This week I read “Between Feminism and Fun(ny)mism: Analyzing Gender in Popular Internet Humor” by Limor Shifman and Dafna Lemish and “Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration” Ch. 6 Theorizing the Intermezzo: The Contributions of Postfeminism and Third Wave Feminism by Amanda D. Lotz.
What is postfeminism? What is third wave feminism? Those were questions I had before starting these two texts this week, which are heavily laden with the terms. Luckily for me, Lotz breaks down both terms.
“Within the US, postfeminism had primarily been used in the popular press to suggest the current era was ‘after feminism’ in a manner that at least implicitly suggested that feminism’s goals had been achieved and activism was no longer necessary.” – Amanda D. Lotz
Lotz also talks a lot about third wave feminism in this chapter, but I’ve found this definition to be the simplest way of explaining the complex movement…
“Fundamentally…a political shift in feminism’s conceptual and theoretical agenda.” – Ann Brooks
I hear ‘postfeminism’ a lot more than I hear ‘third wave feminism’ and that scares me because our goals haven’t been achieved and the activism IS still necessary. Take, for example, the other article I read by Shifman and Lemish. The article talked about humor and feminism. Sexist humor is still alive and females are still the target of jokes. In the article there are mention of four key components that make up sexist jokes: the jokes
“target and ridicule women” while putting an emphasis on their ‘inferiority’ in comparison to men, in many cases the jokes are implicit, the jokes use traditional stereotypes where women are portrayed as “stupid, dependent, illogical, and nagging sexual objects” and the jokes emphasis a clear hierarchy of women’s ‘inferiority’ to men.
Not only are sexist jokes all over the internet, but I hear them on a daily basis. In fact, the other weekend, after having some people over the night before, I started cleaning my dining room table in the morning. As I was cleaning, my roommate’s friend states, “you’re a good woman.” In his head, this was a light joke, nothing serious. But in mine? The woman that the joke was directed at? All I could do was look up and stare and think, “did he really just say that?”
Yes. I am a women. Yes. I was cleaning. But his traditional stereotype of a women cleaning being a “good women” was so utterly offensive. So, back onto the topic of postfeminism…
We are not beyond the need of feminism. In fact, we have a long, long way to go. And yes, this joke wasn’t necessarily the hardest slap in the face, but it is just the tip of what I, and many other women, go through.
So I will end with this. The next time you hear a sexist joke, or hear someone question the need for feminism, stop and think. Do you agree? If not, say something because #feminism.