GIRLS ON TOP - COMEDIC FEMINISM

By Amy Poulston
Published: JANUARY 27, 2014
Capilano Courier


The Golden Globes kicked off the awards season with the amazing and hilarious Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as hosts. These two wonderful women, SNL alums as well as vocal feminists, are part of a trend in recent years of women taking the reins from men as hosts for award shows. After Ricky Gervais’ cringe-inducing 2012 stint at the Golden Globes, Fey and Poehler were a welcome change in 2013 and were so well received that they were invited back this year to once again give a great show and cause the highest ratings for the Golden Globes in 10 years. Ellen DeGeneres continues this trend by hosting the Academy Awards on March 2, after both Seth MacFarlane and Billy Crystal were criticized for their poor performances in the past two years – Crystal for being boring and MacFarlane for being sexist. As a feminist and vocal advocate for equal rights – seriously watch her talk about Bic pens for women – Ellen De- Generes will join Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in showing the world, and roughly 80 million viewers, that not only can women be funny, they can help spread a feminist viewpoint.

On Jan. 12, Fey and Poelher’s opening monologue contained numerous jokes that can be seen as feminist. Examples of these include their pride in women’s sexuality when Poehler remarked, “Master’s of Sex is the degree I got from Boston College.” Fey’s jab at Matthew Mcconaughey’s heavily publicized weight loss of 45 pounds for Dallas Buyers Club that was “what actresses call ‘being in a movie,’” and a look at Hollywood’s obsession with youth when Fey pointed out that roles for mature actresses other than Meryl Streep are rare. These may seem like witty lighthearted quips but they act as so much more by helping to shed some light on the inequality that still plagues our society.

I would like to think I’ve always been a feminist but that isn’t true. At first, I was too young to know what feminism was, never mind the differences in anatomy. Then, after that, came the clusterfuck that is puberty. I won’t bore you with endless excerpts from my awkward teen years,but I like to think that after the needless yearning to conform that is adolescence diminishes, most rational minds begin to recognize that our society is fairly skewed. That being said, if I had a tuna roll for every time someone asked me why women’s rights are actually an issue, I’d probably be dead from mercury poisoning – or perhaps radiation.

For me, it was only after I took my first women’s studies class in post-secondary that I truly began to grasp the scope of just what the heck was going on in our society. I found myself questioning things a lot more and exclaiming, “What the hell?!” over things I wouldn’t have previously thought twice about. Notable revelations include how women are called sluts while men are praised for being players, how gender roles make it abnormal for women to find “male” activities interesting, and how women are literally told that they cause their own rape.

But in all of this negativity, there are still small steps forward to celebrate. In the past few years there has been a rise in “body positive” advertising, a growing awareness of the negative effects Photoshop is having on our body image, and widespread discussion about abortion rights in the United States.

Part of the problem is that feminism has a bad reputation which causes women and men who already believe in equality to say, “I’m not a feminist but...” due to society’s perception of the word. Some celebrities, such as Katy Perry at the 2012 Billboard Women in Music Awards, are actually scared of publicly identifying as feminists since presumably it might damage their image. The misconception is that feminists are anti-men, when in reality they’re just pro equality, which I think most normal people already agree with. For example, most people would agree that women should be paid the same amount as men for doing the same job, but U.S. senators are still voting down an equal pay bill that asks for equal wages, despite the fact that paying women equally would not only reduce poverty but jump-start their economy.

It’s crazy that women are the majority of the population yet it is men that overwhelmingly hold the positions of power and make the decisions for the rest of society. Not to mention that these men are almost all affluent, heterosexual, white males, which closes the spectrum of bias even more. I believe that if we support equality for women, then we are moving one step closer to equality for everyone in our society, whether they are different races, sexual or gender identities, disabilities, and so on.

Feminism isn’t about being against anything, but rather starting conversations to spark positive change in the way society views women. The fact that we have funny and strong females like Fey and Poehler, among a plethora of others, is a great start to a conversation that needs to happen.

Russell Poulston 2013