Tag Archives: body image

Socially Conscious Comedy Part I: 3 Important Feminist Issues That Amy Schumer Humorously Highlights

I realize Amy Schumer isn’t for everyone. She’s pretty crude, and some of her sketches shift suddenly from funny to uncomfortable.

She also hasn’t done the greatest job approaching intersectionalism through her humour. While she humbly apologized for racially inappropriate jokes that she made in the past, she recently missed the mark again with race jokes in her movie, Trainwreck. That said, I think Schumer offers some fantastic socially conscious comedy. She’s created a niche as a funny feminism, and has drawn attention to some really important women’s issues through her jokes. Below, I’ve outlined a few of the difficult issues that Schumer addresses on her show.

1) Rape

Rape is never funny. However, the way Western society often responds to rape is an absolute joke. Schumer has perfected the socially conscious ‘rape joke’, not by downplaying the seriousness of the violent crime, but by mocking the ridiculous social circumstances that allow rape to go unpunished.

In “A Very Realistic Video Game”, Schumer draws attention to the way female military officers rarely see justice after being assaulted by a fellow officer.

Similarly, her sketch titled “Football Town Nights” looks at the way athletes’ celebrity status has led entire towns to defend young rapists as though they were victims rather than perpetrators .

2) Internalized Misogyny

There are a lot of ways women police ourselves. We try not to be too cocky, or too naggy, or too loud and obnoxious, or too vain. We are taught to police these behaviours because they will make us less likeable, less dateable, or an embarrassment for our significant others.

Sketches like, “I’m Sorry” or “Compliments” draw attention to the pressure women feel to act coy, even in situations where their male counterpart would be encouraged to be confident.

Meanwhile, “I Have a Boyfriend” and “Hello Mi’Lady” highlight the way women can be manipulated into accepting unwanted advances, since ignoring or rejecting them is considered “bitchy” or “cruel”.

3) Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Schumer regularly takes on unrealistic beauty standards, especially those that target female celebrities.

Her parodic music video, “You don’t need make-up,” mocks (most) men’s misconception of what ‘natural beauty’ actually looks like.

Meanwhile, “Schumerenka vs. Everett” highlights the way women are expected to sustain a certain type of look, even in the athletic world. This is a problem recently highlighted by a racist/sexist New York Times article that framed Serena Williams as masculine, and even animalistic for her physical strength

With her recent rise to celebrity status, Schumer has also experienced her fair share of body shaming. At her first audition, for example, she was told to “either lose weight or gain a bunch of weight” in order to secure a role as either “the fat friend or the romantic lead.” She has also been targeted by Twitter trolls for being “too fat”. Recently, she dedicated an entire episode to these trolls, by having men on her show debate if she was actually hot enough to be on TV.

Rape, misogyny and beauty standards aren’t just ‘lady problems’, they are societal problems. These issues matter, and I’m glad Amy Schumer is drawing attention to them via her show. I’m also glad Schumer approaches these issues with a sense of humour. Humour has a powerful way of helping us self-examine ourselves, and think more deeply about problems we might have dismissed if they hadn’t made us laugh.

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The Human Barbie, Hairy Armpits, and Beauty Modifications

We’ve touched on beauty quite a few times here on CWR. We’ve celebrated when France banned beauty pageants for kids, dedicated a round table to discussing the idea of beauty and its changing standards, and, in The (Inner) Beauty Problem, even asked why we try to attribute beauty to everyone rather than giving more weight to other attributes.

So why does “beauty” as a topic come up so often? Well, probably because it’s a question that gets thrown at us every day through advertising. I for one, get this ad popping up on my Facebook every few days.

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Frozen: The Power of a Pretty Dress

I’ve been reading a lot about Frozen lately, and not even intentionally. I mean I watched it intentionally, but it was when I was having a slumber party with my niece. Okay, fine. You caught me. My niece is now a teenager and we were watching it in spite of not being the age demographic they were aiming for. Seriously though guys, why are Disney movies so appealing? There are so many things I can hate on in this movie. Like how it features ANOTHER typical white, skinny heroine whose eyes are bigger than her wrists.

Okay fine, I see you Jasmine… and Mulan.. and Pocahontas… and Tiana, but they’re still all skinny!

Or how the head of Frozen‘s animation shared about how difficult it is to animate female characters because you have to keep them pretty all the time.

Man that is tricky. I mean, they’re just all such unique characters.

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Culture War Correspondence: The Internet’s Disenchantment with Jennifer Lawrence

KAT: Friends, readers, earthmen, lend us your eyes for another Culture War Correspondence. This week Evan and I will be discussing Jennifer Lawrence. It may sound like a broad topic, but maybe Evan can expand for us why she recently came to his attention.

EVAN: Well, in general there’ve been a number of articles, like this one on Salon, that hint at an impending wave of internet backlash towards J-Law [I will not be referring to her like that again]. This has been backed up by comments on popular image hosting website imgur that sum up to, “still?” and/or “okay, we get it.”

But before we really delve into all of that I think it’d be good if we both answered the question: How do you feel, generally, about Ms. Lawrence?

KAT: Well, I’ve written about her in the past and my opinion tends to be generally the same. She seems authentic to me, and while I realize no one can be truly authentic in the public eye, I enjoy seeing a celebrity in the news that I can relate to.

How about you? Continue reading