Amy Schumer’s comedy should dismantle the power of the dick

Question: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: That’s not funny.

The “humour” here is that feminists are allegedly killjoys who can’t take a joke. If that were true, would you blame us, given that much of what passes for comedy in pop culture is misogynist, racist, and homophobic? Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, Howard Stern, and others of their ilk make me want to hide in a cave. In fact, though, every feminist I know loves a good laugh.

Indeed, we crave good comedy because, given the awful state of the world for most women, a bit of lightheartedness is a most welcome relief. Every summer I make a trip to Provincetown just to see the great comedy of Kate Clinton. For one hour I get to be part of a sympathetic audience listening to a lefty feminist who has a knack for mocking the absurdity of a culture that is corrupt, debased, and woman-hating.

When friends started to send me clips of Amy Schumer, I was both delighted and cautious — delighted because some of her work offers an excellent takedown of masculinity, misogyny and the sexual objectification of women, but cautious because Amy Schumer is clearly on her way to massive stardom, and anyone who studies corporate media knows that nothing coopts feminism quite like the profit-driven pop culture industries.

I had really hoped that Amy Schumer would beat the odds by building a comedy career with integrity. But the feminist in me knew deep down that the well-oiled machinery of corporate cooptation would come at her like a juggernaut. And here it is in all its glory on the cover of this month’s GQ.

Question: What is the best way to silence a female comedian? Answer: Stick a phallic Amy Schumersymbol in her mouth.

It’s not at all surprising that, in a porn culture, Schumer would be silenced by a phallic image. Type “porn” into Google, and within 20 seconds you will see images of women being gagged with a penis till they choke. Unlike Schumer, these women are not making millions, and they don’t get awards from Glamour magazine where they can make jokes about “catching a dick” while dressed in expensive designer duds. These women are naked, with many “dicks” being pounded into their orifices as they struggle to deal with the physical and emotional assault that is now commonplace in porn. Indeed, most of these women would happily throw back the “dick” in exchange for decent housing, a livable wage, and affordable health and child care.

At the Glamour awards, Amy Schumer boasted that, at 160 pounds, she can always “catch a dick.” When I commented on my Facebook page that Schumer’s speech wasn’t anything to celebrate, I was told by well-meaning FB friends that I was missing the feminist message of the speech. It seems that if you are 160 pounds (fat by today’s skeletal standards for female celebrities) and still sexual (as measured by your ability to “catch a dick”), then you are an empowered feminist refusing to collaborate with today’s sexist beauty standard.

RealDoll sex dolls.
RealDoll sex dolls.

What is there to celebrate about “catching a dick?” I hate to break it to women, but men are not that picky about where they stick their penises. The company RealDoll does a brisk trade in selling sex dolls — I was told by a senior manager of the company that there is a long waitlist for these $6,000 items, whose “primary function,” according to Wikipedia, “is to serve as sex partners” and are “designed to recreate the appearance, texture, and weight of the human female.” So if a doll can “catch a dick,” then really, should women be measuring their sexual worth by how many men will stick a penis into them?

Ironically, as women are being increasingly silenced by having their mouths filled with penises or other phallic objects, sex doll company, True Companion, recently came out with the first-ever talking sex doll. According to their website, “Your robot will deliver the ultimate in robot sex. Your sex robot will also be able to talk, listen, carry on a conversation…”  I assume the “conversation” won’t be about women’s subordinate status in a patriarchy or how to organize a feminist protest, but more likely about how great the purchaser’s “dick” is and what she wants him to do with it. Maybe she will even say how empowered she is by having caught a dick!

Women who have broken into men’s spaces (comedy being one of them) have a feminist duty to other women to speak the truth of women’s lives, because other women fought tooth and nail to open those doors for them. Feminist comedians are especially well-suited to speak the unspeakable, because humour gives one license to speak the truth in ways that people often can hear. Amy Schumer certainly knows this, as some of her sketches have taken on topics such as the violent sports culture in a way that inserts a much-needed feminist voice into the national conversation.

As disappointed as some feminists are about the GQ cover, we shouldn’t be all that surprised, given that Schumer has a new film called Trainwreck to promote to mass audiences. Feminists are very familiar with this concept because we fight the trainwreck of patriarchy every day, and rather than buying into the porn culture imagery that silences us, we would do much better to use our voices to dismantle the power of the “dick.”

Gail Dines is a professor of Sociology and Women’s studies, and author of Pornland: How porn has Hijacked our Sexuality. She is the founding chair of Culture Reframed, a feminist non-profit health education organization.

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  • Joe

    Schumer has also been guilty of some very racist jokes in her stand up and many of her comedic friends such as Jim Norton trade off disgusting rape jokes. She has lots of problems I think, although her gender stuff can be genius at times.

  • Elena

    I love you Gail Dines, you are one of the most important feminists of this generation. I’m 25 and watching as the world crumbles and the feminist movement is being twisted in mainstream media for capitalist and patriarchal profit. Every time I read something new of yours or watch you speak, I’m brought to tears. Thank you so much for all that you do.

    • S.Law

      Corporations tried to co-opt 2nd wave feminism too. As a child I remember the Virginia Slim ads featuring a model in a sleek pant suit smoking a cigarette. I think what is important is the response to this kind of thing. The world has always been crumbling and the sky has always been falling. Relative to previous generations I think women living today have many advantages.

      Given the negativity of the current crop of feminists towards other waves except the sainted first wave and even there, accusations of racism (in terms of voting rights) abound, sad that these same critiques don’t hold the men of that era to the same standards). Most artists want to be part of the entertainment industry and really don’t have that many principles. The history of art and music is rife with work commissioned by wealthy patrons. I remember the animators in an artist run centre I was a member of bemoaning Disney but loving Warner Brothers cartoons. They all claim to want to express themselves as independent artists (majority work commercially to pay the bills) but most want a steady pay cheque (e.g. work on a long running series), a modicum of fame or recognition, and possibly a big cheque. Amy Schumer owes me nothing, she’s not really my kind of comic although some of her stuff is brilliant (not hot enough for tv designation in 12 angry men parody).

      I find the misogyny in the nuclear family sort of prepares one for the misogyny in the world. Or maybe I just had an extremely vapid male parent and male sibling.

      • Elena

        Of course, but its only gotten worse. Capitalism has been increasingly more destructive as its designed to be, and since porn over time has become so deeply ingrained in our culture, it’s made it so much more difficult for young girls and women to see what’s happening. It’s all just too bizarre and If it hadn’t been for radical feminism, I’d still be lost.

        Capitalist genocide and the global demand for women and childrens bodies to be used for men’s sadistic pleasure cannot be tolerated any longer. We have to fight back with all we can, it’s the only way.

        • S.Law

          I guess in some ways it has gotten worse. But I have to ask where were all the women … when the majority population was disavowing feminism. I remember going on a “Take back the Night” march in 1984 and the real hostility of some of the men who lined the route, which took us along a portion of the sex trade stroll. There has probably been a backlash since day one of any one of the feminist waves / movements.

          I am not a user of porn and I have always seen its harms (and the until recently softcore variety in Hollywood films, now that there is a 50 shades of gray film, who knows what’s acceptable). I remember as a nine year old (girl) skimming through my grandfather’s Playboy magazines. My parents didn’t stop me. I was curious – because these were portrayals of women – something I would become. There was a faux torture scene with women who had perfectly coiffed hair, and who wore frilly black bikinis chained to a wall, nevertheless they were smiling. Even at nine I knew that was not reality. People being tortured didn’t smile, except possibly some tough guy in a Hollywood action flick. My disgust with all porn began at that point – it doesn’t represent anything approximating reality. It may be viscious, misogynistic but unless people are saying these kinds of interactions are the norm … porn doesn’t represent reality, more like ‘sick and sicker’ fantasies.

          I felt pretty much alone in my distaste for porn. My peers/room mates were watching videos of male strippers, I just could never see the appeal. The feminist film festival I volunteered had an ambivalent attitude towards porn, given its support of LGBT community, which according to my fellow committee members (some of whom, in fact a majority of whom, were lesbian for a few years running) had a different take on porn.

          My views were more represented by people like Nikki Craft. I think I got enough hate and weirdness from my male relatives I didn’t need to seek it in heterosexual porn. Given that I seem to fit the category of asexual I don’t think I should need to make excuses for my lack of interest in porn – to anyone. But you shouldn’t need to be asexual to say, porn is not for me.

          I still have to ask, where were all the mainstream women, when all this sh*t was going down? Mainstreaming of porn, multiple backlashes against feminism, media denigration/demonization of feminists. Where were they – disavowing feminism and feminists for the most part, it seems. I can’t really embrace women as a whole, because I can’t really trust them to have my back for the backs of women who put themselves on the line. Like public feminists and women who publicly question any male-centric institution (from policing / military to gaming).

  • The Real Cie

    I thought of a joke.
    How many dudebros does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    None. They wait for the woman to do it.

    I didn’t say it was a great joke.

    Regarding Amy Schumer’s thoughts on catching a dick at 160 pounds:
    Amy is conventionally attractive. She’s young, white, blonde, and her curves are in the “right” places. Men aren’t going to put her on a scale to determine whether or not she’s fuckable in their eyes.

    But, as you said, many men really aren’t that picky.
    I’m a 50 year old broad with gray hair. I weigh 275 pounds at five foot six. On the rare occasions when I’ve gone to a bar, if I’m not with a man, I get hit on pretty mercilessly. I am hardly what you’d call pretty, but I can’t be left alone to drink my club soda with lime and listen to a band in peace. On one occasion, I actually had to sneak out the back door when this jerk who wouldn’t stop bothering me went to the bathroom. I was afraid if he saw me leave, he’d follow me and possibly assault me.

    • S.Law

      I agree she seems conventionally attractive (maybe her eyes would be considered too close together but who really notices that). She is blonde, blue-eyed, leggy, has bosoms (some of us really don’t). I am muscular but have curves (not on top though) and probably broader shoulders than many men. But some of the discrimination I have faced comes from small women in exercise class remarking that they would never want to have calves that muscular (I don’t even try, they just are muscular). Unless they were mainlining steroids would never happen. And they would probably just get sick from the side effects and not develop muscles. I not really interested in men and my pursuits don’t generally bring me into contact with inebriated men (as I don’t drink). Having grown up with a belligerent and sometimes drunk father I cultivate a below the radar kind of image. But it doesn’t take much for a man to make me really angry (I take any attempt to intimidate me very badly) and I guess it shows (facially and in my bodily stance).

    • esme

      Seriously! Men pretend they only want a certain look so they can keep women feeling insecure, but what they really want is someone who they think will do what they want for the night. What upsets them is when women don’t care what they want.

      You know what is liberating? When the dudebros leave me alone. Then I can screw in my own light bulb in peace. (I liked your joke!)

    • lizor

      How about:

      How many dudebros does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

      Oh, don’t worry about that – we’ll get one of our girls to do it.

      • Julie

        How many dudebros does it take to screw in a lightbulb? All dudebros would be willing to screw in to anything, even a light bulb.

    • Mar Iguana

      “I thought of a joke.”

      I heard this one a few years ago: How many men does it take to change a lightbulb?

      Answer: One, as the world revolves around him.

  • i would like to share but need a different thumbnail than the gq cover

    • Meghan Murphy

      There is an option to remove the thumbnail when you post links on fb. (Just hover over the image and click on the little x on the top right.)

  • Emma

    Great piece! While I really love many of Amy Schumer’s skits, I’m not really inspired to watch her new film, after seeing a trailer for it… Gail Dines expresses exactly how I feel about Schumer: some of her stuff is brilliant and I was so excited when I started watching her on youtube. But that excitement was always cautious and now it has begun to fade. Yes, shoving a phallic symbol in her mouth silences her and is extremely disappointing to see. Taking her clothes off also disempowers her – again extremely disappointing to see that she got on board with that. Once again, a great analysis of corporate co-optation – thank you!

  • RadForward

    The first thing I thought when i saw this cover was how sexist and degrading it was and how she’d sold out, given she’s put on the much sexualised and obsessed over Princess Lea slave outfit. I’m glad my sisters agree with me.

    Bragging how she can convince a man to sleep with her demonstrates how much she’s sold herself out as a sex object.

  • cady

    I think it is important that we point up sexism and the ever present danger of the corporate cooptation of truth telling women. Thank you Gail for this article and your courageous work against pornography. But let us all be sisterly to Amy Schumer because she is right now, perhaps the most overtly feminist comedian working in pop culture. Her shows brilliant take on so much of our cultures negative views on women, covering such a broad spectrum, from lookism to rape to ageism to the exploitation of girls, you name it, there isn’t much she doesn’t comment on in the most feminist and truly funny way. When these sketches get millions of hits on utube this should be great cause for celebration. We should stand with her, support her, but certainly like Gail points out, we should let her know when she has gone in the wrong direction. But let us let her know that what she is doing, for the most part, is important. Let us, like this article, warn her of the dangers. Let’s not abandon our sister yet. She remains extremely important. I personally find too much emphasis on heterosexual sex in her stand up routines, but still, within that she is always critiquing women’s status in a woman hating culture, and doing it with great humor. She is reaching everyone, men and women, who we in the feminist, radical feminist movement, may be missing. The magazine cover stinks, no doubt. Let’s let her know, but with support for the mostly positive, courageous work she is so far doing. Dangers lurk everywhere. Let’s help her avoid them next time. I would say to her: pull back a little, don’t expose yourself so much so fast to the corporate monster. They are trying to consume you, make your uniqueness theirs and zap all your feminism from you. Watch out. But keep doing your work.

  • lizor

    I feel exactly the same way about Amy Schumer – some work gives me a lift, other makes me cringe.

    I do bear in mind, however, what a cesspool of misogyny is the comedy scene. Writers rooms on pretty much all comedy shows are boys clubs full of angry entitled guys preoccupied with all things rectal and with out-doing one another by coming up with the most vile and offensive ideas. Not all of this shows up in production, but that’s what’s going on behind the curtain. Stand-up clubs are, 98 percent of the time, showing one after another boring foul self-absorbed woman-fearing dude who finds himself far more witty and imaginative than he actually is. It’s got to be pretty grim for a woman trying to do intelligent work.

    That cover is devastating. It’s much like that GQ spread (GQ? – or one of those men’s fashion-wank rags) with Sarah Silverman rolling around on a bed in her underwear. As soon as a woman becomes visible for her talent and intelligence, we see media reduce her to a dick-catching doll.

    I did not see the “catch a dick” piece, but I would assume that she was sending up the whole concept that any woman, no matter what her weight, would doubt her ability to get a man to stick his cock in them – the fact that we are told that this is our only worth and simultaneously that we will never measure up to receiving said cock.

    I see women in comedy as front-line revolutionaries, wading into the stinking trenches where it’s nearly impossible, Kate Clinton notwithstanding, to avoid getting any on you.

  • Stevie

    I took the GQ spread as funny and a critique of what women have to do to be sexy in the industry, specifically because she chose fantasy characters to play up the ridiculousness. But maybe I was giving her too much credit! Maybe she was trying to sell her sexually to boost her credibility in the industry as a marketable product and should be questioned for that. Also, I think it can be hard to “catch a dick” for younger generations due to the unrealistic beauty standards all these millennial men have from porn. So I saw some critique in her message there too. I will however say that those jokes might be subtle and able to be read in different ways. This could normalize and support sexism for those that don’t see the Nuances. And that can be a problem!

  • Deist99

    Gail Dines brings up some very good points in this article. The one about men aren’t to picky with who they sleep with is true. Something I heard years ago is a good example of this. Women need a reason to have sex, men just need a place. I think second wave feminism sold women a false set of goods by telling them they could sleep around like men. I think women and men are hard wired differently when it comes to sex and sleeping around causes women problems.

    • Rachel

      I agree with what you’re saying, but I don’t think men and women are hardwired differently at all. I think it comes down to social conditioning that men and women receive. Men are told they love sex, sex is for them, it’s base and all about how hot they find a woman – shallow basically, from the day they are born. Women are taught they are for sex, they are to be looked at, evaluated by men, and are these gatekeepers to what men want – objects basically. I have no issues with women sleeping around, but I do agree with you that there are risks associated with it. Not due to hard wiring though, it’s due to conditioning. Basically, women are encouraged to sleep around now, but it’s still all for men, because men are still being conditioned to see women as objects purely for their pleasure. So while a woman can sleep around now, it’s still all defined by men. Of course men are onboard with women being this kind of ‘sexually liberated’, it encourages more objectification of women, by women also, and therefore more tits and vagina and power for men to use. This hardwiring is also an excuse that men use all the time “oh we can’t help want to fuck anything in a skirt, it’s ingrained into us biologically. It’s ‘natural’ for us to lust after anything remotely sexual….but you women will never understand, you’re not like that.” It’s that difference between sexual and sexual objectification in my opinion. I think true sexual attraction has little to do with how someone looks, but that’s the way men see it, in the process objectifying women with a clear conscience.

      • Deist99

        This is the old nature vs nurture debate. My personal worldview is that we have evolved over million of years and this has resulted in biological and psychological hardwiring. I do believe that culture can influence these psychological underpinnings but is much more effective when emphasizing traits compared to when the culture is trying to suppress the traits. It seems you take the tabula rasa view that humans are born as a blank slate and the culture dictates how we act?

        • Rachel

          Yes I do think humans are for the most part born as a blank slate. I have a particular interest in neuroplasticity. I also have a lot of experience in research analysis, and I think you’ll find most studies that back up theories of ‘hard wiring’ in men and women, are very biased due to reliance on self reporting. A very typical stereotype is that men are visual and women are not. When more accurate studies are carried out, you’ll find that women are just as, if not more visual than men. But all of society caters to men being ‘visual’. Why is that? It goes directly against actual scientific evidence… Yet of course people prefer to ignore social influence. I also have my own personal experiences in exposure to certain stimuli and how much my brain was warped. I also have experience as a woman and refuse to have men dictate to me, and my fellow ladies, how we are hard wired to have sex.

        • Clara

          Question: If so, why will men sleep with fat women but not date them? I for one, am not hardwired to use other people to impress my friends.

    • nightcap

      Seems to me that you’ve pushed this bullshit here before. Stereotypes are simply a way of controlling how people interact, and I for one am sick of men’s macho posturing about their (imaginary) sexual prowess.

    • amd

      Nah. Not backed by science, not backed by my own experience, not backed by logic. The reason women have always been so savagely constrained with chastity belts, fgm, niqabs and social conditioning is because they thoroughly enjoy sex and are not naturally monogamous. If she says she doesn’t want sex, 9 times out of 10 she means with him. Introduce a man she is actually attracted to and immediately the sex drive comes back.

      Women being naturally sexual is why there were so many surprised people when DNA testing came out and why books like The Secret Garden and others like them detailing female sexual fantasies were suppressed as best the patriarchy could suppress them. Not sure who all these men were meant to be sleeping with either, unless they were all in the closet and sleeping with one another, or maybe there was just one really really busy woman running around screwing ALL the men.

      Daniel Bergner, in his book What do Women Want, used at a lot of scientific studies, including the use plethymographs to measure actual arousal over claimed arousal, to show how very sexual women are. And though it’s unfortunate that it is a man once again writing about women’s sex drives, he makes some great points. Scientifically backed up points. The fact is that not only are women AS sexual as men, they might be more so.

      As for the hunter gatherer spreading your seed crap we were expected to believe, current thinking is that humans roamed in small groups, with females having sex with several males at a time. This gave them the best shot at good DNA,protection when they were heavily pregnant and protected the baby from violence from males who might want rid of it if it wasn’t his offspring.

      So, nah. Not only is it scientifically and biologically incorrect to claim that men and women have naturally different sex drives, it is unfair to both men and women. There are millions of men with a low sex drive who are sick of being hounded by other men into being the sex gods they’re not and millions of women who are naturally promiscucous hiding it right this minute. Bottom line, there is no such thing as men like/feel a and women like/feel b when.

      But then, I suspect you already know that.

      The best reason to have sex is multiple orgasms. Something nature gave women to encourage just that.

      Sorry if you have a low sex drive. Now you know not to project that onto an entire sex.

      • Deist99

        I am a man and have a very healthy sex life. Due to problems my wife starting having I have spent considerable time researching the female sex drive and talking to doctors (both male and female) and I have never come across the opinions you are expressing except in feminist writings.

        One of the most compelling research I read (and I will try to find a link to it) was the attempt by Pfizer to make a female Viagra. They spent a lot of money and found out that women’s bodies will respond to almost any visual stimuli, even videos of monkey’s mating, but that they will report they are not turned on. The conclusion was that women have to be seperately aroused both mentally and physically (or as one doctor explained it to me that there is a disconnect between a women’s genitals and her brain where with men there is a direct link.) Pfizer was hoping to make billions off a “female Viagra” but have given up from the last I read on the subject.

        One of the many books I have read on this subject was “The case of the Female Orgasm” by Elizabeth Lloyd. In it she cites study after study that only 20% of women report having an orgasm most of all of the time during sexual intercourse another 20% report never or rarely having an orgasm during sexual intercourse and the other 60% fall somewhere in-between. Where with men it is 90% or better have an orgasm everytime or almost everytime. Now women report much higher rates orgasm during oral or manual stimulation with men reporting the same rates with this as with sexual intercourse. This is due to the biological differences between men and women. My hypothesis is that there are also physchological differences between men and women.’

        • stevie mi

          i was going to type something here, then i realized, that you probably wouldn’t be interested in hearing how my personal experiences and observations (and articles/research I have read) negate yours! Disengaging now!

        • Rachel

          Of course there are psychological differences between men and women sexually – we’ve been psychologically conditioned since birth to repress any sexuality that isn’t linked to emotion and love! Men have been taught to objectify women by seeing a naked woman and immediately viewing it sexually. You don’t have nudists walking around turned on by naked women, or tribes in Africa with men with constant hard ons. Our culture is extremely sexualised. To the point where even children are viewed sexually.

          Your points about these studies actually just back up what r are saying about sexuality. There is no difference between women being emotionally and physically turned on! Get real! I know when I’m physically turned on. I don’t need some male telling me I also need to be in love. Hey here’s a tip – one way to suppress a woman’s sexual desire – tell her she needs romance and emotional connection to have sex. All that study shows is what Daniel Berger pointed out – women are just as visual as men, but social conditioned to not recognise it or deny deny deny. Purely due to people like you refusing to let her be and see the truth.

          The study about women not orgasming through intercourse – plenty of factors come into play here. One being men don’t know what they’re and doing and don’t care to learn, second being women have so many hang ups about enjoying sex because they are told they need to be in love and committed to her one partner, third being women actually get bored of the same stimulus, whereas men don’t, fourth being the vagina needs to push out a while baby … It can’t be too sensitive in reality. Fifthly, the fact that men need to orgasm to procreate whereas women don’t just demonstrates to me that women’s sex organs most like to cause orgasm (clitoris) was purely made for pleasure!

          • EEU

            What Rachel said.

            Most women don’t orgasm because men have patriarchal sex – sex that centers their pleasure. Men think that what they see as ‘sex’ is ‘real’ and ‘natural’ sex, but they’re wrong. Sexuality is socially constructed. Currently we live in a patriarchal society, so what men see as ‘normal sex’ is just another form of patriarchal domination over women.

        • Mar Iguana

          There is no such thing as a frigid woman, there are only clueless men.

        • amd

          I’ve already debunked your beliefs, comprehensively. I have nothing further to add. You wish to believe what you wish to believe. You are incorrect. Educate yourself, or otherwise, your choice.

      • Rachel

        Good points! I was going to mention Daniel Bergers book – good read. He actually said himself that he showed his analysis of results to his male friends, and they were actually terrified! To me that’s very telling that men don’t want to believe the reality of women’s sex drives because they are happy believing their little lady is at home and waiting, and monogamous through and through, while he can act like a hero for ‘suppressing’ his insatiable appetite for a variety of women. Nice way to control her with feeling trapped, and unworthy don’t you think? Even if we were to entertain the idea, just for shits and giggles, than men weren’t monogamous and women were…doesn’t the human compassion come in at some point? I mean, men won’t even entertain the idea that women are just as sexual as them, but women are supposed to swallow the double standard and be happy with it. To me, if you can’t handle tables turned, then there’s something very wrong with what you’re saying. It comes down to control.

        Funny how the clitoris has more nerve endings than the penis, and is purely for pleasure… Yet women weren’t made to like sex for sex sake. Funny how women can have three different orgasms alone through the vagina, cervix and clitoris alone… Yet they don’t like sex. Funny how some women can orgasm without touch and through go different areas on their body, yet they are less sexual than men… Or so men like to believe.

        • EEU

          I get what you’re saying but you’re wrong on one part. The only female organ capable of producing orgasms is the clitoris. There’s no such thing as a vaginal or cervical orgasm.

          • Rachel

            Thanks for pointing that out! I think I remember now reading somewhere that it’s the clitoris that extends to different areas in the vagina which can cause orgasm through intercourse for different women. So in essence the g spot is an extension of the clitoris or something. I better read up on it again. Isn’t it funny also that men know thei anatomy and are encouraged to become aquainted with it at an early age, yet there’s probably many women that never really know their anatomy, through shame and seeing it as dirty etc. I’m in my 20s and I haven’t researched it enough due to those factors. I still have major trouble discussing it at all.

          • EEU

            Yes. The clitoris is actually a pretty big organ but it’s not visible. I ‘d really like to know exactly how it works but there has been practically no research on it. All research on sex that has been done has always focused on men and male pleasure. Everyone just assumes that if men like it, women must like it too.

        • amd

          He uses vast amounts of scientific research and we tell men over and over again the lived experiences and thoughts of actual women, and some still refuse to believe because they are invested in their narrative that men need sex and women need cuddles.

          Making it clear, scientifically, that we are the same species and all men and all women are on a spectrum for sex, but there is no great natural difference in appetite or desire between the sexes destroys that fallacy. Those who wish to keep the patriarch intact will continue to fight it, including women who have internalised sexism.

          However, we move forward, one scientifically proven step at a time.

          • amd

            Apologies for typos.

          • amd

            Was in a hurry, should have proofed these comments better. He being Daniel Bergner in his book, proving comprehensively and scientifically – because men still refuse to listen – to the inarguable fact that when it comes to sex women and men are very much the same species.

          • Deist99

            Though my background is in the hard sciences (physics) I would have to disagree with you on the tabula rasa viewpoint and from my research there are not many scientist who support that viewpoint any longer. It stretches believability that all the other animals that have evolved on this planet have natural inborn instincts but humans.
            However, there is much room for argument on how much of our behavior is biological and how much is cultural. I also believe we will ever know the answer to that question because in the social sciences it is extremely difficult to control all the variables in an experiment and many of the observed behaviors can be contributed to either nature or nurture.

          • amd

            It is fortunate that nowhere did I claim or imply tabula rasa and simply stated the undeniable and repeatedly proven fact that women and men are the same species, that scientific study (and would men but listen the oft told experiences of women) have proven repeatedly that women as a sex thoroughly enjoy sex, are not naturally monogamous, and that every single individual is on a spectrum for sexual appetite.

            In factual and scientific opposition to the claim of the guy who wants to believe he is naturally a sex god while women just want cuddles.

            However, your comment did afford you the opportunity to use a latin phrase, which we all know makes us sound like bona fide academics.

            What’s that you say, impolite? Nope. Giving you exactly the correct amount of respect. You have responded to a comment which did not exist. I do not wish you to make any further irrelevant comments. I am hoping this will discourage you. But I doubt it.

  • Decadence

    Schumer is no feminist, I don’t even think she would describe her self as one. Making jokes criticizing uncircumcised penises and talking about how she sleeps around and is an alcoholic does not make her innately feminist. Her work reminds me of the very unfunny Chelsea Handler. I saw an early screening of her movie “Train Wreck” and it was exactly that. Her writing skills are lacking. Her choice to have so many pointless cameos was annoying. The only bright spot was the acting of the very talented Bill Hader.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Well she does include quite a bit of feminist commentary and criticism of patriarchy in her comedy, as far as I’ve seen. That said, I’ve only recently watched a few episodes of her comedy show, Inside Amy Schumer, and so don’t feel fully equipped, just yet, to form a solid opinion, one way or another.

    • S.Law

      I think Amy Schumer is mostly concerned with establishing her brand, “Amy Schumer”. Everything else is secondary. I don’t think I have ever seen her say she is a feminist, although I have only watched a few episodes of her self-titled series and some snippets of her stand up. I don’t really know who to compare her to. Though I really like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, specifically in VEEP. A very flawed character. And Rosanne Barr for her humour and deadpan delivery and the fact that she could enrage so many men, with so little effort. Possibly because they deemed she was not hot enough for tv. And she didn’t give a sh*t, except maybe towards the end of her long running series.

      • Gregg

        I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say Roseanne was disliked by men for her stand up for being an overweight woman. She was great, when she appeared on Johnny Carson she got called back and everyone loved her. She did lose a lot of respect when she made a mockery of the national anthem, she even said later she wished she hadn’t done that because it came across as disrespectful. Her show was awesome and one of the highest rated in it’s day.
        Schumer, who I like, sadly fits the mold of what is shoved in our face regarding female comics. She is 10x funnier than Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings who also fit that mold. Women were the vast majority of the fans of the latter 2 I mention compared to an equal proportion to Schumer. Just like the only people who give a damn about the Kardashians are women. When will some women wake up and realize that “cuteness” shouldn’t be a factor and stop supporting these hacks?

        Also Meghan Murphy as an older gentleman with both bad eyesight and hearing it is really hard to see and hear the “Captcha”. I have made several attempts to post some thoughts without much success.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Sorry about the Captcha, Gregg. We’re actually working on a site redesign, at which point we’ll be switching over to Discus (I hope that doesn’t bother anyone too much! It seems to be what everyone uses nowadays, and the best option…)

          Re: Schumer as compared to other female comedians, I think Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are way sharper in their critiques of patriarchy though, I suppose, they don’t do stand up so maybe that’s a whole different thing. (And, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t feel like I’ve watched enough of Schumer’s comedy to really come up with a fair assessment.)

        • S.Law

          I based my comments on a book about female comics (including cartoonists) that stated that she was considered abrasive by male media critics. I can’t find an online reference to specific critics because her show occurred in the pre-Internet era (may have been email in 1993 but Internet really was available until mid to late 1990s in most parts of Canada).

          “During her years on TV, the outspoken Barr became a tabloid target, and her family, personal appearance and romantic relationships were all heavily scrutinized.”

          I know that when Thelma and Louise came out the film critic (also a business writer) in the Calgary Herald went sort of ballistic re: the female violence towards males in the film and he gave it two stars. I don’t think being ahistorical about the kind of reaction that greeted aggressive or abrasive female characters really serves anyone. There was a lot of pushback against such characters. Another example is Murphy Brown, a lot of criticism was directed at that character. There was a world before the Internet, much of which isn’t documented by today’s Internet. Even as recently as the early 2000s the feminist film festival that I sat on the board of was publicly criticised by the local Sun paper and one or two like-minded radio station hosts for receiving public funding to screen ‘lesbian porn’ when the festival screened a piece entitled “Watching Lesbian Porn” (2001 by Dayna McLeod). The film was a parody that resembled an interpretive dance more than anything – with a woman dressed in spandex leaping around in the background. Albeit some of the work featured in the festival would be considered to have sexual content (in the “Queer Celebration” programme (the name of the programme in our programme guide) and the other programmes) – all work screened at the festival featured women in top creative roles (director, writer, animator, film/video editor, producer).

          I agree about Captcha, does using the sound option work at all? I have been interested in web accessibility (since 2003) and universal design for learning and have worked to create guidelines and accessible courses at a distance ed university. A colleague (someone who has helped test content for accessibility) is legally blind and she has remarked on issue with Captcha). I know that accessibility is the last thing that people tend to think about with websites (even though making sites accessible is pretty basic, for example, separating content from presentation (css), putting in skip to content links, putting alternate formats (transcripts or captions, albeit captions are a more pricey item)), using proper HTML headings to help screen reader users navigate, etc.). Designing content for mobile access (that is, configuring it so that it works well on mobile devices) also generally makes content more accessible. It’s a rationale that appeals to businesses and can help others as well. Making content accessible is the right thing to do, but it is a hard sell if that is your only argument. Sadly.

          • S.Law

            Sorry, missed the part where you mentioned hearing loss as well. To anyone who is interested offers a number of tips on how to make a website more accessible. Some advice on alternatives to Captcha. A bit technical at times.


          • S.Law

            Just to clarify, in brief, why male media critics opinions mattered so much in late 1980s and early 1990s. Because there was no Twitter or other social media. Basically there was the Letter to the Editor (if you were a layperson and not a journalist) or word of mouth. The opinions of these critics (or media personalities) mattered a lot because there was very little ability to counter their arguments in a timely fashion as an ordinary citizen. There was no back and forth on Twitter and no hashtag bandwagons for people to join. There were no Internet personalities or citizen journalists. Note my comment references her abrasiveness and her unwillingness to disappear when criticised (or even when she may have made a misstep, a lot of loud, obnoxious men don’t back down, look at Trump).

  • S.Law

    I think that Amy Schumer is a perfect representative of GQ, a magazine aimed at heterosexual men, is it not? She is youngish, buxom, blonde, blue-eyed, leggy and she wants to ‘catch dick’. She’s a cool girl. She wants to be desired by men. So, my question is, how does her worldview really define those of us who aren’t interested in attracting the male gaze. Sure some of her stuff is wonderfully funny, but it is frequently focused on how men view women and how women (probably most of whom are heterosexual) are transfixed by the male gaze, like insects pinned to a display board. Some of us simply aren’t interested in how men see us, because we don’t have a terribly high opinion of many of them. Mutual distaste. What is wrong with that. If you are not interesting and quirky, rather than self-interested and egotistical, I am most certainly not interested in you. I find mainstream culture is way too perverse, narcissistic and nihilistic for me … and I disengage from it, where possible. Look at all the dystopian future franchises, some headed by female actors. I agree to some extent with a psychologist (recent CBC Ideas program rebroadcast) who suggests that you should start at the micro level by changing your own life. His advice – tell the truth. Given my experience, that is really revolutionary and subversive. The truth about abusive relationships, the truth about porn (with male significant others) and its impact on you personally, tell the truth about feminism, etc. But I think if women really told the truth all (or most) of the time there would be some really upset men, including that psychologist (who made a questionable comment about being asked by his wife how she looks in a particular dress).

  • S.Law

    Re: “So if a doll can “catch a dick,” then really, should women be measuring their sexual worth by how many men will stick a penis into them?”

    Yes, but you say this to some women and they get really offended. I remember reading Adam Zameenzad’s “Cyrus, Cyrus” and finding out that men would stick ‘it’ in just about anything – holes in trees, sheep. Yes, it is a fictional work. But based on the realistic portrayal of sexual violence enacted by corrupt police against subordinate men (low caste) I think there is something to it.

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