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Brief Rant

July 8, 2010

As an avid fan of both The Daily Show and Jezebel, I have been following the whole Jezebel-Daily Show-Olivia Munn thing pretty closely. The basic breakdown of what’s been going on is that Jezebel wrote a post claiming that the environment of The Daily Show is sexist, pointing to their lack of female correspondents, writers and guests as well as testimonies from previous female employees and women who were never hired for the show as proof. After a flurry of blogger spinoffs, including one that shat all over Jezebel by Emily Gould, of all people, the ladies of The Daily Show spoke up to defend themselves, the show and Jon Stewart. Cue the passionate, defensive rebuttal from Jezebel, standing by their original argument while backtracking to say their critics were just misinterpreting everything they said. It has been quite the media shitshow.

I wasn’t willing to buy the whole argument, because Jon Stewart is one of my top five celebrity crushes and because their whole point was sparked by the hiring of a new female correspondent, Olivia Munn, who they seemed to be dismissing due to assumptions that she was hired because of her looks and past Playboy shoots than any talent. It wasn’t sitting right with me that they were crapping on The Daily Show for not treating women with respect while simultaneously giving a “well, yeah, she’s a woman, but not the right kind of woman” shpeal. This exclusive feminism has been a consistent problem with me with Jezebel, who are quick to defend women (and bless them for it) but only if they fit a pretty narrow ideal of feminism that they support. Yes, I understand and support the idea of not blindly supporting a women just because she’s a woman a la Sarah Palin, but it’s not like Olivia Munn is out rallying for Pro-Life organizations. There doesn’t seem to be anything “wrong” with her except potentially not being everyone’s cup of tea. It seems to be that since she makes jokes based off her sexuality and attractiveness to men that Jezebel doesn’t think she’s fit for womanhood. It’s just the kind of ideal that is, in the end, harming the overall cause of feminism because it makes people unwilling to label themselves as “a feminist.”

Just take Olivia Munn herself. In an interview with New York Magazine, they indirectly touched on the drama by asking her about her claims to not be a feminist which, in itself, is something that always makes me angry whenever a woman says that. But that’s not all! Just look at her explanation:

You say that you don’t consider yourself a feminist. Why not?
I just consider myself a person in this world who wants to stand up for everyone who can’t stand up for themselves. I care just as much about the guys as I do about the girls. I want geeks to feel empowered to stand with people who are more socially accepted. And I want girls to feel that they can be pretty and funny and edgy and not apologize for it.

What the hell do you think feminism is?? Oh wait, she’s probably under the impression that feminism means shitting on women who happen to be both successful and pretty, and like to laugh about it. What a shame.

I wish this was the first time that I’ve read a similar disclaimer, but this is always essentially the case. “I would be a feminist, but I like men too,” or “I would be a feminist, but I like to care about my looks.” I think it’s about goddamn time that people ( including Jezebel, who is probably the most prominent feminist voice out there) realize that feminism is a far broader term than those two misleading and untrue factors.

End of rant.

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