Yes, I intend to verbalize feminist. I’m sure some people will complain. I don’t care. Comedians and satirists have a different take on feminism. A feminist without a sense of humor probably won’t like me. Because I make jokes, and I’m pretty promiscuous when it comes to grammar. I’ll do sex jokes with comma splices. Blond jokes. Stripper jokes. I’ll make jokes about anything. The art of humor is all about poking fun at stereotypes and making people loosen the fuck up about things like injustice, death, and even rape. That’s a tricky one, but you can make it work if you mock the rapist, or rape culture, and not the victim. (Never the victim.) Our goal is to say offensive things in a friendly way. Breaking taboo clears the brush away for real conversations.
My views on feminism and humor have changed the past few months. For a while, I wouldn’t say or write some jokes. I was worried about sounding anti-feminist. Nowadays, I’m like fuuuuck it. Tweet the abortion pun! Thanks, Twitter. Before my awakening, I thought it was important to point out every single instance of possible sexism online, in video games, and conversation. It made me so lame. Don’t get me wrong. Sexism exists. But at some point you have to lighten up and joke about shit. That’s what I do on Twitter. Not everybody understands that. For example, here’s a joke I made on a hashtag:
Here’s the anatomy of my joke. Yeah, it’s a tired trope that strippers come from broken homes. Jokes usually hinge on spinning a stereotype, though, pushing it to a new or ridiculous extreme. It’s funny to picture a stripper sighing, “There’s my goddamned fake dad again. Sunrise, will you handle him for me?” Whoops, I think I just made a joke about stereotypical stripper names. Anyway, back to my main point. There’s a difference between riffing on an obvious stereotype and actually perpetuating one. Stereotypes are a humorist’s repertoire. Without stereotypes to bust, I think we’d be out of jobs. That’s why we all secretly hope for the world to continue getting worse. In heaven, there’s nothing to joke about. Now, you can go too far. For example, I could’ve tweeted:
- My abusive ex-boyfriend beat the shit out of me. #StripperWorkExcuses.
- I was rushed to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. #StripperWorkExcuses.
- Woke up in a dumpster downtown and had to hitch rides back home. #StripperWorkExcuses.
Those are also stereotypes. But they’re not funny. Why? Because they paint grim pictures of people in actual suffering. They’re not playful, or light-hearted. They’re designed to hurt. I don’t truck in that kind of humor. Not at all. However, I’ll type them out as examples of what not to do. I’m no angel, after all. I’ve made a pact with this blog to always say what I think and not hold back.
Now, here’s another joke I made that got infinitely more likes:
This one doesn’t rely on stripper tropes, just a verbal pun. But wait. Maybe that tweet offended people with back problems. I don’t know. Maybe. But nobody with back injuries jumped on me for lazy stereotypes. I’m sure out of 400 people, someone has thrown their back out at least once.
There’s no pleasing everybody. A couple of times, people have even complained to me for “bragging about your sexual encounters on purpose to people who are involuntarily celibate.” Look, I’m truly sorry you can’t have sex. But I’m not forcing you to read my blog, or my tweets. Don’t try to silence me because you don’t like what I say.
A few self-righteous men have tried to explain feminism to me. “Actually, what you’re doing isn’t proper feminism,” one person wrote over email. “You should stop arguing about the wage gap and focus on gender oppression in The Middle East.” Well, you know what happens when middle-class white women like me start tweeting about the veil in Iran? Muslim feminists rightly tell me to fuck off. What business do I have lecturing the Muslim word on hijab when I can’t even address sexism in my own country? It’s a perpetual Catch-22. Someone is always telling me how I should or shouldn’t feminist.
You know what’s almost as bad as an alt-right troll? A social justice warrior. SJW. I used to think that was a harsh term. But I’ve been “attacked” by Taylor Swift fans and sex workers alike for my jokes. I get it now. I understand that SJW’s are people who troll comedians like me. Not because they’re interested in real social change. Nope. They want to feel good about themselves. Honestly, do you think harassing comedians–not the ones passing discriminatory laws–is doing anyone any favors? I suppose there’s always an argument about consciousness-raising. Does pissing off amateur comedians count as that?
So these SJWs. They took me to task for making fun of women, when we should stand together. “You can do better, girl!” Look, cool it. Feminism doesn’t forbid you from making jokes. In fact, feminism should prevent you from nothing you want to do. The way I see things, the best feminists minimize the time they spend correcting other people’s behavior. Nobody ever responds well to criticism, especially not assholes. I’ve learned that as a teacher.
I’m an advocate of protests. The marches and movements against Trump and his cabinet go well beyond simple criticism. When we protest, we aren’t criticizing individuals. We’re voicing dissent, and showing solidarity against those who clearly hold views we oppose. Attending a protest is a worthwhile investment of your time. But don’t cheapen your participation in a movement by bitching about people who didn’t join you. That’s just bullshit.
As someone told me this past year, “Don’t ever let an ism stop you from doing something you want to do.” People who use feminism to tell other women how to behave are just one or two steps above sexists. That’s not the brand of feminism I signed up for.
If you want to be a stripper, great. Go for it. I’m not going to lecture you on how you’re perpetuating sexist stereotypes by taking off your clothes to entertain the male gaze. Your body is yours to do with what you please, and you don’t even need me to tell you that. I’m just telling you that I respect it. If I really wanted to insult strippers, I would go to a club and whisper passive aggressive compliments in their ear during lap dances. “Wow, you look so much better tonight for some reason. New makeup routine? Did you throw up this morning? It’s really working for you.”
But I don’t do that. I just play hashtags and speak my mind on my blog. So if you come over here looking to condescend or make yourself feel good at my expense, you’re wasting your time. Ain’t gonna happen.