I haven’t updated in a long time. I was busy being depressed. So sue me.
Recently, I was watching the sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer, which is often one of the most subversively feminist shows on television. It was while watching the sketch I’m So Bad — which riffs on the way many women act as if eating high-calorie food were worse than actual immoral behavior — that I started to realize something.
Over and over, Inside Amy Schumer presents a vision of interpersonal relationships among women that is written by women. And it shows. It’s only after watching it, after seeing the observational detail that women can pull from their interactions with other women, that I began to understand what is wrong with even most of the media that passes the Bechdel Test.
I hear from women a lot that they feel alienated from other women. Hell, I’ve felt alienated from other women. I wonder, though, as I watch this show, how much of that alienation is actually an alienation from media representations of women. The way “best friend” women talk in movies and television is poorly observed and poorly written, and many male comedians make ugly assumptions about women’s conversations with friends being shallow and cruel. Key & Peele, also with a standup/sketch hybrid show on Comedy Central, don drag and display massively misogynistic caricatures of women–women as envisioned by men.
I wonder how many of the women I hear who say that they don’t feel like they fit in the category “woman,” that they’re now “genderqueer” or “genderquestioning” or “agender” or “neutrois,” are really responding to the feeling that the conversations they see, the ways they see women interacting with each other, seem foreign and irrelevant to their lives. “If that’s how women talk/act, then I must not be one.”
I wonder how many of “those women” that we all profess to be like are just shadows–shadows created in the minds of men.
I’ll be back with more content, hopefully before the week is out. My next topic: language, and why I’ve changed my mind about the “pronoun issue.”