'No Nuance November' TikTok Trend Started as Reaction to Popular Right-Wing Trend

If you've scrolled through TikTok since the beginning of the month, you may have come across videos of people sharing hot takes on a variety of issues, taking part in a trend called "No Nuance November." But, believe it or not, the trend began as a reaction to a popular right-wing meme known as "No Nut November." (A word to those unfamiliar: No Nut November is a viral challenge, in which people abstain from masturbation or sex, for debunked health reasons or as a show of self-control.)

For the No Nuance November trend, a number of TikTokkers have shared their mostly benign hot takes. Author and social media personality Hank Green gained over 3 million views when he shared a No Nuance November post explaining how he believes that drinking juice isn't healthier than drinking soda.

Green and many others have used TikTok's stitch feature to include a description of the challenge ("Post your hot takes with no context and run") by a user named @ediblesrex, who rapid-fired a bunch of hot takes touching on a variety of subjects, including "becoming a social media celebrity before 21 will give you brain damage."

While many people have used the hashtag and trend to offer takes on mundane subjects, the person who seems to have started it—a 22-year-old college student named Tomás who has the username @abolish_ice—began the trend on November 2 to share opinions about leftism and political ideology.

While Tomás doesn't get into the right-wing ideology surrounding No Nut November in their first video, they do position the clip as a direct response to that meme. "Y'all know No Nut November? I'm gonna do No Nuance November," they said in the first video, explaining that they intended to post a one-sentence hot take per day for the month, sans nuance and with no further discussion in the comment section.

"I just wanna be inflammatory," Tomás said before posting their first hot take, which was simply: "The only good cop is a dead cop, and not just in the U.S."

Some other hot takes they've shared are things like "Objectivity doesn't exist. If it did, it still wouldn't be good to seek out" or "Fatphobia is rooted in anti-Blackness." Despite mostly keeping with the theme of delivering short hot-takes, Tomás does occasionally expand on their takes in follow-up TikToks or offer slightly more context with things like recommended reading.

Tomás said that they'd been trying to share similar sorts of ideas on TikTok before, but they started the trend as a joke after suggesting it to mutuals in a group chat. "I purely just thought [No Nuance November] would be funny to have a little bit of a personal challenge of getting my hot takes, without feeling the need to write paragraphs about it, or a mini-essay about it every time," Tomás told Newsweek in a phone call.

Tomás explained that one of the more rewarding aspects was "not having to hold people's hands through topics" and get them actually involved in the conversation. "I originally intended it to just be a funny and inflammatory thing, just to give takes that I think will get people—to get views, 'cause it could be controversial. What it turned into is that I could give these takes, and I'd see a lot of people commenting that they were actually trying to do the work themselves, to think about it critically and do research themselves," they explained.

While No Nuance November has little in common with the meme No Nut November besides the names being similar, Tomás' method of promoting discussion around leftist ideology is a clever subversion of the right wing meme, even if that's not how they meant it. "In leftist circles, no one even really jokes about No Nut November, because it seems like a dumb, very masculine joke to be making. I don't know if I intended it to be [a subversion], but I think it's interesting: I've started seeing it more recently encroaching into the right-wing spaces to talk about No Nuance November instead, and maybe it could be better for them to be doing that than No Nut November," they said.

Despite mostly being framed as a simple meme, joke or challenge encouraging abstinence or celibacy from masturbation or sex throughout November, No Nut November has become something of a misogynistic far-right staple. While most may see it as an opportunity to not let themselves be distracted by sex or masturbation during the month, the stance against masturbating has, like so much else in our culture, become politicized. "There's a real and concerning connection between the far right, racism, white nationalism, and anti-masturbation or anti-porn beliefs," Vice reported in 2018, noting that groups like The Proud Boys have spoken out against masturbation.

As The New Statesman points out, many people in forums, Discord servers and subreddits for No Nut November often use sexist and misogynistic language.

Porn site xHamster also posted that some of the ideology rooted in the No Nut November community was rooted in "anti-gay, anti-woman, [and] anti-semitic blogs," after people attacked the porn site for making light of the trend with mock hashtag campaigns. Threats to xHamster said things like "Pornographers must die." The site also pointed out that the images used to attack it could be traced back to a forum claiming to belong to "a group of Right-Wing advocates of freedom & liberty."

It was no surprise to find that the so-called #NoFap movement had its roots in anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-semitic blogs. pic.twitter.com/NAbkkaM4pX

— xHamster (@xhamstercom) November 6, 2018

As No Nuance November may end up providing a new outlet for some right-wing groups, Tomás said over the phone that some of the takes they've seen coming from the right for No Nuance November are alarming.

"I think it's troubling for the right wing to give no-nuanced takes, especially when it gets more fascist-leaning. It's very typical to lean into simple, more fear-based stuff," they said, also arguing that many people on the left have been offering more "thought-provoking takes."

But the idea of No-Nuanced takes has expanded beyond Tomás' initial idea, and beyond politics even. It now includes not only right-wing beliefs, but also sillier takes like Hank Green's about juice vs. soda. Tomás said that they think the joke-y ideas are fun, but they'd like people to acknowledge the trend's origins a little more.

"I don't necessarily care about attaching it to my name," the said. "I think it's really important to see the roots of it as being in a political sphere, just 'cause I'm interested in obviously expanding leftism—but I think it's fun, ultimately."

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In this photo illustration the logo of Chinese media app for creating and sharing short videos TikTok, also known as Douyin is displayed on the screen of a smartphone on September 18, 2020 in Paris, France. Getty/Chesnot