Though YouTube includes content from all across the globe on countless different subjects, it’s still pretty undeniable that politics is an increasingly present theme throughout the internet. Whether it be in the worlds of comedy, fashion, or news reporting, political ideas are increasingly difficult to avoid. It’s a phenomenon that most people have done their best to ignore or reduce, though there are others who lean into it. That’s where a YouTube channel called ContraPoints comes in.
who is she?
ContraPoints is the channel and internet alias of Natalie Wynn, a self-described “ex-philosopher” who the Los Angeles Times has called, “that rare presence in our clamorous times: an internet voice resonant not with rage but with satire, humor, [and a] sardonic sense of persuasion.” On her channel, Wynn discusses and comments on such themes as gender identity and expression, political violence, sexuality, ethics, and philosophy. However, unlike other commentators and video-essayists who have had trouble connecting with an internet audience, ContraPoints has garnered critical acclaim (and a large fanbase) not only due to her intelligence and logical skills, but largely due to her abilities as an entertainer and producer.
In addition to acclaimed aesthetic set and lighting design, ContraPoints’ has also gained an advantage from her ability to express her political views in the forms of philosophical dialogues and short sketches, as she has done in her videos The Left, TERFs, Transtrenders, and The Aesthetic. Such forms of discussion seem to have had large appeal both to a philosophically-educated audience, and a more general audience that simply seeks interesting characters, plot line, and conversations.
Content and videos
As for the actual content of her videos, Contrapoints’ content is generally some kind of discussion or analysis of an important phenomenon or concept on the internet (Cringe, an exploration of the politicalization of embarrassment or humiliation), hate groups or political movements (Incels, a summary of the growing community of young men who turn to misogyny as a way to distract themselves from the difficulties in their own lives), or even personal essays that serve as a medium to address larger societal issues (Shame, Beauty, Canceling). This combination of grave and important content with an entertaining and broadly appealing presentation has led to one of Contrapoints’ largest impacts on the internet— de-radicalising young alt-right men. It’s an achievement that she herself acknowledges in her video Men, an essay about men’s rights movements and men’s place in feminist ideology. “There’s this kind of media narrative that has emerged around me and around this channel,” she says. “And by the way, the fact that there’s any kind of media narrative about this channel is super f***ing coconuts.
ContraPoints hasn’t always been the successful channel it is now. In fact, Wynn has been the target of many harassment campaigns throughout her internet career. She has of course been attacked by many right wing internet users, particularly in the form of transphobia. However, Wynn has also been the subject of “cancel culture” more than once. As she said in her speech at the XOXO Festival in 2018, “I always had a sense when I was being harassed by transphobes that I was right, and they were wrong, because they were on the wrong side of history… What became the more difficult problem is that I had a platform… and so people saw me as a ‘representative of the community.’” The height of her harassment came in early December, after she invited Buck Angel, a controversial figure within the trans community, to read a quote for less than ten seconds in one of her videos. On cancel culture, Wynn has said, “It’s in a way the 21st century version of the guillotine… but also like the guillotine, it can become a sadistic entertainment spectacle.”
Wynn’s most recent video, released on October 19th, is simply entitled Voting. In the video, she implores members of her audience to vote for Joe Biden, even if they may be skeptical of elections or of the efficacy of incrementalist change. She recently made an appearance on the h3h3 podcast with Ethan Edward Klein, where she discussed topics such as the recent election, rising political violence, and also discussed her own upbringing and transition. In December, she won the Streamy Award for Commentary, and has tweeted that she has a new video coming out soon (possibly the second half of her past video Justice (Part 1)). She’s recently participated in projects and livestreams with other internet and political progressives such as Hasan Piker, Jagmeet Singh, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
What’s my opinion?
Personally, I’ve found ContraPoints’ channel to be a great influence on my own life, and the lives of my peers who are only just beginning to discover their own political beliefs. At the end of the day, ContraPoints’ is one of the few YouTubers brave enough to put herself on the line and fight for equality and progress on a website that is notoriously conservative. We all have a lot to learn when it comes to our own society, but you’re not likely to find a better teacher than Natalie Wynn.
Contrapoints has quickly established herself as an important and growing force in the world of YouTube and the world of internet politics. With her celebrated logical skill and unmatched creative talent, it’s clear that this is only the beginning. If you’d like to see her content, check out her official website, YouTube channel, Instagram, or Twitter.