“Whatever” Podcast Host Brian Atlas Meets His Match In Anti-Sexual Revolution Feminist Lavlune
The “Whatever” podcast is a popular dating podcast hosted by Brian Atlas. He invites women and sometimes men from Instagram onto the show to discuss modern dating, gender roles, and the dynamic between men and women in modern society.
The Whatever podcast prominently features women who are involved in the sex work industry in some capacity, with many earning an income through an OnlyFans account – a subscription-based platform where sex workers can monetize NSFW photos or video content.
The podcast has taken off in recent months, producing regular viral clips from the show, often involving heated debates or women saying something inflammatory. Many have criticized the show for fueling antagonistic gender relations, resentment, and punching down on women with low self-esteem. Others praise the show for “revealing” the problems that men and women face in today’s finicky dating culture.
The Whatever Podcast As an Internet Phenomenon
The host Brian Atlas has invited on a variety of guests from all sorts of political and social leanings. However, the vast majority are overwhelmingly young women with OnlyFans accounts and apolitical or liberal sympathies, and then a few token antagonists who will inevitably dunk on them the entire time. Vice ran a piece criticizing the Whatever podcast for its low hanging fruit panel selection and unfair clipping of out of context statements from women meant to make them sound ridiculous or unintelligent. While the criticism is valid, it’s slightly wrong.
The panel is carefully curated to produce an overwhelming bimbo to intellectual ratio. What I mean by bimbo is they look for intellectually uncurious women who are high in openness to experience, low in self-esteem, and who appear promiscuous or are engaged in sex work. This is for a few reasons. To begin with, this makes them an easy target for debate-me-bros to “own” Ben Shapiro style. Instead of having to dedicate years of your life to study political science, constitutional law, and history, you can just parrot talking points that are mostly intuitive. It’s a stupid person’s idea of being smart.
It’s not that the viral clips are cherry picked, it’s that the guests are.
The second reason is that these women encompass the downfall of modern society; they prove the point for the host and other panelists – I don’t need to tell you where we went wrong, you can just listen to these women dig themselves into a hole and struggle to get out. Most of these women are OnlyFans creators with seldom a single opinion outside their lifestyle. There are no moral principles or political theory guiding their life choices and worldviews, which makes them easy to dunk on. It’s not that the viral clips are cherry picked, it’s that the guests are. If this is truly the most nuanced dialogue we can have about modern dating culture, then God help us all.
My criticism of the Whatever podcast isn’t that the viral clips are cherry picked or are bad-faith interpretations of what women are saying on this podcast. That’s not actually the case – if you watch the clips in context, in their entirety, it doesn’t get much better, and that’s by design.
Recently, Atlas has had on some trad-cons that dunk on these women with ferocity, and rightfully so on many of their claims that sex work isn’t going to negatively impact women’s lives or their future children. Recently, however, Atlas met his match in a feminist panelist known as Lavlune on Instagram and @Phemoid on Twitter. She’s a content creator, singer, and anti-sexual revolution feminist. It’s important to dive into the nitty-gritty sections of feminism because there are many and they are profoundly different from one another. Lavlune keeps it simple and to the point when describing her particular brand of feminism in her Instagram bio: “Feminist, not the fun kind.” Their conversation produced some heated debate and caused a series of clips to take the internet by storm, as Atlas faced pushback from someone who could intellectually argue her case for the first time.
Brian Atlas Debates a Feminist Who Isn’t an NPC
Lavlune repeatedly butted heads with not only the host, but with most of the panel of OnlyFans content creators who sat beside her because of her criticisms of the sex industry. One clash came from another woman on the panel who responded to a male panelist asking her if she’s concerned about her future kids being made fun of in school for their mom having provocative content online. She responded with a very poorly thought out argument about how she was raised to be open minded and wants her kids to be raised the same way. She also cited her husband being 6’3” and huge as reasons her kids won’t be bullied.
Lavlune responds much more thoughtfully: “I don’t think it’s whether or not your kid is bullied or not or feels embarrassed, I think it’s seeing your mother in a compromising position adding to the way you view women is probably worse.” She then asks the content creator if she would want her daughter to do Onlyfans which is a much better way to get through to her. If you’re trying to get through to women who have commodified their bodies, men calling them disgusting isn’t doing a whole lot to change their worldview. Lavlune exercises empathy here and forces her to confront the possibility of teaching her daughter to view herself as a sex object.
Lavlune spoke about life after sex work and the difficulties that that entails: “I think that a lot of women don’t realize what comes after sex work, and it’s not great – you don’t get hired anywhere. Everyone has seen you naked. Imagine walking into a room with 100 people, and they’ve all seen you naked.”
Attempting to be dismissive of her comments, another panelist says that as women we all have the same body parts, to which Lavlune responds, “Sure, but there’s a very specific way in which men treat women who they’ve seen as sexual objects, and it’s not kindly.”
This is evidenced by the way most guests on this show are spoken down to and made fun of to their faces. Worse than this, however, is the way they treat themselves for going along with it, participating in their own self-flagellation. Lavlune is the first guest to exhibit any sense of self-awareness about this. She exposes the thin veneer the show operates under brilliantly in her commentary about the show’s underlying motives. After asking all of the women to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 (every woman besides Lavlune rates themself the obligatory 10/10), Lav quips, “I’m going to be super irritating and disagreeable, but I don’t think that encouraging women to give themselves a value rating based on their looks is conducive with feminism, so I’ll have to pass.”
As if that weren’t “based” enough, she shot down the misguided suggestion from her fellow female panelists that “everyone is beautiful.” She said, “There are certainly people who are not beautiful, I just don’t think that we should value looks over other things.” She acknowledged the objective reality of beauty and ugliness and that people don’t exist on an even playing field of aesthetics. “I hate this movement like ‘everyone is beautiful, everyone is sexy.’ There are other things that you can be – like being sexy and being beautiful is so useless.” That was when Atlas began to challenge her, insisting that women derive tremendous value from their external beauty, which gets them far in life. Lavlune pointed out that it’s useful in the first half of a woman’s life, but not so much in the second half.
Terrible “Gotchas” Disguised As Arguments
A big problem I have with the “gotchas” on this podcast is that they don’t actually make any points, but they think because they can “own” a sex worker who can't argue clearly, that makes them smart. This is evident in the way Atlas and many of the featured guests on the show doing the “owning” try to make false equivalences. While claiming to believe that men and women are different, they ultimately reveal they don’t genuinely believe this to be true and instead expose an innate belief in egalitarianism when it’s convenient for them. If men and women are different, they should live by different standards and be treated differently. In one breath, Atlas will try to assert that men and women are biologically different (correct), hence why men can judge women on their body count, but the second this affects men in a negative light, you’ll notice the shift from traditionalism to egalitarianism in the way he complains about female hypergamy and the fact that women aren’t drafted in wars. Suddenly, women should act and be treated like men.
The entire premise of the show is to bring on uneducated, not self-aware women so everyone can laugh at them.
For example, Lavlune tried to explain that there’s a different social zeitgeist of women being sexualized than there is for men, but it would be a lot more convenient for Atlas’ points to pretend that men and women are equally seen as objects of lust. This reminds me of the silly viral clips I often see of this show where the host thinks he’s uncovering some revelatory hypocrisy in the women when they say their height preference in a man and it’s always something significantly taller than themselves. He then asks them what their height is, and they respond it’s something rather petite like “5’2”. This is supposed to be evidence that they’re holding men to a double standard. This is such a genuinely cringe point I can’t believe that it was serious. A double standard would be a woman demanding that a man be of a certain height but being offended if he prefers her to be a specific weight. That would at least be comparing two things that are comparably valued by the sexes. To pretend that men care that a woman is shorter than them is to be disingenuous.
The Objective of These Podcasts Is To Laugh at How Far Women Have Fallen
Lavlune exposes the true nature of the show when she explains she won’t rate herself because she rejects the reason he’s asking the question: to laugh at them. “You bring these women on to laugh at them, for the chat to laugh at them, and I object to that,” she said. Brian inevitably tried to allege that she’s strawmanning him, but she held her ground, and said, “That’s not a strawman, baby, that’s what you do.” Atlas even goes so far as to argue that the show invites a range of personalities to engage in long form discussion over four to five hours where they flush out the nuances of modern dating. Sorry, but if there’s ever been an all-encompassing word to describe this dating podcast, it’s definitely not “nuanced.”
The women around her appeared offended, but she reiterated that the entire premise of the show is to bring on uneducated, not self-aware women so everyone can laugh at them. She references the FreedomToons cartoon that makes this same commentary about the show – painting the host and other featured guests with an inflated sense of their own intelligence calling random Instagram models and OnlyFans content creators stupid by pointing out things that are extremely obvious. Lavlune nailed the plausible deniability Atlas tries to maintain by allowing others to do the dirty work for him, whether it be baiting the chat to make fun of the panelists after they self-rated themselves as 10s or whether it be other guests calling the women unmarriageable for having high body counts. He uses them as a proxy for his own views, but isn’t comfortable enough asserting them himself.
Lavlune also criticized the sadistic glory men who watch the show revel in when they ask women to describe if they have regrets being in the sex work industry. When a superchat comes through asking the women if they think they will regret it, Lavlune advised them not to answer it because they’re only baiting them into participating in “torture porn” and instead they should only confide in other women about it, which is solid advice.
When it came to debating issues that affect men and women, you might have come away thinking Lavlune was the one with a traditionalist view of gender roles. Atlas will wax philosophic about how women are only attracted to the top 20% of men, but then when pressed on why this is a problem, he comes up short on a solution. Should women deny their biological imperatives to properly select a mate that will help them raise the future generation of children? This is gold considering a large portion of the podcast is spent criticizing women who become fixated on low character men. Apparently, women simultaneously need to lower their standards and choose better men.
He also denies the biological reality that men are more sexually aggressive because they have higher rates of testosterone, which is why they make up the vast majority of violent crimes including rape, sexual assault, and homicide and are imprisoned at overwhelmingly higher rates than women. I’m unsure why he insisted on denying this reality and pulling a #NotAll when that’s precisely the sort of lack of self-awareness the show criticizes women for having. Instead of accepting the data for what it is, he ironically got emotional about it and started ranting about how “most men are good, decent men that would never do something like that,” as if that’s a rebuttal.
Even though I ultimately disagree with some of her points, Lavlune repeatedly shot down each of Brian Atlas’ arguments with ease, revealing what many of us already knew to be true: “Destroying” strategically selected Instagram "models" and OnlyFans creators does not make you smart. We should stop promoting any media that fans the flames of resentment between men and women. We complement one another – we are not meant to be adversaries.
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