers of shining a light on the dark, dungeon of certain denizens of the net. And it’s not necessarily what you might think.
“Now I know why, because it is apparently career suicide to do that.”
In her first “red pill” video from mid-May, Laci Green had this to say to her “feminist fam.”
“They expressed the opinion that talking to antis and problematic people is going to be not worth the time, that it’s not going to be fruitful, that i’m engaging with bigots and validating their opinion, offering a platform to bullies, and while I can appreciate this perspective, I fundamentally disagree with it.”
Laci faced off against anti-feminist and transwoman Blair White on YouTube recently. At least part of what inspired her move seems to be the views of certain groups within her camp, such as the so-called trans-exclusionary Radical Feminists. This as well as the recent controversy within the feminist culture, due to feminist philosophy journal Hypatia publishing an article explaining that trans-racialism may be a valid lifestyle for the same reasons as transgenderism.
Steve Shives, a popular feminist YouTuber, announced to Laci on Twitter that he felt it would be more fruitful to befriend YouTube brass who could ban anti-feminist channels rather than befriend the anti-feminists. Laci responded that “abuse is one thing but banning channels you disagree with IS political censorship. a level of civility is necessary to understand each other.”
The “red pill,” obviously is an allusion to the famous 1999 film The Matrix, in which one of the lead characters, Morpheus, an infamous leader within the Matrix presents Neo, a hacker seeking to explore the Matrix, with two choices—taking the blue pill or the red pill. According to Morpheus, if Neo takes the blue pill, “you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” However, if Neo picks the red pill, “I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
As for what led to Green’s first encounter with the red pill, she explained, “Some of the more fringe-y aspects of feminism, have given me pause”
She continued, “While yes, I am a feminist, I wouldn’t describe myself as the ideologue that people sometimes make me out to be.”
She admits, however, that when it comes to the so-called stark separation between two sides and their aims and desires real life tends to be “messier than that.”
As far as defining her flavor of feminism, Laci explained that she considers herself intersectional, sex-positive, and skeptical. As far as skeptical goes, she explains that means she is pro-science and pro-logic.
Another eye-opener for her was the dichotomy between the bastions of the “words are harm” camp threatening or enacting real physical violence. As per the free speech question, Laci admits she believes speech can be violent in the sense that it can be emotionally harmful or even physically harmful (speech that directly incites violence, for instance, such as the “Kill all cis” tagline of extreme elements within radical transgenderism), equating a slur to the same as a punch in the face minimizes the violence of the punch.
Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from the more extreme parties in both camps is Laci’s admonition that driving ideas underground rather than engaging in honest and open dialogue (which is a two-way street and not a lecture) effectively shuts the conversation down, and “it also has a clear backfire effect that makes these censored voices more sympathetic to a moderate audience.” The importance of awareness as far as the perception of how the conversation looks “outside of your bubble” are wise words indeed in the age of divisive echo chamber politics.
In her second video, Laci says, “Just like social justice warriors bastardizing feminism this is what anti-feminism looks like… even without the fringier stuff, these angry pile-ons on YouTube don’t exactly say ‘let’s talk.’ I see a lot of the same kind of stuff coming from both sides.”
Many skeptics, on both sides, feel there may be a more sinister reason. Accusations of opportunism, jumping ship for popularity and pandering to the “alt-right” have been flung about. Some on the anti-SJW side seem to welcome Laci’s calls for open and honest dialogue to combat the growing polarization. Anti-feminist YouTube personality the Armoured Skeptic on YouTube argues that “Laci Green is changing the game.” Armoured Skeptic and his partner in life and crime Shoe0nhead garner hundreds of thousands of views for their political and cultural commentary.
If inspiring controversy and appealing to a new audience was Laci’s sole game, the game seems to have not played out as well as it might have. Her first “red pill” video garnered around 1.2 million views, but the more recent has stalled at just over 200,000 for now.
[Update: As of June 24, 7:45 PM ET, Laci’s second video on her “red pill” experiment is at 534,022 views. The original “red pill” video by Ms. Green is at 1.3 million.]
[Featured Image by Mike Windle/Getty Images]