Youtube Sensation Speaks About Sexual Assault Prevention
Opening with a video depicting examples of the injustices of rape culture, sex educator and video-blogger Laci Green led a presentation on how to combat sexual violence and promote gender equity on campus at this week’s All-School Meeting (ASM).
Green, who has over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and was recently named one of the “30 Most Influential People on the Internet in 2016” by “Time Magazine,” was invited to campus by the Brace Advisory Board.
“One of the main focuses of the Brace Student Advisory Board is to deconstruct rape culture… We had the [Mentors in Violence Prevention] (MVP) program last year, [which] we considered a success, so we wanted to take that one step further and invite someone… who is a big influence on a lot of young people to come, speak on that subject and help ease our transition into [having] more discussion about it,” said Larson Tolo ’18, a student speaker at ASM and member of the Brace Advisory Board, in an interview with The Phillipian.
Zoë Sottile ’17 and Bailey Colón ’18, members of the Brace Advisory Board, introduced Green, acknowledging her videos’ ability to make information that might have previously been inaccessible to young viewers easy to understand through a combination of pop culture and personal examples.
“In a world where women are often shamed as sluts for having sexual desires of their own, [Green’s] work embraces female sexuality. For me, after years of inadequate health classes, [her YouTube series] ‘Sex+’ helped me learn to love myself and my body,” said Sottile during ASM.
Many students found Green’s presentation to be a necessary addition to Andover’s continued discussion on healthy relationships.
“I thought [the presentation] was very necessary because rape culture is very serious among boarding schools, colleges, and places where people live at school. It’s necessary to have [talks about rape culture] at the beginning of the school year,” said Ugo Ogonuwe ’20.
“It was a very interesting talk. I really appreciated the fact that she brought up issues of sexual assault against males, which is an issue that’s often glossed over or trivialized,” said Alex Davenport ’17.
Green stayed on campus after ASM to answer student questions in Susie’s and give a presentation to faculty on safe sex and healthy relationships in Tang Theatre. She also met with proctors and prefects to answer further questions over dinner on Abbot Campus.
The Phillipian’s exclusive interview with Green.
What kinds of issues do you discuss on your YouTube channel?
I discuss sexuality and gender issues and all of the issues that come from that. That includes things like sexual orientation, gender identity, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism. Anything that has an intersection with how we experience our sexuality, I’ve talked about it.
Why did you decide to create YouTube videos?
[I started my channel] in 2008. [I decided to make videos] because I needed a community. I needed a place and people to talk to. I was feeling really alienated and isolated in my own community, and the Internet provided a place for me to find people to talk about it.
What is your opinion on the situation of sexual misconduct on high-school campuses like [Andover]?
Generally, I think it’s an issue that we need to be talking about and it’s an issue that we need to be proactive about. That includes students and staff, society, and parents. It’s a conversation that everyone needs to be having. We need to address it to make education safe and equitable so that everyone has an equal opportunity to get an education and to strive in the world.
Why did you decide to come to Andover?
[The Brace Advisory Board] invited me to come here, but I was particularly interested [in Andover] because it’s a high school, and because all the laws around Sex Ed in public schools…there aren’t a ton of schools that I can actually speak at. It’s always really exciting when I get the opportunity to talk to people who are not in college yet because I think these conversations should start earlier.
What is the big idea you want student to take away from your ASM talk?
The big idea that I would like them to take away is that each of us have power, even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. We do have power to end this issue, and I want everyone to know that there are ways [to do so]. I hope that I’ve offered some ideas of ways to engage with this issue. Because if every single person in the world engaged in this issue in some way, it would stop. And that’s the ultimate goal.
Editor’s Note: Larson Tolo is an Associate Copy Editor for The Phillipian.