If we needed any further proof that feminism has gone from being a maligned activist movement to a dominant strain in pop culture in the past few years, it can be found in Braless, the adorable new teen web series from MTV which will air on YouTube each Tuesday.
That’s right: the act of casting off restrictive undergarments was once fodder for jeering at the second-wavers who dared demanded gender equality. (While bra-burning never actually happened, ’70s feminists never lived down the one time a few of them threw girdles in a trash while protesting the Miss America pageant.) But now, says MTV’s chosen host, Internet-famous sex educator Laci Green, the title Braless is actually good branding, “meant to conjure imagery of this old-school feminist movement and bra-burning.”
In Green’s words, she wants to bring that original “feisty spirit into a digital space.” “It’s about removing your restraints, relaxing, and just being in this really authentic way,” she says.
Braless‘ first episode meets the audience where they’re at, by focusing on Taylor Swift, and why Taylor Swift’s recent feminist awakening is, basically the Best Thing Ever. See, Taylor, feminism just means equality, Green says with evident glee.
Green, 25, grew up as a theater-loving good Mormon girl with a penchant for peeking into the “sex aisle” at the library. Pushing back against the dominant church culture helped her become who she is, she says.
Since becoming a video blogger, she’s garnered over a million subscribers to Sex+, her sex-ed YouTube channel on which she tackles topics like consent and virginity with social justice rigor, but also approachable (dare we say sassy?), youngster-friendly frames. Before MTV, she applied her video producing talents to Planned Parenthood and the Discovery Channel to create pro-sex, pro-science content.
Although Green says didn’t grow up watching much MTV — the library and the Internet were more her things — she’s thrilled to have the platform.
At her new MTV gig, Green promises more of the same fearlessness that has gotten her this far. Braless will tackle social justice and feminist topics like body image, LGBT issues, racism, and more, through a variety of formats.
But as popular she’s become, becoming ultra-famous as a young, sex-positive feminist on the ruthless Internet has also meant dealing with a lot of crap. Green says she’s received the kind of hate and harassment that’s “a daily reality” for anyone in her position.
In the six years that she’s made videos, she says, she’s grown up a lot, and faced obstacles similar to threats of violence that recently caused Anita Sarkeesian to cancel a speaking engagement. “Now I understand: these people just don’t want me to talk,” Green says. “Some of it is mindless hate. Some is misogyny. Some is just a different perspective. But most of it is pushing back against me to silence me.”
Needless to say, moving to MTV will only amplify Green’s reach, and her friendly yet empowering message. She hopes her viewers chime in and help her make the show even better with their feedback.
“Speak your mind,” she says. “You don’t actually have to take off your bra.”