By Aidan Macnab
YouTube personality Laci Green spoke March 18 at Ryerson on feminism’s growth and her experience as a influential figure of the movement.
“A lot of people think feminists are radical women who hate men, or are lesbians who just hate men and don’t want anything to do with them,” said event coordinator and vice-president of Ryerson’s Sociology Student Course Union [RSSU] Kristin Walcott-Dass. “That’s just the opposite of what feminism is.”
The F Word occurred at the Student Campus Centre, coordinated by the RSSU and Ride for a Dream, a non-profit campaign to end violence against women.
Laci Green is a 25-year-old sex positive, feminist activist with 1.2 million YouTube subscribers. On her channel called lacigreen she discusses topics including sex, feminism, body image, sex assault, media, and religion.
Green highlighted diversity within the feminist movement and the way feminists have adapted to be inclusive of marginalized perspectives. She talked about how the movement has progressed, but also the battles still left to fight.
Alexander Waddling is founder of Ride for a Dream and a fifth-year psychology major at Ryerson. He said he thought Green’s style would attract a broad audience that may not normally think about gender issues.
“No blame or shame is involved in the way she discusses the issues she does,” Waddling said. “She is quite easily palatable to a lot of people who might be on the fence.”
Green talked about the strides gender activists have made and the idea that equality has been achieved, making modern feminists “loud, obnoxious, ungrateful women.”
“I get asked this all the time,” Green told her audience Wednesday. “When are you going to shut the hell up?”
She said with the under-representation of women in politics, business, media, the increase in American anti-abortion legislation, and TV’s depiction of women and its effects, now is the time to speak on gender issues.
Due to Green’s large online presence, she has attracted some opponents, criticisms and even threats. She once experienced backlash for using the word “tranny” while praising a trans person that inspired her.
“I didn’t mean to be transphobic,” Green said about the incident. “I actually think I was just ignorant.”
Green, whose family background includes Mormonism and Islam, also devoted her early YouTube activity to atheism and criticism of religion. She said her teenage naivety had her believe sexism only existed in religious institutions, and that Islam was particularly sexist. Green was accused of Islamaphobia by an array of viewers.
“As far as the criticism, I’ve been making videos since I was very young,” she said. “I think it’s unfortunate that we’re not allowed to grow. I’m 25 now, that was almost ten years ago and I have learned a lot in that time.”
But being a public figure dealing with topics some find controversial, Green isn’t discouraged by criticism as long as it’s constructive.
“I don’t have any hard feelings,” Green said. “I just ignore it. I’m a busy person and I don’t have time for that shit.”