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By Deepika Shewaramani and Nadya Domingo
She Asked For It, Does Sexism Hurt Men, and Boob Power are just some of the video titles you will find on YouTube star Laci Green’s channel. They suggest a few of the topics and bits of advice that Green will bring to Ryerson in her feminism talk, The F Word.
The YouTuber, who has more than one million subscribers, is coming to campus on March 18 as part of her feminist educational tour. Her talk is organized by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU); the sociology union; and Ride for a Dream, a Social Ventures Zone project.
Green, 25, makes videos on sex, body image, healthy relationships, and gender identity. She calls her channel SEX+, a video series about sexuality.
“I thought this would go hand in hand with not only what sociology students are learning, but what Ryerson promotes to its students,” says Kristin Wallcott-Dass, vice-president of events at the sociology union. “Ryerson is considered to be a safe, positive space for students, and is a leading university when it comes to equality.”
Alexander Waddling, co-founder of Ride for a Dream, says he chose to participate in Green’s event because of her large and loyal following. His non-profit organization aims to involve young men in the cause to end violence against women, and he finds Green to be very engaging.
“For a lot of people, to get into the nitty-gritty stuff of gender and equality can be seen as pretty unpalatable,” he says. “Laci Green is able to present it in a way that is palatable, and it’s not caught up in a lot of academic jargon, which is good.”
Ryerson doesn’t have a feminist group at the moment – only the RSU Centre for Women and Trans People, which says it “fights for gender equity and safe spaces.”
University of Toronto has a Feminist Students’ Law Association, York University has a Feminist Action student club, and McGill University has The Feminist Collective. Waddling says he thinks there are places at Ryerson that don’t have a strong, feminist culture, and bringing in Green is one step towards spreading the movement across campus.
“One event on its own will not cause a lot of change,” he says. “But it will create an understanding that the status quo on our campus will not stand for things like sexual assault. We will have dialogue and we will have events, and these are conversations that need to take place.”
But not all students think Green is the best person to be leading these conversations, as in the past she has been accused of Islamophobia and making offensive comments towards trans people.
Tamara Jones, a third-year arts and contemporary studies student, says Green shouldn’t be the face of feminism or anything along those lines at all. “She’s not saying anything revolutionary,” she says. “She’s just saying it in a funny way.”
Students have already reserved all the tickets available to Green’s talk, which will take place at 6 p.m. in the Student Campus Centre. Wallcott-Dass says people from all faculties and programs are attending, which she takes as an indication that feminism at the university is going in the right direction.
“At the end of the day, (Green’s) message today is really relevant, and it outweighs everything else,” she says. “She’s said stuff when she was younger, but she’s apologized for everything. We’ve all said stuff we’ve personally not been educated on or regret.”
Green spoke at University of British Columbia last month and she will be speaking at U of T on March 18 after visiting Ryerson.