“…swinging dick with the upper hand.”

From the very beginning of Rebecca Krefting’s chapter entitled, “When Women Perform Charged Humor,” she had my full attention. Her terminology and, at times, blunt depictions of sexism were quite thought provoking.

“He [Christopher sexist dickhead Hitchens] reduces audiences’ receptions to and consumptions of humor to something natural, innate, predetermined, and therefore moot, which for him is ideal because it leaves him and every other swinging dick with the upper hand, the ‘equipment’ necessary to incite laughter and the arbiter of precisely what should elicit laughter,” (Krefting 107).

You would think that women across all spectrums would be able to appreciate a woman comedian performing charged humor because that comedian is articulating common struggles and injustices. As we’ve seen in the past, nothing gets done without first creating a dialogue around it. However, what if this dialogue is not on every woman’s agenda?

I recently watched an interview with Kellyanne Conway at the Conservative Political Action Conference where she discussed her personal take on Feminism and why she chooses not to identify as Feminist (big shocker there). To sum up her rather interesting explanation, Kellyanne claimed that she refuses to think of herself as a “victim of [her] circumstances” and that calling herself a Feminist would entail being “anti-male” and “pro-abortion” (which she made sure to clarify, she is neither of those things).

At this conference, Kellyanne also implored women to demand equal pay. Without a plan to enforce this, however, her rhetoric becomes yet another white woman ignoring the struggles women of color face and oversimplifying a solution to a problem that requires much more attention than just saying “ask for it and see what happens!” This whole notion of “conservative feminism,” which Kellyanne described, is utterly baffling to me. It seems as though she is discrediting any hardships women have had and continue to have due to institutionalized sexism. Men, like Christopher Hitchens for example, feed off of women’s introspection rather than a complete examination of external predispositions based on sex. They prefer when women take a look at themselves and what they might be doing ‘incorrectly,’ rather than how injustice is influencing opportunity and how their male privilege suppresses women.

Relating all of this back to the Krefting chapter, her take on why women performing charged humor isn’t always well-received fits into Kellyanne Conway’s argument for “conservative feminism” (it’s painful just to type that term). There seems to be a disconnect between victimization and pointing to the truth. I know Kellyanne is more of an alt-facts kind of gal, but she’s also a successful white woman who has, most likely, not faced much if any discrimination. She has this twisted notion, which fits tremendously well into Krefting’s discussion, that calling yourself a Feminist is what is responsible for the marginalization when it is actually systemic sexism (often race-based) which is doing the marginalizing.


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