I woke up a few days ago and logged onto Twitter (not the VERY first thing I did. I'm not THAT crazy!). Turns out that a content creator I follow on YouTube decided to debate another content creator I follow. This wouldn't normally be big news, as debates aren't unheard of (though seemingly becoming rarer). However, once I saw it was between Blaire White and Laci Green, my jaw dropped.
Who are these people, you ask? Blaire White is a transgender woman who has blown up in the past year due to her center / center right political and social viewpoints. She is an anti-feminist and has heavily criticized Black Lives Matter, Islam, and the lack of support for men's issues in society. This tends to be at odds with the stereotype that people in the LGBTQ+ community are very liberal / progressive with their viewpoints. While some have tried to label her as an alt-right conservative, her self-description and my analysis of her videos don't really paint that picture. I'll leave a video below for you to check out.
Laci Green is a well-known YouTuber, educator, and activist. Her focus tends to be on sexuality and sexual education, though she has explored other topics, such as self-esteem and body image. She has hosted DNews (a Discovery Channel YouTube show) and MTV Braless (an MTV YouTube show). A self-described feminist, Laci is very active in sharing her viewpoints with many different audiences and has won numerous awards for her work. Again, video down below.
The debate took place earlier in the week, and I give props to both women for taking time out of their schedules to have a two and a half hour discussion. There were valid points that were brought up on both sides of the aisle, including different opinions on feminism, sex and gender, and men's issues. After watching the whole thing, I believe that Blaire "won," though Laci stated at the beginning that it was more of a conversation than a debate. Still, I found Laci talked over Blaire often and even callously dismissed Blaire's revelation that she was a victim of rape. That isn't to say that Laci is a horrible person, but I thought her passion for her viewpoints tended to paint her as not wanting a rational discourse and instead promoted the "gotcha moments" that so many politicians hate (but are entertaining for the rest of us).
I've discussed some of these points on my podcast The GOBERT Report, so I won't go into too much detail here. That said, this was a monumental occasion for rational discourse. I say that because of the current culture that we live in. Social media and political polarization has pushed people into echo chambers, and I can't stand it! People learn and grow by hearing a variety of viewpoints, but algorithms tend to determine what we do and don't listen to these days. That's not to say that echo chambers are bad. It's always nice to have one's opinions validated, but it can be detrimental to only stay within one's viewpoint.
Debate and nuance have seemingly taken a backseat in the popular culture, but I'm hoping that will start to change. Between this and the Ted Cruz / Bernie Sanders debate earlier in the year, I'm hopeful that people on contrasting sides of the political and cultural aisles will continue to explore, entertain, and evaluate different points of view for themselves and their audiences.
Or not, and we can continue to yell at each other. The sales for megaphones must be going through the roof.
Gregory T. Obert