Group members: Allie, Gina, Jackson, Ariel, Briana
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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.