Sexy, Funny Feminism Isn't Necessarily Placating Feminism.

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
March 6 2013 10:52 AM

Funny and Sexy Feminists Piss People Off Plenty

Tina Fey puts Jimmy Fallon through the paces

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Listen up, you smart alecks with your silly GIFs and late-night charge card purchases at Sephora: You and your jokes and your lipstick are destroying feminism. So says Ellie Mae O'Hagan of the Guardian, who is very concerned that feminists have given up the sacred duty to scowl patriarchy to death. She is afraid that modern feminists are too busy being sexy and funny and fabulous to actually confront and dismantle sexism:

Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

In my mind, if being sexy and funny are the two cornerstones of a new feminist movement, we may as well all pack up and go home now. At its core, feminism should be angry. It should be angry because women are still being taken for a ride. Like the women in The Feminine Mystique, we are being sold a lie of equality in a society where the odds are politically, socially and economically stacked against us.
Feminism's most basic function should be to emphasise that sexism is not an accident, but an inevitable consequence of a society structured to favour men. Jokes about vaginas and reassurances that we won't have to give up lipstick are not enough. To put it bluntly, a new feminism should not be afraid to piss people off.

But the notion that being sexy or funny means not pissing people off is a hoary myth. It's a shame to see a feminist pick it up and argue that being dour is, in and of itself, a virtue. 

In my experience, if you really want to piss people off, be sexy and funny while you're being angry. Nothing reduces a sexist nitwit to a spittle-flecked ball of rage faster than a woman who dares to be sexy and funny while also opposing sexism. (If you doubt this, I recommend spending a day reading anti-feminist forums on Reddit and seeing exactly which famous feminists have driven the posters to obsess themselves into madness.) It's particularly strange to posit that humor is the antithesis of anger. The best kind of humor is aggressive and even combative. Sexists don't like being laughed at, not even slightly. Just because joking about vaginas is fun doesn't mean that it's not an effective way to, say, destroy the Senate aspirations of a notorious misogynist

Fun and humor are important, too, for keeping spirits up among the ranks. Being a proper feminist, my desk is drowning in the sort of ephemera you find in a women's bookstore. At the top of the pile is this card with a quote from Audre Lorde, a feminist from the era that O'Hagan incorrectly portrays as a time of all shouting and little messing around: "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare." Humor, fun, and yes, sexiness are ways to make yourself feel valued and happy in a sexist society that frequently tells women they deserve neither. No wonder they has the power to piss so many people off. 



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Business Insider
Oct. 21 2014 11:27 AM There Is Now a Real-life Hoverboard You Can Preorder for $10,000
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 21 2014 12:40 PM Asamkirche: The Rococo Church Where Death Hides in Plain Sight
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.