If I have gotten special treatment for being a woman, it's been like two or three unpaid shows... Oh, and also dozens of lewd comments about my body and sexual history and having colleagues scream at me for not wanting to date them. Help me, my champagne cup runneth over.
Those anonymous internet comments upset me because they said people only pretended to like me to get into the treasure cavern of my undergarments. They accused me of not deserving the stage time, which stings because I put my heart into my comedy. The implication is that all stage time belongs inherently to men, and that if I am getting it I'm taking an innate privilege away from its rightful owner: a Y chromosome.
In her essay "The Common Elements of Oppression" Suzanne Pharr wrote, "It is also important to remember that [an oppressor] has to have institutional power...women do not have the power to institutionalize their prejudices against men, so there is no such thing as 'reverse sexism.'"
Pharr's point is that you can't be oppressed if you're the oppressing, power controlling group. That's like someone saying, "Why does she get to have perfectly regulated blood sugar?" but then the dude who said that is a vampire.
Last year when I did the All Jane No Dick comedy festival here in Portland (October 17-20 this year!) a Seattle comic said to me, "It's not fair that they don't accept men." Sure, it is. Comedy festivals should be like pussies: allowed to let in whoever they want to.
Booking a woman on a stand up show is not threatening men's masculinity. It's not affirmative action; it's just action, with or without robo-rhetoric. There is enough power floating in the ether for everyone and we're allowed to try to share it. If me saying women deserve to feel empowered is somehow taking power away from straight white men... well, that's just gravy. That's been my least favorite piece of misogyny this week, tune in next week because maybe I'll give back all the stage time I unduly yanked from the stone.
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