Friday, December 10, 2010

Feminist Humor: Vag Magazine

“Vag Magazine is not your grandma’s feminist magazine, though we support her as a woman.”

In the last post, we discussed humor that marginalizes men. While some might mistakenly term this feminist humor, this merely reinforces the notion that feminists are angry man-haters. * Feminist humor is diverse and varied in content, and emphasizes comedic creativity. It is largely a niche genre, and feminist comedians like Sarah Haskins and Marilyn Pittman have found success mostly online.

One recent example of feminist humor is the web series “Vag Magazine.” A six part series completely produced by female comedians from the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre, “Vag Magazine” follows the founders of a third-wave feminist magazine. As evident in the title, the series pokes fun at stereotypical feminists, in addition to hipsterdom, roller derby, and women who take themselves too seriously. One-liners from the series include:

“No Megan, I don’t ‘look over’ anything. I wasn’t born with the power of the male gaze.”

“Take that skirt off. You look like a tool… of the patriarchy.”

“Feminism isn’t about being equal, it’s about women doing whatever they want.”

While at first glance it might seem that the show ridicules feminists, in fact it ridicules stereotypes of feminists, as represented by the magazine’s founders, Fennel, Sylvie, Bethany and Heavy Flo. These women are pretentious, easily offended and self-important. Megan, who ends up part of the Vag team almost on accident, presents an opposite view of feminism. She minored in Women’s Studies in college, a fact that the founders conveniently overlook in their patronizing explanations of feminism. Megan is smart, capable and independent – a positive example of a feminist woman.

Humor can be used to appeal to certain groups, used to marginalize individuals, or used to reaffirm the positivity of identities like that of “feminist.” Vag Magazine is a smart, funny portrayal of contemporary feminism, and provides an example of humor that is constructive in shaping public opinion and discourse.

*Feminists, in fact, are not angry man-haters. Just to clear that up.

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