2014 is almost over, and with it comes a few more steps toward gender equality. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re inching a little closer day by day. After days of deliberation, and much sweat wiped from my brow, I’ve selected a few of my favorite feminist moments of the past year.
Jessica Williams shows us her feminized atmosphere
I’ve never had a man tell me he wanted to take a shit on my tits and take a dump on my breasts, but I’m pretty sure that even with the best of intentions, I wouldn’t be flattered. I’ve had plenty of men tell me they want to fuck me, and while a bit more tame, I’m still not flattered. Perhaps that’s because at the end of the day it’s just not pleasant to have perfect strangers make comments about your body.
Jessica Williams took us through her feminized atmosphere to show us that it doesn’t matter the comment, it’s pretty awful to be unable to walk down the street without being harassed. In her signature style, Williams offers tips to avoid harassment such as wearing oversized headphones, mastering the fake phone call and avoiding eye contact at all costs. She showed us that it is not only disturbing, but redundant, to want to both shit on someone’s tits and take a dump on their breasts.
Laverne Cox shuts down Katie Couric’s cock talk
I don’t know about you, but I’m not particularly thrilled by the idea of discussing my genitalia on national television. Model Carmen Carrera and actress Laverne Cox are also loathe to discuss their private parts in public (finally proving that I have enough in common with Laverne Cox to warrant becoming best friends). The difference between myself and these ladies is that I am cisgender and they are not, and apparently this makes their genitals a suitable topic for a day time talk show – at least, it is in the eyes of Katie Couric.
After several attempts to ask both women about their transitional surgeries, Laverne Cox decides to take the opportunity to discuss the issue of disproportionate violence against transgendered individuals. “By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of the discrimination,” said Cox. As usual, she is the epitome of grace while schooling us all.
Emma Watson reminds us that feminism is for everyone
Bless Emma Watson for taking on the annoying task of reminding us all that feminism is about gender equality and not about castrating all men. At a speech in front of the U.N., Watson spoke to the stilted progress of women’s rights caused by divided gender stereotypes and the demonization of feminism. She reclaims the arguments touted by the men’s rights movement, proclaiming that damaging masculine stereotypes are, in fact, a feminist issue. Gender equality cannot be achieved without equal representation of the genders. Here’s hoping her speech helped a few men with their fear of castration by roving hoards of feminazis.
Jennifer Lawrence won’t apologize for being a victim
It seems the expected response when a woman’s sexuality is exploited is for that woman to apologize for possessing sexuality. So I was happy to see that Jennifer Lawrence was having none of that victim-blaming bullshit when her private nude photos were leaked this past summer:
“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this. It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting … I started to write and apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for … It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change … Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame … I didn’t tell you that you could look at my naked body.”
When the most famous star in Hollywood won’t crumble to the pressure of a slut shaming culture, there’s hope for us all.
Hannibal Buress calls Bill Cosby a rapist – and we FINALLY listen
I’m not exactly sure what’s in the atmosphere (or possibly the drinking water), but after years of carefully squashed accusations, we’ve collectively decided to acknowledge the rape allegations against Bill Cosby. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Hannibal Buress for kicking that door wide open. At a stand up show at the Trocadero Theatre in Cosby’s hometown of Philadelphia, Buress delved into his issues regarding Cosby’s smug attitude:
“‘I don’t curse on stage!’
‘Well yeah … But you’re a rapist’
… It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man persona that I hate. He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
And with that, our ears pricked up and we started listening to the ever increasing list of women who had been silenced for so many years.
“F” is for feminist
For years the Bechdel test has been the gold standard for critiquing female representation in film. The test follows: Does the movie have two female characters? Do they talk to each other? Do they talk about something other than a man? The test is deceivingly simple – an overwhelming number of films do not pass. Clearly, the inability to create two dynamic female characters is a major issue.
But another issue arises when you examine the number of films that do not pass the test, yet still have feminist themes. Should we write them off because they don’t live up to one system of measurement? The people behind the Bath Film Festival think we should find another way. This year they introduced an “F” rating to films that had strong female leads, represented women’s issues or had a senior figure in production who is female. Considering the fact that women make up only 30 percent of speaking roles and 26 percent of key behind-the-scenes roles, this is a huge step in the right direction for female representation and recognition.
There are few things in the past year that are as beautiful, fearless and funny as Stephen Colbert’s interview with Pussy Riot. After being imprisoned for two years for hooliganism and religious hatred (because being a hooligan makes you a criminal, and not a precocious comic strip character in Russia), the girls were fearlessly slamming Putin and telling their side of the story.
The entire interview is pure gold but some of my favorite moments came when the girls made their opinions of their crime, and Putin, quite clear. They refer to their crime as playing a fun song in a church, refer to Putin as a shirtless man on a horse and taunt him to throw them back in jail. And in the true spirit of communal activism, they explain their choice to call themselves “Pussy Riot” in English rather than Russian: “We wanted to let English-speaking people enjoy themselves.”
Here’s to a progressive 2015! With any luck, it will be a year full of unapologetic feminism and free from redundant tit shitters.
Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Baltimore. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.