YouTube is continually charged, erroneously, with being a funnel to the far-right. At the same time, ContraPoints has been celebrated as part of a left-wing pushback against that. She’s a part of what some people call ‘Breadtube,’ which is a reference to The Conquest of Bread by communist philosopher Peter Kropotkin.
Unusually for a YouTuber, ContraPoints has had positive attention from the conventional media. She has garnered respect—grudging or otherwise—from both sides of the Culture War.
At a time when the legacy media are being massacred by independent media and lash out at them, there have been many puff pieces about ContraPoints. The Guardianistas gussets are veritably excited, Vice has a visible literary erection, and the New Yorker is going to need a clean pair of panties.
To be both noted and celebrated by the legacy media is quite the achievement in this hostile context. Why all this celebration?
It is my job to educate you. ContraPoints makes polished, almost hallucinatory, and highly accomplished videos on ‘social justice’ topics. She is the friendly face of a highly combative and nigh-incomprehensible movement. Social Justice is much more defined in the public consciousness by the ‘SJW’ no-fun killjoys than anything positive. Unlike many in this space, ContraPoints is not afraid of difficult subjects and presents her points without being overly nasty. Perhaps she’s exploiting the far-rights well-documented vulnerability to ‘traps’. Satire and skits, decadent presentation and humorous characters don’t always land, but they land often enough to be noteworthy.
Just recently, however, this gravy train of adoration and championing has come to an abrupt end. The trans-heroine of the Twitterati has turned out to have feet of clay, just like everyone else. There are always been plenty of resentful people hanging around, waiting for the opportunity to strike. The tendency of the ‘left’ to eat its own is undoubtedly well-supported by history.
Still, even the forces of militant wokeness need an excuse. So what happened?
Now, you may not see the problem here. You’re probably a reasonably well-adjusted human being who accepts trans-people and hasn’t encountered the worst excesses of either trans-activism or trans-exclusionary radical feminism. If you’ve avoided these people so far, I envy you. In fact, I envy the dead. Let me attempt to explain the problem here in non-pathological, reasonable human terms.
- ContraPoints is transgender
- ContraPoints is conventionally transgender
- Born a man, ContraPoints wishes to be treated as a woman
So far, so good, right? I think we can all wrap our heads around this. There are people born biologically male who want to be female. There are people born biologically female who want to be male. Live and let live, none of our business, ‘you do you, boo’. Right?
Some people don’t identify as either gender. Even that statement, ‘either gender’ will be taken as insulting and problematic. (even though I’m just trying to illustrate a point with it) These people are called ‘non-binary’, ‘enby’, ‘genderfluid’, or a variety of other names—including the descriptive but derogatory ‘transtrender’. They are ‘gender nonconforming’, which means they don’t fall into the same category as ContraPoints. Despite being trans, Contrapoints is gender-conforming. To present as a woman, they engage in modes of dress, speech, behaviour, gesture, and so forth that our society understands and reads to be feminine.
Incidentally, this is a big part of the reason so many feminists are trans-exclusionary radical feminists. They seem to believe that femaleness is something quintessential and spiritual. They hold that being performatively female undoes feminism in some way. They honestly believe that trans-people are an affront to feminism, either as reinforcements of patriarchal gender norms or as gender-traitors to the sisterhood.
They’re massive arseholes. It’s all so bloody exhausting and petty. ContraPoints made the unforgivable mistake of expressing a personal discomfort over how tiresome some of the performatively-woke rituals have become. She wants to be seen and understood primarily as a woman, not even as a transwoman per se. The ritual of exchanging pronouns has made trans-inclusive spaces less welcoming for people like ContraPoints, while the wider society has become a lot smoother to negotiate.
It’s a contradictory, paradoxical situation and it’s slightly hurtful. A ‘microaggression’ if you will. ContraPoints took note of the weirdness of the situation, and that was it. That is literally all that happened. A little note of discomfort was enough to release a torrent of hatred and abuse—abuse of such vitriol and nastiness that ContraPoints, a veteran of troll-wars with the Alt-Right—for the love of the fuck—was chased off of Twitter.
This extremist pseudo-left can’t even tolerate its own, let alone anyone else. All it takes is one minor point of disagreement—one unguarded moment— and you’re done. This doesn’t bode well for the future. Anyone who looks to foster communication and discussion gets exiled by the extremes of both sides. If everyone gets shunned because they don’t want the same treatment, there is no hope for any of us.
Agree or disagree, voices like ContraPoints are worth listening to for their own sake. Not because a handful of intolerant wankers hate them. Not because The Guardian likes them. Not because you agree with them. Just because this sort of effort, succeed or fail, should be encouraged.
James ‘Grim’ Desborough is the Video Guy at Trigger Warning and a rapidly ageing gothabilly. He is also an eminent atheist and libertine who spends his time writing, editing, and designing analogue games.