Talking about the F word with Laci Green

As someone who knew of Laci Green, but didn’t regularly watch her YouTube channel, I was intrigued when I learned that she would be speaking about feminism on campus. It’s a something that I identify with but never expected to see discussed in such an open manner. Organized by the Ryerson Students’ Union, the Sociology union, and Ride for a Dream, a Ryerson social ventures project, Green spoke to nearly 200 Ryerson students about the F word.

Feminism, or The F Word as Green’s lecture was titled, was the focus of the talk on March 18. The feminist community is one that I personally identify with, but I had no idea how Green would approach the subject matter. This was concerning to me given that there are many branches of feminism that all work for different goals.

Like any university student, I spend too much time on the Internet – and most of that time is spent on YouTube. Quick searches for subscribed channels turn into puppy video-watching binges at 1 a.m. more often than I’m proud to admit. That said, at some point in my life, I stumbled across Green’s channel and found a community that was both entertaining and informative. Her channel Sex+ is a YouTube series focusing on positive sex education that began in 2008, with a following of over 1.2 million subscribers. Most recently she’s become the host of MTV’s Braless, the network’s first YouTube-based program.

After a huge round of applause from the crowd of curious students and fans of Green’s videos, Green began her lecture by explaining that she would be discussing a “mostly western American, predominantly white” version of feminism because it was her own experience.

“That doesn’t mean that this is the only way to view feminism, though,” she added. “There are many other views, and they are all just as valid and as important as mine.” Later in her lecture, Green added on to her argument of what feminism is and is not, saying, “If your feminism isn’t intersectional then it’s bullshit.”

“One really big thing that the feminist community needs to remember is to meet people where they’re at. We were all new to feminism at some point, and people were patient enough to explain it to us and welcome us in.” Green also added, “If we gang up on people and rip them apart for saying the wrong thing out of ignorance, then this movement cannot work.”

The idea of feminism being very community-centric is not new, but Green reminded the audience of that aspect of the movement. “I hear people say to other feminists and me all the time, ‘Do we really need feminism anymore?’, and my response to that is f–k yes.” Green told the audience that feminism was needed to fully equalize people in Western culture. “We need feminism because while most women are free to do a lot, there are still some things holding us back,” she said. “There are women in other cultures with little to no rights.”

If I learned anything during the lecture, it was that despite all that has been fought for and achieved to date by the feminist movement, there are still issues that need to be focused on. From Green’s empowering message about working together to better the lives of all women, to the audience’s positive responses to her ideas, it seems as though the third wave of feminism is strongly supported and ready to move forward – thanks to leaders and activists like Green, who among others is stepping up to educate new feminists and re-educate previously identified ones like myself.

Green best summarized the lecture in her final lines: “Until the playing field is equal, and women have the ability to make choices and live freely, I will not shut up. For anyone who may be unsure about being a feminist – if you’re looking for an invitation, this is it.”

Photo courtesy of YouTube.