I opened my Tumblr browser yesterday morning to find that popular and talented Vlogger Laci Green had been driven off the internet due to countless death threats.
Whether you’ve heard her name before today or not, it’s important for you to hear it now.
Laci has spent the past five years making videos for her Youtube following. At first, she Vlogged about her own personal experiences and hardships as a young woman, but over time, her talents evolved into a video blog series called Sex+.
Sex+ is dedicated to promoting a sex positive mindset amongst teens and young adults everywhere. Sex positive is defined by Wikipedia as “an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits.”
In a society run rampant with stigma surrounding sexuality, Laci’s goal is to spread awareness about the Sex Positive movement and help inform people about their own bodies. Her videos cover issues with sexuality, relationships, and sexual identity with very little censorship. Laci is known for her blunt and direct approach with her viewers. Because of her candid approach to her own sexuality, Laci has gained a dedicated following of young men and women all over the world.
The controversy stems from two places that can be quickly boiled down to ‘political correctness.’ The separate incidences involve a transphobic slur, which some are saying she did a poor job of apologizing for:
…as well as an Islamophobic remark, which the same people are saying she did an even poorer job of retracting. Here’s what Laci had to say about it:
Q: Sorry if you already answered this, but I came across your other channel and just watched the video where you say Mormonism is “probably one of the most sexist [religions] that I’ve come across, beside Islam.” Since you are white and have never been Muslim, could you issue an apology, or update the video with an apology in the description? I am an atheist too, but there is horrible sexism in many religions, and in secular culture as well. It’s not right to single out Islam. It’s Islamophobic.
A: You’re right, it’s not right to single out Islam. Many religions and cultures are extremely sexist and I despise them all equally. This wasn’t the intent of my statement and I apologize if it came off that way.
The video (which is kinda old and came before I learned how to be fully “PC”) is about my experience, and in my life, Islam has perpetuated more gendered violence and sexism toward the women in my life and family than mormonism ever did. Both these religions have wounded me and my loved ones deeply, much of which was on the basis of sex and gender. Just writing about this makes my heart sink. No amount of screaming “Islamophobia” will change that, and it’s actually a wonderful example of how childish and ignorant religion makes people out to be. People get so wound up in defending anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-human, piece of trash organizations that they can’t hear criticism for what it is: a human experience that is real, that is valid, that is unjust.
Yes I am white and no I am not Muslim nor have I ever been. There are certain experiences I can never speak about, such as actually being Muslim or being a person of color. I can, however, speak about my own, and to argue that I must have dark skin or have been a practicing Muslim in order for me to do so is more of the same oppressive bullshit.
I grew up in a multicultural family. My dad’s side of the family immigrated from Iran 20 years ago. My dad himself immigrated to America when he was 16. My family is Muslim on my dad’s side and Mormon on my mother’s (although my dad eventually converted to mormonism). I grew up in a climate where these two religions dominated my life in a really painful way.
I don’t owe ANYONE explanations of why I feel the way I do. I don’t need to rehash things that have hurt me and that I’ve moved on from. My feelings and experiences are perfectly valid on their own. If you want to call it “Islamophobia”, I’ll call you ignorant.This isn’t about quantifying pain, this is about my own experience with that pain. Calling that “Islamophobia” undermines what Islamophobia really is and how it operates. I fucking hate organized religion, including Islam, and all the pouting in the world won’t change that.
I won’t deny that her use of transphobic terminology isn’t setting the greatest example for her viewers, but it’s important to consider that the slur was used three years ago, and that Laci stated she was unaware of its presence on her channel. Her apology may have been short and simple, but I don’t doubt its sincerity.
Three months ago, Laci made this video addressing the transgender community:
As for her Islamophobic comments, even the people who are upset about them can’t deny their validity. They are upset because she, being a white female, is in no place to pass judgment on a culture so unlike her own. Except that she clearly explains in her comments that she is of Muslim and Mormon descent, so she is familiar with both cultures on a very personal level. Yes, she is removed, but she is also knowledgable and has a broader understanding than critics are willing to give her credit for.
Still, there is something much bigger at hand. Laci Green has been receiving threats so severe that she no longer feels safe maintaining her position as a video blogger. She fears for her safety in her own home. No matter the offense, death threats should never be the result. This kind of reaction will never give way to a productive dialogue between disagreeing parties. Yes, people on Tumblr have approached her wanting to start that dialogue, but with stalkers also caught up in the mix, it is understandable how Laci was not in the right place mentally to respond and perhaps she didn’t feel it was necessary. I can’t speak for Laci right now, but I can speak for the people who love her Vlog and find it reprehensible the way she is being attacked by others in the online community.
Popular Vlogger and author John Green has taken a public stance regarding the internet backlash against Laci. In a recent Tumblr post, he made this statement:
You want to know why there are so few women in the Top 100 most viewed lists on YouTube? Because women are far more likely to be stalked, threatened, and attacked on the Internet, and they are far more likely to see those attacks move from cyber-bullying to real life threats, which too often forces them to abandon their work and their audiences.
It’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to respond to a transphobic comment with a threat to kill someone. It’s not acceptable to harass and stalk women because you want their attention. And it’s not acceptable to use threats and intimidation to silence women you disagree with.
John Green’s words are important because they remind us that this is one oppressed group raging against another. By allowing threats and violence to be the response, we shove the feminist movement back another decade by making it clear that women are not welcome to speak their minds safely amongst the internet community. From birth, girls are taught to fear and be watchful of their surroundings, and the threats Laci is receiving are reinforcing that mindset.
Many of the critics will argue that Laci shouldn’t be getting all this publicity because people of color and transgender individuals are receiving these same threats on a daily basis and they remain in the dark. These are the same people who claimed yesterday to be feminists working towards strengthening the plight of the female. But today, the plight of the PoC or the transgender wins out. The bigger picture is being lost amongst the who’s who and the what’s what. People are more concerned about the fact that the oppressed in this instance is a white, cisgender female and less concerned about helping to make a point to those individuals sending the threats.
When did our society start taking the side of the attacker?
You can blame my defense of Laci on my white, cisgender privilege, but I will challenge you there. I am not defending privilege, and I’m not even defending the things that Laci said. I am defending a young woman who is under attack for speaking her mind. I am defending the right to blog (or vlog) about what you think or feel. I am defending Laci Green’s right to continue producing her Vlog without fear of her own personal safety, which is a right to which we should all be entitled regardless of race, gender, or religion.
Do you support Laci Green? Give us your take on the situation in the comment section below!
Written by Hayley Trimmier
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Opinions stated in our editorials do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Feminspire and its staff as a whole, but instead reflect the opinions of the writer.