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Concluding Sexy Humorous Feminisms


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Part of the assignment was familiarizing ourselves with social media, blogs, and specifically word press. Now that we are relatively proficient making posts on wordpress, we can now explore more advanced user functions such as how people reach our blog and how many times a person views it. We are also interested in exploring ways to get others to engage with us. A constructive way to do this would be to introduce ourselves as the blog writers so readers can get more acquainted with us and our perceptions. By doing this it will allow viewers to see where these thoughts are coming from. Another way to increase awareness of our site is to create relationships with other feminist sites and blogs so we can get more traffic. Another idea we have is to develop a page of links to other feminist blogs and other sites related to feminism. We are going to find sites in which we can "broadcast" our site. We would like to make a facebook fan page for our site as well as add links on our own personal facebooks. We would also utilize other popular sites such as twitter and stumbleupon.

Phase 2: Humorous, Feminist Sex-Positivity

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Group members: Allie, Gina, Jackson, Ariel, Briana


WandaSykes.jpg1) Wanda Sykes
I believe that the site and video for Wanda Sykes is relevant. Often through comedy one can say things that otherwise may go unsaid. She is a very well known comedian that reaches a wide audience. Through comedy people of differing background can come together, laugh and learn. Sykes is willing to push the boundaries, questioning sexual normativity. Comedy opens up a space for discussion and evaluation of dominant discourse. This form of spreading awareness is valuable because female comedian do become very noticeable and credible voices for change. This format allows the audience to engage on a personal level. This format can be seen as a technique for conscious rising and improve understanding of gender concepts and inequalities.

Erotic-Revolutionaries.jpg2) Erotic Revolutionaries (Shayne Lee)
Erotic Revolutionaries by Shayne Lee was recently published in 2010. The book discusses current injustices faced by black women including sex, sexuality, and bodily representation within the media and their own communities. The chapter Lee has deemed "Erotic Queens of Comedy" discusses the importance of black women in comedy and their use of humor to address social injustices including sex, sexuality, race, age, and body representation. Lee has received his PhD is sociology from Northwestern University and is currently the associate professor of sociology and African Diaspora studies at Tulane University. Lee's critique of black comediennes helps to shed light on an arena (comedic performance) that has been and is yet today over shadowed by men. Lee mentions comedy scholar Nancy Walker and her explanation, "...that feminist humor mocks gender inequality in an attempt to render it absurd and powerless" (110). The entrance and exposure of black comediennes has given sexual agency to all women by addressing issues such as inadequate sexual performance, hygiene, oral sex, penis size/function, etc.

Porn-for-Women.jpg3) Liza Donnelly
This source is highly relevant to feminist humor because Liza Donnelly is a female, feminist, comedic cartoonist! I believe our topic, feminist/humorous perspectives on sex, fits cohesively with Liza Donnelly's message of using humor as a tool for social change. Even more specifically, Donnelly draws upon her own cartoons to spread feminist messages pertaining to topics such as marriage and sex. Because this is a more opinionated-based source I don't think that reliability is a concern, but I believe her achievements verify her qualifications. She has been a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker Magazine, a writer and public speaker, spoken at TED, The United Nations, and much more. I think this is valuable information for spreading feminism because it communicates a message using humor and feminism in an unconventional way. It grabs peoples' attention and that is effective in getting any message across.

Wikipedia-logo.png4) Sex-positive Feminism Wikipedia Page This entry is relevant to our project and to feminism in general in its capacity as comprehensive explanation of the history and manifestations of sex-positivity with in the feminist movement. While it doesn't explicitly address humor or humorous perspectives, it is important to have an understanding of where much of first-hand sources we are addressing are coming from. Wikipedia's trustworthiness has been openly debated in many circles. I present it here, however, as a reliable source. I have found no lapses in its content and I genuinely (if perhaps naively) trust Wikipedia's contributors. The entry is cited as being US-centric, which is not a concern for our particular project. I would like to assess the value of this source by looking at the main 'Feminism' entry, which this source is an off-shoot of, based on the fact that this is probably what most people would run into if they were interested in exploring the various meanings of feminism. Wikipedia is invaluable in its wide-spread use and accessibility. It is arguably the first source someone might use to get basic information about feminism (and then explore more in depths for its nuances). The potential is boundless.

PullingOurOwnStrings.jpg5) Pulling Our Own Strings is a collection of feminist humor that covers the gamut of second-wave feminist issues: labor, menstruation, motherhood, sexual violence, female objectification, and more. As a compilation of women's humor, which is undeniably rare, it deserves acknowledgement and value. However, it is rather dated. Its content and style are very seventies. Moreover, the feminism that is represented is a characteristically white, middle-class one, which reveals a great deal about the feminist movement at the time of its publication. The book is useful to a point; many of the issues it addresses are still pressing today, and as a historical artifact it helps to track the progress and transformation of the movement. However, the gaps in its scope should not be excused.
Wanda is very accessible for multiple communities. She is an artist that is seen in multiple forms of media. She is a well known African-American lesbian activist comedian and actor. For this artist, I believe there are few barriers to accessibility. Through her site there are links to other organization that Sykes is involved in. I think that sites for celebrity access can provide sources to other sites that one may not have found on their own. Social media sites can begin to change the discourse around feminist issues by opening up the dialogue and including those who might otherwise be heard.
I believe that Erotic Revolutionaries may be best accessed by those who are knowledgeable in/seeking feminist thought and theory. Because this book is a scholarly piece it will most likely be accessed by educated persons interested in reading feminist theory, particularly a black feminist's perspective on black women's sex positivity. Although this topic is relevant to anybody seeking a sex positive, feminist perspective Lee's work cannot be easily found on the internet or in a magazine. In order for this book to reach a larger audience I think it should be promoted through social media sights, television, classrooms, magazines, and community gatherings. On that note, if the academic language is not relatable/comprehendible for certain individuals the use of community meetings to share the important information from the book can be verbalized and shown through examples mentioned in the book (Beyoncé, Mo'Nique, Sheryl Underwood, etc.) to spread this wealth of knowledge.
For anyone with computer access, Donnelly's cartoons are easily accessed; a google search will result in her website. Unfortunately some people may not think to type "feminist, humor, sex" into google. I had never heard of Donnelly before researching for this topic so I wouldn't know if she well-known. I believe social media is very constructive when it comes to westernized feminism because we all have computers and it is relevant considering many of our issues are not urgent or pertaining to a life or death concern. For feminist issues pertaining to third world countries I believe social media is somewhat irrelevant. Although it spreads awareness, awareness doesn't necessarily rectify all situations.
As I previously mentioned, Wikipedia is widely known as a forerunner among internet databases. Therefore, the Sex-positive Feminism entry is widely accessible by anyone who might search for related terms on Google or Wikipedia. It's translatable into most widely spoken languages, making it even more accessible to those who's first language is not English. Because it is compiled by numerous contributors, the information is varied and boundless. Of course, internet access is necessary, as with most of our sources. It may also be moderately difficult to find, as it is somewhat buried within the main entry on Feminism. With just a little digging, it's more than available and readily readable, discernible, and educational.
Pulling Our Own Strings is fairly accessible for its medium and its age. It is mostly available on Google Books, which is free and easy to find (assuming you have internet access and enough online literacy to know how to use Google Books, which assumes a certain degree of privilege and education which accompanies a certain social class). I also obtained it easily at the university library, and there are two more copies in the public library system. However, it is an old book and probably fairly obscure; although copies are accessible in theory, most people probably don't have the awareness of its existence or interest to seek it out. As far as I know, there is not a book-on-tape version, which there probably should be - many of the essays and stand-up comedy transcripts would be more effective with an auditory component.

Feminist Humor on Sex: A Collection of Resources

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1. a) Sex-positive Feminism Wikipedia Page
b) Found by Googling 'feminist sex'.
c) Published by Wikipedia as part of a collection of entries on the subject of feminism. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia-like database written and edited by the general public. It is part of the Wikimedia Foundation.
d) The audience is not specified. Supposedly the general public.

2. a) The Vagina Monologues
b) The link was provided in a blog questioning feminism's impact on women's sex lives.
c) Eve Ensler is the compiler/playwright/researcher who is responsible for The Vagina Monologues. She interviewed many women during the process of her research. The story has been published as a book and the play has been performed in myriad contexts by many organizations.
d) The audience for this specific site are people interested in movie/play/speech transcripts. However the play itself, which is the resource we are presenting has been viewed by many people in many contexts. The primary audience (from personal experience) are women and progressively-inclined Americans.

3. a) Jessica Valenti
b) I found Jessica's blog after having read her book He's a Stud She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know.
c) Jessica Valenti's blog, which came after her success as speaker and author, continues her feminist thought with pure truth and humor.
d) Valenti's audience would include anyone interested in current, feminist issues with a comedic twist.

4. a) Erotic Revolutionaries
b) I am currently reading specific chapters from Erotic Revolutionaries for Black Feminist Geographies here at the U.
c) Erotic Revolutionaries author, Shayne Lee, offers sex positive thinking in black feminist theory.
d) Lee's audience could include anyone looking for scholarly work on black pop culture, a sex positive black woman, or black sexual politics.

5. a) Wanda Sykes
b) found her during my search on feminist humor
c) topics covered are: politics, gay marriage, karma, healthcare, racial profiling, the pressure of being a woman and the perks of getting older.
d) Audience is very wide most popular within the feminist and lgbtq communities

6. a) Liza Donnelly's feminist perspective on sex through cartoons
b) Found by googling, "Humorous, feminist, sex."
c) Donnelly is a pubic speaker/lecturer and presents on topics such as women and humor, childrens' books and The New Yorker, and has given talks at TED about using humor as a tool for social change.
d) The audience is not specified. Supposedly the general public.

7. a) A psychology perspective on differentiating sexual responses from males and females
b) Found by googling, "Humorous, feminist, sex."
c) Experiment and article by Frank J. Prefrost; offers a psych perspective.
d) Anyone interested in psychology or in the psychology field.

8. a) Pulling Our Own Strings: Feminist Humor & Satire
b) Recommended by the wonderful Sara Puotinen.
c) Compilation of essays, comic strips, stand-up comedy transcripts and other examples of feminist humor published in 1980.
d) A resource specifically for feminists, but with the understanding that feminist humor can - and should - transform American society at large.

9. a) A clip from Chelsea Handler's show, "Chelsea Lately," with special guest Jenny McCarthy
b) Youtube search for "Chelsea Lately"
c) Chelsea Lately is a late-night comedy talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler on the E! cable network.
d) Whoever watches E!

10. a) The Grotesque Pussy
b) An academic essay by Susan Pelle analyzing the work of Margaret Cho.
c) Again, recommended by Sara Puotinen.
d) This article was published in the scholarly journal Text & Performance Quarterly. The audience is primarily academics and folks who can afford to pay $34 to read an essay on the internet.