The year 2016, whatever else it may have been, was a tremendous year for women in comedy. Samantha Bee's show Full Frontal became a standard-bearer for feminist news analysis among the stag club of late-night television satire, tackling issues such as rape kit testing, diaper subsidies, workplace sexual harassment, and the international criminalization of feminism (from “nasty women” to Pussy Riot).1 Feminist comedians—including Negin Farsad, Ali Wong, Fawzia Mirza, Leslie Jones, Amy Schumer, Sam Jay, Issa Rae, Tig Notaro, Heben Nigatu, and Tracy Clayton—have forcefully used stand-up, television, filmmaking, and social media as popular platforms for advocating intersectional issues regarding gender, race, and social justice. As Farsad (director of The Muslims Are Coming!) put it in her “Scientific Taxonomy of Haters,” “I am a social justice comedian… . It is my goal to convert the haters … [especially] the swing haters … [who] are like ideological sluts...
Editor's Introduction: Toward a Feminist Politics of Comedy and History
Maggie Hennefeld is an assistant professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on comedy, gender politics, and silent cinema. Her articles have appeared in Camera Obscura, Screen, Discourse, Film History, Early Popular Visual Culture, and differences, and she has essays forthcoming in Cultural Critique and several edited volumes. Her book Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes is forthcoming from Columbia University Press (early 2018), and she is currently coediting a volume on theories of abjection and comedic violence (tentatively titled The Abject Objection).
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Maggie Hennefeld; Editor's Introduction: Toward a Feminist Politics of Comedy and History. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2017; 3 (2): 1–14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2017.3.2.1
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