Skip to content

Meet the YouTube star who’s de-radicalizing younger, right-wing males – VICE Information

The far proper is the dominant political group on YouTube. It is a flourishing world of males’s rights activists, libertarians, anti-feminist atheists, and white nationalists. There are complete channels devoted to displaying “social justice warriors” getting “owned” by varied conservative provocateurs. And this has gone largely unanswered by the left. Enter Natalie Wynn, who’s making an attempt to de-radicalize this a part of YouTube with an surprising mixture of philosophy and elaborate costumes. And she or he’s making some headway.”One factor the best wing has accomplished fairly successfully in the previous couple of years is, they’ve managed to border the dialogue as a form of puritan, moralistic, sermonizing left versus a form of edgy, rebellious, punk-rock proper,” says 30-year-old Wynn. “And I refuse to permit them to get away with that.” On her YouTube channel, Contrapoints, Wynn tries to reframe the controversy round points like free speech, the alt-right, incels, and transgender pronouns in a approach that “makes [the far right] reveal their puritanism and their phobias, and has me because the, like, libertine.” Wynn mentioned this as she was holding an enormous headpiece trimmed with pink and black feathers and a sheep cranium. She makes 20-to-45-minute movies that unpack the concepts behind the tradition wars, utilizing the philosophy schooling she received in grad faculty and the make-up schooling she received on YouTube. They usually’re fashionable. Her prime movies get greater than 1 million views. She makes sufficient cash for YouTube to be her solely job. She’s within the prime 20 creators on Patreon, a website the place followers can provide month-to-month donations to artists. The cranium headpiece is for a personality that delivers a set off warning at the beginning of a latest video. It is certainly one of 4 costume modifications and three wigs she makes use of to dissect a well-liked meme on the far proper, “Are Traps Homosexual?” It means, Is it homosexual to have intercourse with a trans lady? Whereas this meme would possibly seem to be an offensive however unimportant piece of web ephemera, Wynn explores what it means for trans ladies and straight masculinity.It is fascinating as a result of she takes the web severely. In any case, that is the place political concepts unfold nowadays. The YouTube algorithm tends to advocate content material that will get progressively extra excessive, so in just some clicks, you possibly can go from a mainstream to excessive. Which may not be so unhealthy when it takes you from movies about vegetarianism to veganism, nevertheless it’s harmful whenever you go from explanations of the historical past of the West to racist pseudoscience posted by white nationalists.College of North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufkeci says that makes YouTube a form of radicalization machine. “It appears as in case you are by no means ‘hard-core’ sufficient for YouTube’s advice algorithm. … Given its billion or so customers, YouTube could also be some of the highly effective radicalizing devices of the 21st century,” he mentioned.In that universe, Wynn is deliberately focusing on younger white males who’ve been pulled down a YouTube rabbit gap. And it is working — she has a “success” folder on her laptop of individuals whose minds she has modified.”I see myself as type of like left’s immune system,” Wynn mentioned. “I’m combating towards the form of reactionary forces that may trigger individuals to double down on their reactionary concepts. I’m altering individuals’s minds. I’m softening them to those points.” This section initially aired March 6, 2019 on VICE Information Tonight on HBO.