This fanart is nice. Too nice for Lily.

Stained Glass | The NEW Top 10 Worst Lily Orchard Videos

Left-Hook
27 min readDec 10, 2022

Hopefully I don’t have to keep doing these, lest I run out of glass puns.

As 2022 winds to a close, I keep thinking about Glass Cannon and my increasingly waning satisfaction with said editorial. It’s not that I don’t like how it turned out, because I do. It was by far my favorite editorial to write and I stand by what I said in it, it’s just that…at this rate, I have no choice but to update it somewhat, and that’s why we’re here today.

See, most people remake their old content to demonstrate their growth or correct past mistakes. Here, however, my intent is to show the extent to which the opposite is true for Lily Orchard, at least since the last Top 10 was published.

Because…I want to say that her videos have gotten exponentially worse in the span of just a few months, but that almost doesn’t feel strong enough. It’s like watching somebody succumb to lead poisoning in fast forward.

So, a few things:

My opinions on her Best and Blandest videos haven’t changed substantially. What has changed is that I’ve even started enjoying her “best” videos less; her “good” videos aren’t as good as the bad videos are bad. The Blandest videos are just as boring and pointless as ever, though.

The major overhaul here pertains to the Worst list, which this time around will be made up of an all-new selection of videos with no repeats, with videos that I either missed/ didn’t include last time around with my opinion on them having soured since then, or videos that were released after I published the old list.

Where do these videos stand in relation to the old Worst List? It’s tough to say, but I will say that each entry on this new list is worse than the entry of the same number on the old list. So this #10 is worse than the old #10, this new #1 is worse than the old #1, and so forth.

One more thing: I think I neglected to establish this in the original countdown, but I actually used to watch Lily Orchard’s videos. I had heard that she was widely hated, heard that she was a trans woman of color, and since I was still in my progressive liberal phase I just assumed that’s where all of the hate for her came from. I binged all of her videos and blindly sung her praises for being “outspoken” and “telling it like it is”. What can I say, I was a volatile high school junior who hated their life and needed to see somebody else unleash all the rage that I wanted to but couldn’t.

(It’s funny because almost two years prior I had fallen into the Anti-SJW rabbit hole for that exact reason. I really need to stop looking for new content creators to follow whenever I’m in a “bad place”. They almost never hold up.)

Anyway, none of this means that I think Lily Orchard used to be good and just slipped in quality over time, because in retrospect, that isn’t the case at all. She always had the flaws I’ve come to hate her for, it’s just that I felt an aggressive need to defend her.

But not anymore.

So no, she isn’t so much one of those “content creators who lost their touch” as she is a grotesque amalgamation of media critic/ analyst tropes that took off in popularity during the early 2010s when they should never have seen the light of day. She never realized that Yahtzee Croshaw was playing a character, and the rest is history.

For the record, all these rules from last time still apply:

  • I’m not going to put a video on the Worst list just because Lily’s being a hypocrite in it, or else we’d be here forever. I can only bring up the hypocrisy if it’s not the ONLY thing making the video bad.
  • No joke videos (therefore disqualifying the April Fools videos).
  • No unlisted/private/deleted videos. They must still be publicly available on her channel, implying that she still stands by them.
  • On that note, videos from any time are on the table, but I will still be referring to Lily by her current name and gender identity.
  • If a video has a part two/three/etc., or some sort of rewrite, I am counting it along with the original.
  • NEW RULE: I am only talking about Lily’s videos. Mikaila’s video essays, though they are on the same channel, don’t count (even though I can think of a couple I’d like to add to the list).

With that being said, let’s begin.

10th WORST: This Wasn’t the Best MLP Episode, Straight People Need to Stop (Published October 4, 2019)

Well. That’s certainly a title.

So Lily gets several things wrong very quickly during this video, including saying that there’s no reason Applejack’s parents couldn’t still be alive despite them being all but outright confirmed dead for a long time, namely during “Apple Family Reunion”, when Granny Smith says “all the Apples are coming”, Applejack looks out a window to see two shooting stars, at the same time and parallel to each other, which were later confirmed to represent Applejack’s parents.

Anyway, a video about how Bright Mac and Pear Butter’s story could have been told better is all well and good, but it’s filled with so many unnecessary tangents and jabs. There’s the offhand remark about “progressive cartoons” killing gay characters, there’s the baseless assertion that if Bright Mac was replaced with Mrs. Cake then everybody would have called out the shallow nature of the romance… there is a lot of ranting about imagined homophobia in this video.

She also kind of misses the fact that the episode saying so little about Bright Mac and Pear Butter’s relationship is kind of the point, and the fact that all you get is idealized, sanitized snapshots of a relationship is supposed to drive home the tragedy. She just handwaves all of these points as “not real arguments”. Why? Because she says so.

And no, I have no idea what any of this has to do with “straight people”. If you think the episode is boring, just say that.

9th WORST: Finally! Some Good Freaking Cartoon Gays! (Published August 9, 2021)

If the title of this video feels a tad… objectifying, you’re not alone. This video, combined with some stuff Lily has said on her Tumblr, has left several people with the impression that Lily is a little too enthusiastic about representation to the point of fetishizing lesbians and people of color in particular.

Not in the more “traditional” way either, an even weirder way. She holds characters from marginalized groups to impossibly high standards. She scoffs at those people who holds up every instance of representation as “THE BEST THING EVER”, choosing instead to run each character through an impossibly long checklist of “good/ bad tropes” (a list that, as you’ll soon see, is really stupid), and if they’re even the slightest bit imperfect, they’ll fall from her good graces either immediately or eventually. If she doesn’t see a problem with a character right away, she will soon.

Whenever Lily decides to be “positive” about something, she’s either contradictory or passive-aggressive. When Lily approves of something she shouldn’t, she’ll make excuses. For instance, even though Raine Whispers isn’t *technically* human, their race is “close enough to humans”. ‘Course, if you REALLY want to see the extent of what she’ll make excuses for, just wait until the subject turns to Family Guy, but that’s neither here nor there.

But when Lily isn’t being hypocritical, she turns into that one parent who asks “why can’t you be more like your brother/sister/friend/etc.?”. Lily lacks the ability to be positive without terms and conditions. She can’t praise one thing without bashing something else. Lily even decides to designate an entire section of the video (around the ten-minute mark) as the “…unlike those OTHER shows” segment.

I used to wish that Lily would talk more about things she likes, thinking that it would help her stop being so grouchy. It did not.

Also Luz is actually bisexual but that’s a whole other can of worms.

8th WORST: Grading Gay Rep — We Shouldn’t Have to Settle for Scraps (Published November 30, 2020)

So what’s worse than Lily trying to praise LGBT+ representation and failing at it? Lily trying to criticize LGBT+ representation and failing at it!

In this video, Lily uses several different cartoons to illustrate what she considers “good’ and “bad” LGBT+ representation, dictated by this list:

It says “Lily Orchard’s Rules”, but she by no means considers these subjective.

Yes, it’s just as stupid as I said it was.

No regards for studio mandates, censors, personal taste, or anything of the sort. These are “the rules”. Follow them or else… well, just check out what I said last time about “Not Good Enough”.

The main problem is that Lily doesn’t even explain *why* these things are important. For her “humans only” rule, she just straight-up called anybody who didn’t see why it was so important a MAGA supporter (that’s what the “red hat” comment was about). Her main objection to killing off gay characters is “it’s overdone”, which isn’t a real reason for why something is bad (I’ll talk more about this someday).

But the weirdest part of this video isn’t even her audacity to declare herself the absolute authority on representation (she considers herself an authority even if she says she doesn’t), it’s her audacity to talk about shows she hasn’t actually watched. As of now, Lily has not actually watched the entirety of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power for herself. She might as well have graded Voltron: Legendary Defender and The Dragon Prince, she’d have just as much first hand knowledge and experience with the source material she’d be criticizing (i.e. next to none).

There are multiple reasons to not take Lily has seriously on the subject of creative writing, and this is only one of several hundred.

7th WORST: Let’s Talk About Internet Stalking (Published May 26, 2022)

So this is supposedly a callout video about Lily’s “stalkers”, which she takes some time at the beginning of the video to separate from “people who don’t like her or disagree with her”.

‘Course, that doesn’t preclude “having a bad take” from being the catalyst of Lily’s hatred for you, as was “Val’s” case, so that disclaimer was pretty much worthless.

In this video, she’s (supposedly) calling out a prolonged Internet harassment/ hate campaign spearheaded by a select few people for petty and vindictive reasons, which sounds nice except that the majority of this video is made up.

Poppy from (formerly known as) TGT never pretended to have a medical degree, and Vaush didn’t actually “harass two black women” (I’ll elaborate more on this some other time).

Lizzy ‘s big crime was “disclosing abuse”, because Lily was provably the abusive one in their relationship.

I could go on and on, about how Lily only ever attracts as much negative attention as she does by creating the rods for her own back, or how no, most of Lily’s “haters” don’t actually want her to kill herself, or how she pushes the provably untrue “bullies have low self-esteem” myth, but people have already picked apart this video enough (especially those who Lily talked about), so I’ll just leave this here and anybody interested in learning more can go from there.

Before we move on, one last fun fact about this video:

As I’m sure you noticed if you watched the video, Lily represented her “stalkers” with Innuendo Studios-esque avatars, all with little visual cues so these people know who they are (ex. glasses and a notepad for Poppy, a witch hat for Lizzy, and so on) even if the stand-in names throw most people off. But the avatar that caught people’s attention immediately was “Katie”, who I believe is supposed to represent SegaSister, the only one of Lily’s “stalkers” with Native ancestry. Keep that in mind, because in the final video the “Katie” avatar is pink, but this is what it looked like in the video’s planning phase:

Yes, I know that SegaSister’s ponysona is red, but…I dunno, a red shirt? A unicorn horn? Literally anything else?

Now, far be it from me to hold beta/ concept art against someone, but seeing how Lily gave Rebecca Sugar such a hard time over Concrete, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people held this against her forever.

6th WORST: Ships Have Discourse Now, Deal With It (Published February 23, 2020)

If you’ve been on the Internet longer than three minutes, you’ve probably ran into some sort of discussion about the distinction between fiction and reality, particularly the extent to which somebody’s fictional tastes and preferences affects or reflects their real-life behavior.

There are several schools of thought on this particular subject (I’ll go over where I stand some other time), but the school of thought held by Lily and several other people who consider themselves “progressive” is that fiction does affect reality, and does reflect the real-life tastes and behavior of those who create and consume it.

Lily jumps aboard that particular bandwagon hard in this video, where she claims that if you ship “problematic” pairings or like “problematic” characters, you will automatically carry this mindset into the real world and treat real people and relationships the same way.

But now it’s time to talk about one of Lily’s worst habits: accusing everybody who defends themselves against her baseless accusations of “cognitive dissonance” and “being in denial”. She saw how toxic and unproductive the “The Complainer Is Always Wrong” trope was back when it polluted old children’s entertainment, but she’s over-corrected.

Nowadays if you get called out on anything “problematic”, you need to shut up and accept it, lest you be called “defensive” (which is just how progressives say “triggered”, but again, that’s a discussion for another time). Any alternative explanation is automatically an “excuse”.

But my favorite part is when Lily derides people for being “insecure” while giving them every reason to be insecure. She says that anybody who gets defensive over people attacking their “problematic faves” is just insecure and afraid that they’ll get judged for what they like… while Lily is judging them for what they like.

“You mean you actually feel insecure over the thing I’ve made you feel insecure about? Have you tried scrubbing yourself clean of any possible objections and catering to my every whim?”

And she wonders why people call her an abuser.

5th WORST: Steven Universe Is Ideologically Rotten (Published August 2, 2019)

If I can just be honest with you guys for a second, I’m jealous that nothing I write will probably ever get as popular as ANY video where Lily rambles incoherently and ignorantly as Steven Universe, let alone her two-hour bombshell of a video essay.

The main problem with this video is that Lily misunderstands the idea of a metaphor, usually saying that Steven Universe has metaphorical depictions of things that are very clearly being depicted. How are Ruby and Sapphire a “metaphor” for homosexuality when they are so very clearly in a lesbian relationship that the show has faced censorship many times from other countries?

How are the Diamonds metaphorical abusers when they’ve literally abused Pink Diamond, doing things that would be considered abuse and neglect in any real-world context? Just because people say it’s a metaphor doesn’t make them right or any less unobservant.

But it’s the other side of the coin, Lily’s habit of grasping at straws and seeing things that aren’t there, that really takes center stage here because her mischaracterization of the Sardonyx arc is not only wrong, it’s obviously wrong.

There’s the minor issues, like the fact that fusion isn’t a metaphor for sex, it’s a metaphor for relationships of all sorts, making the assertion that Pearl’s actions in “A Cry For Help” are the Gem equivalent of sexual assault an “edgy fanfic”-level interpretation.

There’s also the fact that Pearl and Garnet being forced together in the shrinking room actually did need to happen, since it got Garnet to stop being overly stoic and closed-off (which has been an instrumental character flaw of Garnet’s since the beginning) and it got Pearl to stop her over-the-top bids for Garnet’s forgiveness and approval (which, again, is very in-character). In other words, it got Pearl and Garnet to stop being the worst and most uncommunicative versions of Pearl and Garnet for two minutes.

But the worst of it is when Lily says that the writers forced Garnet to forgive Pearl, referring to this scene here:

Now Lily saying that Garnet automatically forgave Pearl is hilarious, because even after all these years, I still remember how this conversation actually went:

Pearl: Please tell me! How can I make you forgive me?!

Garnet: You can’t! You lied to me! You need to learn that there are consequences to your actions!

Pearl: I’m sorry! I… I couldn’t help myself.

Garnet: I don’t want to hear your excuses!

*later*

Garnet: …You are your own gem. You control your destiny. Not me, not Rose, not Steven. But you must choose to be strong, so we can move forward. So I can trust you again.

Garnet didn’t immediately forgive Pearl. She didn’t automatically trust Pearl again. But now that they both have a better understanding of each other, they can (and did) move forward.

Lily’s assertion that Steven immediately forgave the Diamonds and accepted them into his life because “they’re still family, after all” is also false. Sure, during “Reunited” he says:

Steven: Please, the fighting has to stop. We aren’t enemies; we’re family. Please listen to me. I need you to know… WHO I AM!

But in the very next episode, “Legs From Here to Homeworld”, when the Diamonds are happy to see “Pink Diamond” again, he’s half-apprehensive and half-angry with them.

Steven: Centipeetle’s mind is broken. I’ve tried to heal her, but… It didn’t stick.

Yellow Diamond: Heal her?

Steven: But maybe you two can help her! You’re so much stronger than me, and… I got close!

Blue Diamond: Well, that’s not something we normally do…

Yellow Diamond: This is completely unprecedented.

Steven: But you did this to her! You have to help her — all of them!

He really only kept them alive out of necessity because

  1. He needed all the Diamonds alive in order to heal the corrupted Gems.
  2. Although this was never explicitly said in the show, I just want you, the person on the other side of the screen, to imagine what the Homeworld Gems would do to Earth if Steven shattered the other Diamonds, considering that the last war started because Homeworld thought the rebels had shattered ONE Diamond.

Are there ways the show could have been written better? Possibly. But that’s not what this is about. Lily insists that “forgiveness at all costs” is a theme aggressively pushed in Steven Universe when it isn’t. It just isn’t. At least, not in the way she says.

4th WORST: An Incoherent Discussion About Main Characters (Published May 25, 2022)

I need to know what Lily gets out of this beyond the satisfaction of kicking the fandom hornet nest. None of the communities she’s associated with in the past 2–3 years want anything to do with her, with the The Owl House subreddit in particular thoroughly despising her (which Lily hilariously takes some time to seethe about in this video).

Anyway, a few months prior Lily had published a video where she admitted that she couldn’t see how Amity had become a fan-favorite. She sort of chalked it up to people’s undying love for the Popular Mean Girl trope (ex. Diana Cavendish from Little Witch Academia) and the immediate potential for an Enemies to Lovers dynamic between Amity and Luz, but ended up just saying “I really don’t get it”.

But now, after months of research and speculation, it seems that Lily has finally arrived at her answer.

Racism!

Wait, what?

So yeah, the first half or so is Lily meandering around, repeating what she had said in her previous video about Amity, until about 8 minutes in when Lily goes off the deep end and accuses fans of The Owl House of being racist for liking white characters over non-white ones, while ignoring every other possible explanation as to why that could be the case. Then there’s some stuff about Star Wars that I only half-paid attention to on my first viewing because I was starting to fall asleep.

So you’re probably wondering what happened to Lily between July 2021 and May 2022 to reach the conclusion that Amity is popular because of white favoritism. Well, there’s an online content creator who goes by Stitch and primarily runs a blog called Stitch’s Media Mix (which I will almost certainly get around to discussing some other time). A while back, Lily discovered their blog somehow and it all went downhill from there.

Through their influence, Lily claims to have learned how racist and misogynistic fandom (yes, fandom, like it’s a person and not a group) really is. Even though Lily knew about Stitch for a few years before “An Incoherent Discussion About Main Characters”, it’s clear that they had an influence here, as well as some other black “fandom critics”.

That “The Problem With Preferences” meme that was on screen for a couple seconds when Lily first mentioned white favoritism? That was from Stitch, as was probably half of the script from the second half of the video, word for word. Most of the Star Wars section was probably inspired by The First Okiro, another black content creator and fandom critic that Lily has spoken highly of in the past.

If Lily’s such an “independent thinker”, why is she renting out her brainspace to any and every black content creator with a mediocre blog and an opinion? Hard to say.

3rd WORST: Stop Making Villains Like Magneto, They Suck (Published August 25, 2022)

So… couple of things…

  • She starts the video off mocking the idea that tropes are tools that “work if they’re done well” even though that statement isn’t really relevant to the rest of the video.
  • She’s not incorrect in saying that sympathetic villains can only be so sympathetic before you wonder why they‘re being portrayed as villains, but just as Lily is prone to doing at this point, this goes in a direction a first-time viewer couldn’t possibly see coming.
  • Then of course there’s the meat of the video, the idea that social reform villains are inherently a bad idea and only serve the status quo by vilifying those fighting for justice in real life… so who’s gonna tell her about the Black Lives Matter CEO?
  • Since when does Lily care about RWBY? Since it became convenient, I guess.
  • Pretty much the entire second half of the video is about The Legend of Korra, and it feels twice as long as the first half.
  • Oh look, it’s my favorite progressive trope: The constant use of “white” as a pejorative meaning ignorant, callous, and malicious (and if any of you come up to me saying that “it’s about getting white people to check their privilege and it’s “punching up” so it doesn’t hurt anybody or anything except for white people’s fragile feelings” I’m going to scream).
  • Not to mention that this is Lily Orchard, so she almost certainly got several crucial facts wrong about the source material she’s critiquing.

Look, I get that Lily has said in the past that the ends justify the means, but fiction is fiction (with some obvious exceptions, of course). It’s the perfect place to explore concepts like the limits of fighting for equality and justice, and how bad actors use these words and ideas as Trojan horses for their own agendas or even revenge plots. If we don’t accept the fact that people like that exist, we will become those people.

Lily can’t accept a world where being on the “Good Side” doesn’t automatically make you the good guy, and she needs everybody to convince her that she’s doing and saying the right thing, and that her heart is in the right place. And if you won’t do that for her, prepare your anus for a twenty-minute hitpiece where she twists your words to make you look like a fascist apologist or something along those lines.

2nd WORST: The Historical Revisionism of “Modern Standards” (Published November 28, 2022)

Lily only knows how to make two types of videos: the boring, derivative ones that bring nothing new to the table, and the morally reprehensible ones that exemplify how toxic she really is. Typically, after a string of a couple of especially terrible videos, the next few videos of hers will be the blandest, most milquetoast shit you’ll ever see, like her video on Star Wars and the Dark Side. Then, when she gets her energy back, the cycle repeats.

With that in mind, let me tell you a funny story: this editorial was supposed to come out after Christmas to account for all the videos Lily released this year. But this video changed my plans entirely, mostly because it’s so awful, so ideologically rotten, that she has to be burned out for the rest of the year. Hopefully.

On the surface, this video appears to be addressing the idea of problematic media being “a product of its time”. That’s how it starts, but over time it becomes more of a discussion about how “fandom” deals with problematic media in general.

The video begins with Lily talking about Gone With the Wind and being literally factually inaccurate in the process (the book takes place during 1861, before the Ku Klux Klan existed, so whoever the book was portraying sympathetically, they weren’t Klan members like Lily said).

Anyway, her main point is that saying the book/ movie was a “product of its time (the 1930s) is historical revisionism because the book was always considered problematic- by black people, that is. But their protests fell on the deaf ears of white people who mindlessly consumed the romanticized depiction of slavery and didn’t care what black people thought. ‘Course, if they were trying to erase the history of black people criticizing the book/ movie, they didn’t do a very good job, did they?

She then rags on Rocky Horror Picture Show some more (if you want to know more about what she thinks of the movie and its cultural impact, watch “Slurred Speech”… if you dare), this time to say that its transphobia, much like the racism of Gone With the Wind, was always under fire from the affected group- this time trans women. She then weirdly insinuates that Marsha P. Johnson didn’t start the Stonewall riots and- wait, hold up.

Listen at around 3:02.

“… {trans women} didn’t really much care for this kind of portrayal, but why do you never hear about that? Well, it’s pretty simple: cis gays didn’t care. They just didn’t care. It was a film that had all the decadent fucking around- and rape- they could ever want and they got to dance around to some shitty songs which- as is still the case today- is the only thing some of us care about apparently…”

Excuse me, what did you just say?

Cis gays didn’t care. They just didn’t care. It was a film that had all the decadent fucking around- and rape- they could ever want…

So Rocky Horror Picture Show had all the… rape… that cis gays could ever want.

Implying that they inherently enjoy rape.

There’s, uh, some stuff to unpack here.

Look, I get it. Some cis gays can be incredibly and illogically biphobic and transphobic, but to take your anger out on an entire group like this is like using a hand grenade to exterminate an ant colony… in your house.

Second of all, she hates portrayals of trans people that portray them as predators, seeing as that’s a common right-wing talking point. But if she knew anything about the history of social politics, she’d know that the “predator” label has been cast on EVERY group on the LGBT+ spectrum, not just trans people.

And there’s one more problem, but I’ll get to it in a bit.

The next portion of the video is Lily taking back the praise she gave to the genderfluid representation in Princess Knight and the trans representation in Stop!! Hibari-kun! and the Family Guy episode “Quagmire’s Dad” (told you that “imperfect” representation never stays in Lily’s good graces for long), saying that the former was even more steeped in gender essentialism than she had previously acknowledged to the point that the creator was pressured by radical feminists to rewrite the story.

As for the latter two examples, she acknowledges that even though she praised Stop! Hibari-kun!! and “Quagmire’s Dad” for humorously lampooning realistic depictions of transphobia, they might still be hard to watch for trans women who have had to go through these sorts of things, including being assaulted, asked invasive questions, accused of being “deceitful”, etc.

And yes, you read that correctly. Lily only talks about trans women in this segment (she also did this while talking about Rocky Horror Picture Show). Not a single mention of trans men (let alone non-binary people) even though their experiences often overlap.

She then says that only the affected group gets to decide what is problematic or offensive. For instance, when it comes to Gone With the Wind, only black people’s opinions on the story matter. When it comes to Rocky Horror Picture Show, only trans people’s opinions matter.

Now, I’ve heard this a fair number of times, but the funny thing is that nobody who says this ever stands by it.

Does Lily trust Blaire White to speak on what is transphobic? Does Lily trust Dave Rubin to speak on what is homophobic? Either the answer is no, and the whole idea of “letting marginalized people speak for themselves” falls apart, or the answer is yes, and suddenly a lot of obviously and objectively bigoted rhetoric suddenly becomes… not that.

When I personally criticize identity politics, this is what I’m talking about.

Then the conversation shifts to “white fandom” (Stitch, what have you done? Wasn’t Lily unbearable enough before meeting you?) and how they apparently can’t handle critically dealing with problematic media, lashing out at marginalized people who tell them to do so. Lily pays lip service to the idea of “examining the media you love through a critical lens”, but if she had her way then refusing to engage with said problematic media ever again would be the next course of action.

Think about it. If Lily believes so strongly that problematic media is dangerous and that it affects reality, then what would be the difference between “I acknowledge that this is problematic, but I still like it” and “I like it and I won’t hear anything bad you have to say about it!”? When Lily says that you need to engage critically with media, she’s telling you to conform your tastes to be more “progressive” according to her perspective.

None of this has anything to do with the first half of the video, by the way.

She ends the video by saying that the only reason representation has improved is that people put pressure on content creators (again, check what I said last time about “Not Good Enough”).

When Lily says that she was on painkillers during the process of recording this video, I believe her. I only wish I had taken some before watching this.

WORST:

After “Not Good Enough”, I thought I had seen it all from Lily. After everything I’ve witnessed over the years- slander, threats, abuse, all while attacking people for doing the same things- I was convinced that my opinion of Lily could sink no lower.

Only with Nate Stevenson‘s help could Lily Orchard prove me wrong.

Let’s Talk About Abuse, Catfights, and Psychoanalysis Fallacies (Published August 16, 2022)

There’s at least 45,723 things wrong here, but one of my personal biggest issues is that I was honestly optimistic about this video upon its announcement. Given that Catradora from 2018’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is already a controversial pairing in several online circles, yet one with somewhat “solved” discourse, I expected this video to be derivative, yet fine.

All she really had to do was rip some talking points and quotes from the #Anti-Catradora tag on Tumblr without giving credit (her usual schtick), throw in some parallels to franchises she already talks about endlessly, and this could have been a serviceable yet unremarkable video.

Lily Orchard, to put it mildly, did not do that.

Watching this video for the first time was exactly like that feeling you get when you’re chewing soft food and you feel something crunch in your mouth. It’s jarring, uncomfortable, and all-around gross.

The video starts off… meh. Lily blames the toxicity of Catra and Adora as a couple on incels (for some reason) and men who get turned from seeing girls fight. Not sure where the whole “men” angle of this came from, considering that 2018’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is aimed at girls and the creator is a…

Huh.

Now, I’m not saying I know for a fact that Lily intended to do this video a long time ago but put it off, waiting for Nate Stevenson to come out as something other than female so she wouldn’t have to consider the possibility that women aren’t automatically better at writing female characters and lesbians aren’t automatically better at writing lesbian characters…

But I wouldn’t put it past her, that’s all I’m saying.

Then the video picks up, with Lily addressing the rumor that Nate based Catra on himself and Catradora on his relationship with his wife, leading people critical of the pairing to accuse Nate of being a wife-beater. Lily says that this is probably not the case, and you can’t necessarily tell everything about a creator from their art.

Sure, this could be read as Lily covering her tracks from Stockholm and calling Rebecca Sugar a fascist, but overall this is a good start. It almost feels like Lily maturing as a person. I was actually pleasantly surprised that she didn’t give in to the “This person wrote an abusive relationship, they must be an abuser!” hysteria.

And then about three minutes in, the video COMPLETELY shifts course and gets much worse.

She starts ranting about stories where abuse victims become abusers, saying that not only does the supposed overabundance of this trope in fiction not line up with the 30% statistic she got from…somewhere…but she even severely downplays that 30% number, saying that’s it’s probably much lower and they probably just factored in abuse victims being on edge and suffering from stress and anxiety, snapping at people, and immediately apologizing afterwards.

And here’s where we get to the meat of the issue: Lily genuinely(?) does not believe that abuse victims can become abusers, or even that their behavior “counts” as abuse. She says that sure, sometimes they lash out at people for no good reason, but it’s okay because bad things happened to them, and they’ll grow out of it in a couple of years so you just have to sit there and take it. She’s literally conditioning her (overwhelmingly young) audience to accept being treated badly by people who have suffered in the past… for the sole reason that they have suffered in the past.

What’s worse is that she doesn’t really set any boundaries as to what constitutes “normal after-effects of abuse”. If you’re in a relationship with someone who was a victim of abuse, how much should you put up with just because they’ve been through a traumatic situation? Being yelled at over nothing? Being hit during a sudden angry outburst? Something worse?

In case you missed it, Lily’s putting people with tragic backstories on pedestals in the same way she accuses others of doing. She’s excusing their actions in the same way she accuses others of doing. And she’s doing this in front of an audience of young teenagers who are just now learning how relationships work.

Keep in mind, she says all of this while also denying that abusive relationships can change their victims in any way at all. According to her, abuse victims NEVER go on to believe that how they were treated is normal, which is ALSO something she can’t possibly believe given the amount of times she’s put the “I was spanked as a child, and I turned out fine” crowd on blast.

Being contradictory and hypocritical is obviously far from Lily’s only running problem, but it’s at its worst in this video.

She thinks that every abuse victim magically knows that they are being abused, and that how they are being treated isn’t normal, which isn’t just untrue, it’s also potentially sexist because, statistically speaking, most men who are in abusive relationships have no idea that what they are experiencing is abuse.

But the sexism and gaslighting doesn’t stop there. She rounds out the video by saying that violence against women is heavily eroticized in media and fandom (when it’s actually widely considered one of the most unforgiveable things somebody can do, to the point where it’s often used an admittedly cheap way of establishing how evil a character is), and that women and only women are conditioned to accept abuse as a sign of love (statistics do not back this up at all).

Then the video ends with this weird trivia about how Beauty and the Beast was written for women trapped in arranged marriages to give them some hope that they could change their husbands into decent people, because the only other option was suicide.

Sure, I could rant about the insinuation that these women were better off killing themselves, and whether or not she thinks that about any other marginalized people, and how this is hypocritical given her stance on Canada’s recent assisted suicide provisions, but… I dunno. I’ve already unpacked my fair share of Lily’s unfortunate implications; there’s nothing more I can say. I can’t believe I used to look up to this person.

Oh, and she made sure to draw special attention to the fact that Sylvanas Windrunner’s “problematic” story arc in World of Warcraft was written by a sexual predator, so even her newfound character development of “you can’t know everything about an artist from their art” is hanging on by a thread.

Now, it doesn’t take a genius to recognize why Lily would make such a video, as Lily has

  1. Spoken at length about how she was brought up in an abusive household; how she was beaten, berated, sexually assaulted, and gaslit by her whole family, and now makes it her mission to stand up for people going through those exact things
  2. Been put on blast more than once for being abusive to friends, partners, etc.
Lizzy doesn’t says who she’s talking about, but she doesn’t need to.

Lizzy, Josh, Patch- these are just a few of the people to experience Lily’s toxicity firsthand. How much do you want to bet that Lily strung them along for years on some kind of hope that she would eventually get over the after-effects of her childhood abuse, that she would eventually stop lashing out at them over nothing, they just needed to be patient and go easy on her and actually, she’s not really doing anything wrong and they’re just victim-blaming her for having been abused herself?

Lily needs this to be true. She needs to surround herself with people she’s conditioned to think that abuse victims can do no wrong. She needs her online circle of sycophants who will never call her out on anything substantial, will tell her whatever she wants to hear even if it’s wrong, and will keep her exactly where she is, unless they can benefit from making her even worse. Meanwhile, she will continue sharing her uninformed, toxic, and even dangerous opinions, making her impressionable viewers dumber while doing untold damage to online discourse.

Here’s the thing: I don’t expect Lily to improve, as a content creator or as a person. Even in a hypothetical universe where she comes clean about everything she’s ever done and promises to improve in the future, I’ve just run out of reasons to trust her.

No, I’m not making any formal criminal accusations against her. I’m not calling for harassment or violence against her. But for her sake and everybody else’s, she probably shouldn’t be on the Internet. She’s caused more than enough trouble already.

To anybody who needs to hear this: It’s fine to like a content creator, it’s even fine to look to them for inspiration, but at no point should one person (or one group of interchangeable people) be your ENTIRE point of reference for opinions, advice, recommendations, and ESPECIALLY not personality traits. Yes, that includes me.

This hasn’t just been a fun editorial to write, it’s been an incredibly valuable learning experience. I hope to never be anything like Lily Orchard, whether or not I become a famous content creator in the future. I hope that something good comes out of having written this. No matter what, I’m glad to have gotten all of this off my chest.

Thanks so much for reading. Until next time, stay on the hook!

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Left-Hook

Welcome to my innermost thoughts. Enjoy your stay. She/They. Age 22. If you have any questions email me at Lefthookofficialblog@gmail.com