I took an unintentional hiatus last week because I took a few days off work (and subsequently from blogging), but I’m back this week with the things I’ve read this week that made me think.
The F Word: Inside Amy Schumer, the Most Sneakily Feminist Show on TV (Slate)
I actually saw Amy Schumer last week when she was in the Twin Cities for her stand-up tour, and she was amazing. She’s definitely got the gross-out humor thing going for her, but there’s also something really subversive about her comedy. I loved every second she was on stage (although the gentleman behind us didn’t much care for her abortion jokes, which made me wonder why, exactly, he was at an Amy Schumer show), and I love her show. I’m so glad that the show was renewed for a second season, which just started. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to do so (the show airs on Comedy Central, you can watch clips on their website or Youtube, and the first season is streaming on Amazon Prime).
This sums up Schumer’s subversion pretty well:
Schumer hides her intellect in artifice and lip gloss—that’s how she performs femininity. By wrapping her ideas in a ditzy, sexy, slutty, self-hating shtick, her message goes down easy—and only then, like the alien, sticks its opinionated teeth in you.
And this stuck out:
The best sketch of the new season has Schumer playing a video game not unlike Call of Duty with a male friend. Schumer picks a female avatar—the friend grimaces at this—who, in the game, is raped by her superior. The guy Schumer is playing with doesn’t believe that it happened. Schumer must have “done something wrong.” Meanwhile, the game starts bullying her—“You were just assaulted by a fellow solider. Do you wish to report?” “Yes.” “Are you sure? Did you know he has a family? Does that change your mind about reporting?”—before sending her to Level 25, which is all paperwork.
You can’t argue that what she’s doing isn’t important or smart, because it is. I love her, unabashedly so.
A Censored History of Ladies in YA Fiction (Book Riot)
I’ve actually been sitting on this link for a while, but I had to include it because I think Kelly Jensen writes such smart, interesting stuff about YA and librarianship and gender politics. Everything in this article is great–S.E. Hinton paving the way for YA literature but doing it with only her initials because she would be dismissed by male critics if they knew she was a woman, the fact that the books most challenged are written by women, etc.–and it’s well worth your time.
Call them by any name you want, but these challenges stem from fears about girls’ stories coming to the front and being told. Men have their novels challenged, too, but less frequently and, more likely than not, for reasons similar to why women’s novels are: the fear of something different (anything outside the “mainstream” white, straight male standard). Blume has more titles on the most-challenged list than any other author — even Robert Cormier could only muster three — because being female and writing about issues girls face are challenge- and ban- worthy actions indeed.
She also makes this point, which is something that’s been talked about a lot recently:
Men write universal stories. Women write stories for girls. Men write Literature. Women write chick lit. Even in a world where women do publish in heavier numbers than men do, they are underscored, underseen, and undervalued. Twilight is and will remain a crucial part of YA’s history — YA’s female-driven history — despite or in spite of the fact it doesn’t garner the same praises that those held up as idols within the community do. Men like John Green become symbols of YA’s forward progress and Seriousness as a category, whereas Stephenie Meyer gets to be a punchline.
Anyway, read it. Be incensed. Think about the larger issues at play.
5 Biblical Films That Sparked a Religious Backlash (Alternet)
To be completely honest, I don’t have any interest in the Noah movie. I’m not a religious person. I think that biblical epics like this one, featuring a bunch of white people, are totally ridiculous. The reviews on this one have been pretty mixed (with many critics coming down on the “It’s a trash heap” side of things), and I honestly thought that it was supposed to be a movie pandering to the fundies. But apparently not? Because they’re actually sort of up in arms about it? In a hilarious way?
This article talks a little bit about the Noah film, but it also lists a few other films that have been super controversial for the Christian right. It’s worth a look, I guess.