Feminism found in Comedy
“Milk Milk Lemonade” by Amy Schumer is a self-deprecatory comedic music video. How she chooses to present women’s bodies and what their body parts are made for versus the fetishization of women’s bodies brings to light a bigger problem in our societal culture. “This is what you think is hot. Talking ‘bout my fudge machine… It’s where your poop comes out.” (Milk Milk Lemonade. Youtube, Comedy Central) Not only does the music video present the absurdity of the fetishization of the female bodies, but it also reminds us of the actual purpose of those body parts. Societal norms have fetishized the female body to extremes and in doing so has turned the female body into an object for viewing pleasure. The fetishization and objectification of the female body are so rampant in pop culture that we have become numb to these images. However, when listening to the lyrics and seeing the visuals, it creates a feeling of grotesque and unease. Schumer’s music video takes back that power and agency.
Wanda Sykes “Esther Escapes Her Spanx” is another self-deprecatory type of comedy. Sykes presents the middle part of her body as having a mind of its’ own and gives it a name. By giving it a name, she has given it a persona of its’ own separate from herself. This persona is intended to be representative of what many of us really want versus what society expects women to do. Women are expected to obtain a certain beauty ideal/standard and Sykes pokes at the absurdity of that social construct. The construct of beauty standards is absurd as it is predominantly unattainable. The further horizontal reinforcing of the beauty ideal makes anyone question themselves and where they fit into those ideals of beauty. Sykes’s self-deprecatory comedy speaks to what most women feel internal but cannot express without the feeling of shame or not being good enough.
Amy Poehler’s “Meet Your Second Wife” is funny at first, but quickly turns into something quite inappropriate. The guests on the show meet their “future second wife” who are currently children. When presented in this way it seems gross, inappropriate, and predatory. Social norms, however, dictate that it is ok for an older man to be with a very young woman. When we are presented with this imagery, one cannot help but to gag. It is socially accepted practice for much older men to be with younger women, but if it is flipped the other way around it is considered otherwise. Poehler’s skit challenges the social norms that accept this type of arrangement but rejects it if it is the other way around. It is shedding light onto the fetishizing of youth, beauty and fertility. Older women’s bodies are marked bodies that no longer have value because they are expired and old.
Feminism is everywhere and has always been around. With a closer look at the comedy these women have presented we have been able to open the door to the discussion as well as gain exposure to the absurdities that societal norms have inflicted upon not just women, but men as well. It is refreshing to see these women bringing feminist ideas and discussion to the table without the viewer realizing they are doing so. Their comedy spearheads the issues presented and challenges normative views to remind us not to be complacent. These norms can only be changed through people who seek to challenge, interrogate, and take back the power that has been stripped of them.
- Central, Comedy. “Milk Milk Lemonade (Feat. Amber Rose and Method Man) – Inside Amy Schumer.” YouTube, YouTube, 12 Apr. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeiSx5MNDvg.
- Sykes, Wanda. “Esther Escapes from Her Spanx.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 Aug. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q437SK-j0zk.
- Live, Saturday Night. “Meet Your Second Wife – SNL.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 Dec. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJEAGd1bQuc.