Transcript of InnuendoStudios response to ContraPoints
a guest Oct 17th, 2019 423 Never
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- Since contra is trending again I'd like to ask you which one is the most likely:
- A) she's doing outrage marketing and I'm falling for it
- B) she genuinely doesn't give a shit about nb and non passing trans ppl
- C) she's so ignorant that she makes the same mistake over and over
- D) secret 4th option
- Additionally, do you have any thoughts about how those conversations always center on her and never on the people that feel hurt by her actions?
- I'm going to get yelled at a lot for answering this, but here goes I guess.
- D) Contra featured Buck Angel's voice in a video because he is a trans elder and lifelong trans advocate whom she admires. He has also voiced some absolute bullshit opinions on nb folks. But Contra explicitly doesn't believe in canceling people, and has a long history of friendships and mutual admiration with people she disagrees with ideologically.
- That she would feature Angel in a video in such a casual way, not to comment on or complicate his beliefs but as a kind of tribute, is, intentional or no, a stamp of approval, and there's a solid risk that some of her audience is going to go check out Angel and uncritically consume his nb-bashing bullshit along with his other work. That she would do this amid her long history of pissing off the nb community is baffling; I cannot imagine she didn't know what Angel has said about them or how they would react. It's one thing to overlook his problems in appreciating his work, but it's another to feature him uncritically.
- So you have every right to be upset about it. I'm none to happy myself. But what concerns me is this reflexive leap to "she's doing it on purpose" or "she hates nb trans people."
- If you watch Contra's videos, you can see her offer up performativity as a lens for understanding transness in The Aesthetic, devotes a large portion of Pronouns to apologizing for the ways The Aesthetic didn't account for nbs and the non-conforming, and ultimately, in Transtrenders, rejects performativity largely *because* it doesn't account for nbs. You can see her entire understanding of her own gender evolve into something pointedly, explicitly incompatible with Angel's beliefs.
- And to interpret this as a lie, that she has constructed an accepting, inclusive, and complex theory of gender and taught it to an audience of hundreds of thousands that she secretly doesn't believe, and that she can somehow hide her beliefs in an internally-consistent ideology but reveal them in the dipshittiest ways imaginable just doesn't hold water for me, not when the alternate explanation is "she doesn't mind working with people she disagrees with."
- And, frankly, working with them is irresponsible. She is not platforming Angel's problematic beliefs, but she's providing a gateway to them, and I think she conflates her right to admire people with a right to work with them uncritically. I mean, obviously she HAS that right and you have the right to criticize her or stop consuming her work because of it. But I caution against the reflex towards a larger narrative: that Contra is truscum or hates nbs. The internet remembers events better than it remembers evolution. It sees a laundry list of times Contra has provoked outrage, and it forgets the ways she has learned from and incorporated those criticisms into her work. So when she fucks up today, people see that she's been fucking up for two years and say she hasn't changed. But they are, in fact, *different fuckups* that are products of an evolving perspective.
- I think what needs to be accepted is that this is who Contra is. She's going to keep having messy thoughts about gender - because understanding gender is a lifelong process not made easier by dysphoria or fame - and she's, for whatever goddamn reason, going to keep expressing them publicly. I would guess it's because she's a performer and that's what performers do, and because she spends so much time on her work she doesn't seem to have a lot of community offline to sort these things through with. She has improved in areas, and I think she will continue to improve, but it's slow, and she's going to say things and work with people you don't approve of in the process.
- I am privileged enough that this merely frustrates me, rather than causes me pain. For people who are hurt, your pain is valid, and you have ever right to disengage.
- Because emotions are high, whenever I talk about whether responses to Contra are overreactions people accuse me of telling trans people what to do or how to feel. But I am not issuing commands. I am coming at you horizontally; I am disagreeing, and advocating for different courses of action, but I don't have authority over you. I am making an argument in the hopes of convincing you.
- I do not believe Contra hates nbs, believes dysphoria is essential to transness, generates controversy on purpose, intentionally loses debates to cozy up to reactionaries, gears her entire career around getting on the Rubin Report, or any of the other theories people attach to because they're afraid of getting sold out. And I think they get in the way of talking about the actual problems with Contra's behavior.
- As for why the conversations center her, it's because she's upset a community, not a specific person, and that community doesn't have a unified perspective that can be personified, and, given that she has lately disappeared from Twitter as soon as there's a blowup, they are pretty much in control of the conversation, but she is the offending party so she stays the subject. Such is the nature of internet fame.
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