Now that the dust has settled after having to once again react to a high-profile sadsack expressing their (incorrect and archaic) opinions on women in comedy, I want to talk about how we reacted and how, going forward, we should be more aware of using our voices for good. I guess you can call this the first Lettider from the Editor. We fancy.
The response to Adam Carolla's remarks ranged from profound to enraged to enlightened to downright ridiculous. Jamie Denbo had a great piece which looked at the numbers of women in writing rooms from a completely different angle; Adam Frucci over at Splitsider took him to task with a big 'ol F.U.; and I offered up the idea that we should just let it lie. But the piece that unfortunately stuck with me the most, was one in which a woman, a self-described comedian, sided with Adam. (I won't link it here because the words are toxic and you can't reason with, nor should you read, crazy.) She took the time from her day to write a 1,900 word piece which, in essence, vented her opinion that women need to be more like men on stage. Even without being the founder of a website for women in comedy, the words could make you lose your chips. I reminded myself to consider the source, just as I did when reading Adam's interview, and it helped, but it also got me thinking: Why do we continue to hate on ourselves and other women while simultaneously deriding the system and hoping for change? Isn't this where it starts?
I am probably more sensitive to it than others and actively listen for it at mics, on Twitter and Facebook, and in conversations. I hear it when a woman jokes on stage about only being good at pleasuring a man (cringe). I hear it when women in the audience laugh absently when something misogynistic is said (sigh). I hear it when someone on Twitter makes a joke about Hilary Clinton being unattractive or old (really?). I hear it and it frustrates me to no end. Why should we expect change when we aren't living the change we want?
But don't think I'm getting all Pollyanna on you. I love the dark, demented, gritty stuff just as much as the next person. I just think there's a way to do it without putting yourself or others down. There are enough people out there doing that for us, ladies. And I know there's a way to find the good in each other (OK, maybe a little Pollyanna) instead of focusing on the bad. At the very least can we try and follow the advice of our Grandmothers and MeMaws and not say anything if we don't have anything nice to say?
The point I'm trying to make is that change starts with us. If we refuse to talk about ourselves and others with disparaging remarks then at the very least we won't be feeding into a system that clearly doesn't value our voices/bodies/minds the way they should be valued. Listen to what you're saying (and reacting to) and try being a little kinder to yourself, a woman and women as a whole.
Keep it classy,