All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feminists Shouldn't Be Funny or Sexy?

The Guardian, a UK newspaper, has had a few new posts about Feminism. Particularly these posts are dealing with how feminism has evolved and what the core values/emotions behind such a movement should be. Elli Mae O'Hagan contends that feminism at its roots comes from anger. Anger from oppression and that this anger should be 'harnessed to create something better'.

"At its core, feminism should be angry" - Ellie Mae O'Hagan

O'Hagan in her narrative disapproves and faults those who try to push feminists ideals through mediums such as humor. According to O'Hagan when turning to humor and other mediums such as shows like Sex and the City are attempts to appease the masses. This is problematic in O'Hagan's view because as a feminist it is generally accepted that Patriarchy is what rules the masses and so to play into the masses is simply to play into the patriarchy that you are trying to dismantle.

Naomi McAuliffe, responds to O'Hagan by questioning how true this is. She brings attention to the history of political satire and alternative humor with being radical. She contends that to use humor is not to undermine the anger but can be used to amplify one's anger. Because of this McAuliffe calls the dichotomy of humor vs anger a false one. Joan Rivers is quoted in the article as saying, "Most female comedians will tell you, humor is not necessarily a way to get people to like you, especially men."

"Humor is not necessarily a way to get people to like you,
especially me." - Joan Rivers

I think McAuliffe is right to call a dichotomy of   humor and anger a false one. To make a joke does   not necessarily entail an attempt to appease the   patriarchy. Indeed I think O'Hagan fails to truly   recognize the power that humor and satire can   have. To be able to be successful as a comedian   one has to be informed, clever, witty, and quick on   their feet. Having these qualities can be   challenging for many men to handle and in fact is   not what is expected of a woman even today.   Female comedians are expressing these qualities   readily and by doing so are fighting against the   establishment.

I do think its important to take note that O'Hagan had a point in that those who are playing to appease the patriarchy certainly are not helping the feminist cause. However, I think there needs to be more than a cursory analysis of whether or not certain actions are doing this or not. 

If you want to read their positions more at length you can do so here and here.

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