So, I think I’m a feminist. Maybe. Kinda. Probably a lot. I’m not sure. Honestly, I’m not terribly schooled in women’s studies or the feminist movement, so I’m kinda wingin’ it here. So, I think I should do what I always do when I’m unsure about something: ask Google.
Google, in its omniscience, directed me to Wikipedia, which says that
A feminist is “an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women.”
and also that
By those parameters, I’d absolutely say I’m a feminist. Why do I have this lingering feeling that “feminist” is a dirty word? Where did I get that from? Because, really, I can’t NOT want equality for women. I can’t NOT want to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. And, by golly, I think that women should have rights in the workplace, and that boobs shouldn’t keep them from getting good jobs, and that they should have the same pay opportunities as their dude counterparts. These are all no-brainers…so why am I such a chicken about it?
I’d like to be Melanie the Magnificent Feminist, but…I’m not really magnificent. I’m more kind of terrified. And timid. I’m more Shirley the Sheepish Feminist (not that Shirleys are weak, I just like alliteration.) It sucks.
Case in point: I’m so sad to say it, but I’m kinda pissed off at Jerry Seinfeld.
And I like that guy a lot. I think he’s really funny and awesome. I loved Comedian (have you seen it? It’s good.). In it, Seinfeld is humble and hard-working, even after years of his staggering success. He connects with his craft in a really beautiful way. And he’s hilarious. There’s no arguing that. It’s a pretty kick-ass flick.
But then…he comes out with his new show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” which premieres on Crackle.com tomorrow. It’s a simple show that looks really funny—it’s Seinfeld driving around with different comedians, getting coffee and chatting. I’m sure there will be GREAT moments in the show. But as I watched the two trailers for it, I noticed something was missing: women. There’s more than half a dozen comedians in the trailers and not a single one is female.
Really? Shouldn’t it be called “Dude Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”? Or “Comedians with Penises in Cars Getting Coffee”? I mean, just to be clear about it? Because there are a ton of funny women out there. Funny women that Seinfeld has worked with over the years.
Where are the women?!
And this is about where I start to feel pretty sheepish about things. I hear that voice pipe up that says that I shouldn’t need to see women everywhere. Why is it important to have women in a silly comedy show? Why does it matter? Can’t Seinfeld just do what he wants? Aren’t you being too sensitive? (Also, you can’t be funny and witty and fun AND be a feminist. Everyone knows feminists are a bunch of downers.)
And, I dunno. Maybe I am being too sensitive. Like I said, I’m a terrible feminist—I’m just starting to really explore it. But I’ve got this feeling in my gut that if one of the best comedians of the last 30 years has a show that highlights other comedians that he deems valuable, and none of them are women, the message is that women aren’t capable of being in that class of talent; women don’t make the cut. And I hear that message all too much.
After the message that we don’t make the cut, comes the message that we’re lesser-than. And after that, it’s that we should be sexy to get what we want. Then it’s that if you’re sexy, you should expect to get ogled. And then…and then after that…? The path is long, and windy, and shitty, and it paves the way for girls and women everywhere to think less of themselves; to expect less for themselves; and to silently take abuse. It’s a tired song and I’m sick of hearing it. What’s more, I don’t want my daughter to ever hear it.
So, even with that voice inside telling me to pipe down and stop being such an entitled shrew, I just can’t do it. It bothers me. I want to see women succeeding and being valued so that I can feel like I can succeed too. I want my daughter (hell, all daughters) to grow up in a world that doesn’t limit women, define them, reduce them or abuse them because of their gender.
And so I’m posting this complaint about the ab-fab Jerry Seinfeld and his inability to hunt down even one, good, female comedian. Come on, Jerry. You can do it. Please, oh, please prove me wrong on this one. Don’t be one of those guys.
What do you think? Am I being “too sensitive” or is this something we’re way overdue in changing? Cough up those opinions, peeps.