Below is embedded the most recent episode of South Park. The Episode is entitled "Eat, Pray, Queef."
It was recommended to me by a relatively hip carpenter a few days ago because he knows I am a comedy writer. Having worked through many a queef joke, I have to admit I wasn't juiced to see it. I watched last night because I only had 22 minutes to give, and Dollhouse makes my brain hurt.
My God. Sweet, Queefing Jesus. I don't think I've ever seen a better argument for feminism on mainstream television. Of course, leave it to South Park to make the one decent, logical argument that doesn't include staid feminist propaganda but does include a State Senator queefing a monologue from Roadwarrior.
The story sets up a dialectic between the fart and the queef -- the two poofs as different gender sides of the same gross-out coin. [Never thought I'd have 'dialectic' and 'queef' in the same sentence. Suck it, Hegel.] Anyhoof, the boys are excited to see a new episode of Terrence and Phillip, but are horrified to find the show preempted by a female-oriented show -- Katherine and Katie? -- which are the doppelgangers of T and P, queefing their way through life with great merriment. The first scene plays the same game as all of T and P's bits, except K and K are in a gynecologists office, and blow the toupee off of their vag doctor through vigorous queefage.
The boys are horrified -- of course, horrified in the same way the girls were of the farts. Gender roles are swapped, hilarity ensues. Cue Martha Stewart teaching us to add festive accents to our queefs for spingtime, Regis and Kelly talking about queefs, et cetera.
After I saw the episode and talked to the carpenter, I told him that I thought it was great. He said, "I thought it was funny, but I didn't get what it was trying to say." I was going to need to prove my point. So I said, loud enough that the whole hot mess of construction workers could hear: "Vagina. MY Vagina. That one, right down THERE." I could live off nothing but their horrified expressions for a week. Well, water, those expressions, and tampons. For my vagina. It never gets old. And therein lies the moist crux of the issue.
I can remember clearly the first time I took an improv class. I was one of two women in the class, and as is often the case in beginning work, the improv goes very sexual very fast. It makes sense -- a sort of shaking off of the everyday repression that comedians can't be a part of if they're going to make people laugh.
And so the men say: Dick and dick and dick and dick! Look at my cock and balls! I'm going to put my cock and balls in your butt! Butt and Cock and Balls! And it's always really funny, because everybody feels like a real comedian for the first time.
Everyone laughs. And so I get up and say: Vagina. Vag-iddity-doo! Vaggy Vaggy Vaggy Vee! Vaggy Vaggy Vaggy Voo! Vaaaag-o-laaaaaah! I'm Merkin the Vagician! The Republic of Vag-inistan! Va-Jay-Jay Abrams Presents: Fringe!
Silence. Horrified, stunned, silence. Then it hit me: guys don't know why they laugh at dicks and butts, because no one has asked them to be introspective about why they laugh, because most people laugh at dicks and butts nowadays, because in generations past most comedians were men, who naturally only talked about their own parts. So if you parade around the congruent parts on a lady, it's like a fucking freak show. A horrifying, mystifying freakshow.
My argument is this: dicks and butts are funny, and always will be. But feminism hasn't done its job until what we laugh at catches up with what we pretend to believe in public. Until men can laugh at women's funny parts just as we've been laughing at men's. It's that dark gap between our reach and our grasp at being a little more than just thumb monkeys. We'll know that women are equal when everyone in America can laugh at Martha Stewart laboriously forcing decorative Easter grass into her vaginal canal.
And seriously -- if you're a comedy writer and you're female, you have committed to have that conversation, or something like it, every day for the rest of your career.
So thank you, South Park. Thanks for the Queefs.