So first of all let's start with the F-words "flavourlicious" and "frickin' amazing!" to describe the Baskin Robbins ice-cream cake Christy, Kiran, Heidi and I had a go at demolishing on the weekend. It had eight different flavours - one in each slice - and has by far been the most popular of my posted photos on Facebook :) As far as I can remember, the flavours were mint choc-chip, strawberry cheesecake, raspberry mousse, 'Mother's specialty', green tea, almond 'bon bon', shooting star (pop rocks in bubble gum flavoured ice-cream) and blueberry cheesecake (I could be wrong though). Yummy! Even though we didn't quite manage to finish it. (I don't have an 'after' photo - it was too sad!) And a great way way to celebrate my last weekend in Korea with my KBFF (II)^^
Oh and just 'cos it's a nice picture ... :)
Anyway, on to the main point - I found an interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald (anyone remember my rant against "dumb bitch" female comedians?). I haven't seen material by all of the female comedians mentioned, but it's a good point and I guess not too far from the Slutwalks issue either. I'm actually kind of interested in going to the forum and hey, it's getting to the stage where I can actually plan on following through on events like this :) Anyone keen on joining?
Putting the fun into feminism
February 11, 2012
|Pushing the boundaries ... not everyone is amused by Margaret Cho.|
''The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.'' Dorothy Parker
Women marched across London in December to protest against a matter of great concern to the female population. They were defending muffs: big, bouffant ones. The Muff March was against the pornography-influenced obsession with removing pubic hair and the rise in cosmetic gynaecological surgery. Some people came dressed in nude body suits adorned with cheerful patches of pretend pubic hair and signs that read: ''You've got my chuff in a huff.''
As she also writes in How to Be a Woman, ''We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29 per cent of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42 per cent of British women - I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Vogue by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit get on your nerves? Or were you just drunk at the time of the survey?''
Greer and Naomi Wolf will appear at the Opera House next month for The F-Word, a panel discussion that poses the question: is feminism is a dirty word?
''We tried hitting them over the head with it, we tried burning our bras, we tried engaging in an intellectual polemic and now we're trying it with humour. We're always attacking in different ways,'' Deveny says.
When she started doing stand-up comedy in the early 1990s, ''there were comedians and then there were female comedians''.
Challenging people with her views on race, gender, beauty and sexuality is how American comedian Margaret Cho wins over audiences. For her, feminism is a no-brainer. ''Feminism is my life! It's who I am,'' she said in a 2009 interview. ''For me, it's just a logical way to be. It's the way I approach everything. I guess I approach everything as a feminist first and then I'm thinking about racial issues and then I'm thinking about queer issues.''
She's not the only female comedian pushing the boundaries of taste. A recent New York Times article dissected Sarah Silverman's rape jokes: ''For a certain strain of stand-up, dating to Lenny Bruce, it's essential to talk about what's taboo … Ms Silverman belongs to this tradition, under the guise of a shallow bigot. What she proved is that there are areas of aggressive, shocking comedy where women could go further than men.''
But does humour have limits in the feminist argy-bargy, where there are deeply unfunny topics such as abuse and the oppression of rights and dignity?
''Humour is helping to broaden the feminist message … but there are some aspects that are pretty hard to joke about [such as] child sexual abuse, domestic abuse,'' says author and academic Catharine Lumby.
''They're not funny subjects but then again, when people who are working in these areas get together, it's fairly uncommon for them to not find things to laugh about. It's that pressure-valve thing and there is a resilience there that is sometimes expressed through humour.''
For Melbourne journalist and blogger Clementine Ford, humour has not helped her find a voice as a feminist but has delivered the message in an easy-to-swallow way.
''You have to make your approach palatable to people because the simple fact is, they don't respond to 'shrieking feminists','' she says.
''Humour is a way of making indifferent people side with you, like-minded people laugh and opponents get outraged. I feel like I gently poke fun at people who can't see the inequalities that exist in the world. And sometimes I roast them.''
Not everyone agrees.
In an article for the New Statesman last year, journalist Julie Bindel wrote: ''These 'fun feminists', who have little or no idea about the theory or practice of this movement, take advantage of the benefits that radicals have fought long and hard for, whilst contributing nothing. In fact, they are damaging to other women and are destroying progress won by those of us who do not weep when men disapprove of our views.''
Perhaps the debate ignores that feminism is not a one-size-fits-all theory. As Dux says: ''Communicating to ordinary women is how change comes about.''
And far from diluting all that feminism stands for, making 'em laugh is a powerful rallying cry. If feminism has a new voice, it is still stroppy, still strident, still passionate. But in being knicker-twistingly funny, there is hope, there is a fresh sense of camaraderie and most importantly, there is heart.
The F-Word feminist forum is at the Sydney Opera House on March 4.